Kentucky Derby 2022: Race Review of the G3 Holy Bull Stakes
Gulfstream Park was the site of Saturday’s $250k Holy Bull Stakes, and the Kentucky Derby Points race kicked off the South Florida track’s Series … including the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and the Grade 1 Florida Derby. This Grade 3 brought together a solid group of 9 colts, with trainers like Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, Kenny McPeek, Dale Romans, and Saffie Joseph, among others, all vying for 10-4-2-1 … to be applied to KYD148 tally.
The presumptive favorite in this race was Donegal Racing’s (pronounced Don ee gal) Mo Donegal #2 … a then-2-yr-old that showed much promise (and controversy) in the December running of the Remsen S. (G2). Once again, Todd Pletcher tabbed the aggressive riding Irad Ortiz to win this one for the green and yellow. At odds of even money, the team would have to be well-placed, especially considering this one’s propensity for running on late in the game. The 2nd and 3rd choices on the tote board were Antonio Sano’s Simplification #4 (4/1), and Dale Romans’ Giant Game #9 (4/1). Also taking money, was Kenny McPeek’s turf to dirt runner, Tiz the Bomb #6 (5/1). The next choice, and one that many overlooked, was local favorite, the Saffie Joseph colt, White Abarrio #8 (6/1).
Right from the start, it was apparent that Pletcher’s charge was not terribly interested in doing much running early. Content to sit back, he ran 5th for a good part of the race. Bill Mott’s Galt #1 set the tone, and took the field towards the top of the stretch. Tyler Gaffalione, guiding the Joseph entry, rated nicely throughout the race, and launched a bid just before the last turn, after sitting patiently in 2nd. The gray by Race Day, that is owned by C2 Racing and La Milagrosa Stables, was full of run after this tracking and pressing trip. Drawing off, it was apparent that with a furlong to go, the contest was over—White Abarrio #8 won by 4+ lengths (W-$14.00, P-$6.20, S-$3.40).
As for the “minors,” it was Sano’s Simplification #4 (P-$5.40, S-$3.40) that rallied up to “Place.” Javier Castellano had a tough time handling this one before and after the break. Finally, the colt settled down, and was all business. The “Show” went to Mo Donegal #2 (S-$2.40)… Ortiz got him moving finally, and he made up some impressive ground in the end. Mott’s Galt, did not stop any engines, and had to settle for 4th ... Derby Points being distributed to the Top Four finishers.
It was clear that Joseph’s rise as a S. Florida powerhouse continues apace … as he bested his rival Pletcher in this Grade 3. Along with Make It Big, the conditioner has a pair of strong Derby Trail threats. The Fountain of Youth (G2) is the next step at Gulfstream Park on 5 March, offering 50-20-10-5 when it comes to KYD148 Points. Since Gaffalione did such a solid job working White Abarrio #8 out last week, and then rode him to victory, we can expect him to be aboard next out. Joseph said that might be in early April for the Grade 1 Florida Derby. As we all know, less is now more, when it comes to preparing for Churchill Downs in early May.
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