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Handicapping - Pedigree - History - Dosage

The Magic of the Holy Bull Stakes

Cairo Prince - 2014 Holy Bull Stakes

The Holy Bull Stakes

Gulfstream Park Feb 1st, 2020


Over the last ten years, the Holy Bull Stakes has produced a vast amount of Kentucky Derby players both with winners and with those who hit the board in that race. Many of these colts had gone on to shine throughout their careers whether or not they eventually made the Tote Board in the Derby. The fact that they made an impact down in Gulfstream in this race is very important and extremely telling.

This particular race, at this distance, on that slick Gulfstream bias produces winners who were blessed with a high degree of inbred speed. Those who hit underneath and WERE NOT part of that high speed category are just as significant, if not even more significant, for their future races.

The eventual contenders of this race are entered because they sparkled in their shorter maiden races. The advantage in those short maiden races will always be geared towards the speed spectrum as opposed to the average or stamina end, therefore this prep will be much more loaded with colts who fall within that 3.00 plus index. This is inevitable which makes it that much harder to isolate the top contenders of this Prep with a group where the majority of players fall within that category.

It is one thing to want to handicap and be part of the betting in a Derby Prep like the Holy Bull, but it is another to have the patience to sit it out and to study the outcome for future betting possibilities. This is the magic of the Holy Bull Stakes and why this particular race holds a substantial amount of weight going forward if you take the time to analyze it.

When placing bets, the goal is to turn your dollars into a profit. One of the best points that I ever learned early on is to never place a bet just for the sake of betting. In some cases, more “profit” can be gained if you keep your wallet shut and strike after the fact. So much information can be gained AFTER an eventual winner parades in the Winners Circle than before the gates actually open.

The Holy Bull Stakes is one such race.

When looking at the history of this race over the last 10 years, so much insight into the Kentucky Derby and future Graded Stakes races can be garnered. If you have a desire to place a few bucks on this race, it would be wise to pocket that money and use it for a greater profit in a subsequent race after you have procured a ton of useful information afterwards.

This particular edition of the Holy Bull looks to be an extremely important benchmark for isolating likely major players going forward for 2020. In addition, if you place futures bets, this is one race where the ability to at least capture a few who will at least be occupying a gate in the Derby is a given. Having a live futures ticket in the Derby is always the goal.

This race produces winners in the Speed Inheritance category. Any horse who is carrying an index over 3.00 will have an advantage over the rest of the group. Their mare numbers are insignificant for this race. Inbred chef speed dominates. When looking at these winners for future races and for the Derby itself, the mare’s numbers ultimately become extremely significant in order to gauge their 10f capability. Those colts who won this race with their high inbred chef speed would not be able to compete in the Derby without the mare’s stamina to sustain it. Since the Holy Bull race will most likely be filled with a majority of speed demons, the race is too wide open to place a confident and profitable bet. However, grabbing that insight for a future bet is invaluable and separates an armchair bettor into a serious handicapper. The ability to look at a field of horses and pinpoint a player is much more profitable than just having “some skin in the game” and ripping up your ticket afterwards. Use the Holy Bull race to make money but not on the day it is run.

The following is a breakdown of the winners (and place & show) of the Holy Bull over the last 10 years. Each and every winner, with the exception of Algorithms in 2012, fell into the Speed end of the spectrum – 3.00 and over category. There is always an exception to each and every Graded Stakes race, and usually that exception was exactly what the word denotes – exceptional. Algorithms was exceptional and one who had superior potential over that crop that year.

The major point when looking at these numbers is to understand that the advantage for the particular winner was his 3.00 and over chef index. Mares insignificant for the prep itself but going forward afterwards became extremely significant and highlighted them as major players in upcoming preps, future bets and the Triple Crown itself.

The Winners and a few points on the In the Money colts:


Harvey Wallbanger – Index 3.33

Harvey won this race with his high 3.33 index. After this prep, Harvey ran in 7 more races and NEVER posted another win. His mare’s triads: 14-10-18 tells you why. Way below par for the standards of the Derby, and lacking in high speed to compete against those horses who dominated with inheritance in the 7f to 10f range. An easy toss going forward and no money wasted on a futures bet if you consulted the numbers.

Underneath: Everfast (4.67) – Mares triads 12-14-16. Way under par and never won a race after his 2nd here. Third place winner Maximus Mischief never ran again after this race. This edition produced nothing of significance as it pertains to the Derby. A very easy read.


Audible – Index 5.00

From the Holy Bull win, all the way through to the Derby, Audible’s high chef speed gave him such an advantage that it was written like a script. This horse became a serious player from that day forward and his mare’s triads foretold it all. 22-23-19. This guy won the Florida Derby and came in 3rd in the Kentucky Derby. Of course he did, look at that stamina gained from his mares. His triads were ABOVE PAR. Total standout. Futures bet written all over this guy after posting a win here. Unfortunate he just missed the exacta.

Underneath – Free Drop Billy (1.74) Stamina guy who shined with his disadvantage in the Holy Bull. After the race, he would be one to look into because of it, a standout against the advantaged speed in that prep. He eventually made a gate in Kentucky but his mare numbers pitted against the others in that same category could have never competed in the slop and against the numbers and breeding of his immediate peer, Instilled Regard.


Irish War Cry – 3.00

Talented horse and everything about him screamed Belmont Stakes after his win here. Unfortunate for him that his Derby Edition turned into a muddy mess. His chef speed gave him a win in this prep and his Mare numbers foretold his Belmont advantage. His points total between the Speed/Stamina balance was 10 for Speed and 19 for Stamina. A whopping 9 point spread leaning to stamina. All of that stamina affected his performance in that sloppy Derby which is an easy read and that point spread handed him a 2nd in the Belmont Stakes. A standout horse after completing his wire to wire win in the Holy Bull with his mare set-up.

Underneath: This particular edition was loaded with standout Derby potential players. The top 3 all made a gate in the Derby and their fate was based on that sloppy track. Gunnevera grabbed 2nd place in the Holy Bull with his 2.00 chef index. A standout based on that index competing and beating out the speed below him. Unfortunate for both him and Irish War Cry, too much inbred stamina for the sloppy track which worked opposite for the third place finisher Classic Empire. Classic Empire boasted a 5.00 index and outstanding mare triads 16-19-20. Classic Empire became an instant standout for the Derby with his numbers for either a sloppy or clean track after this race. Unfortunately, he had Julien Leparoux on his back and could only take home a 4th place trophy. Classic Empire was a major player and easy read for the Derby and far surpassed the eventual winner, Always Dreaming, in every way. Julien Leparoux, the culprit.


Mohaymen – 3.00

This guy secured his 4th place trophy in the Derby based on his speed and determination. His mare’s numbers left a bit to be desired, however, he held an undefeated record (aided by rain) leading up to his poor performance in the Florida Derby. Determination and consistency is something that one cannot ignore. He was not a top player that year against some of the others, but his will to run did give him a nod for a 4th place board hit.

Underneath – Greenpointcrusader (2.71) grabbed his 2nd place in the Holy Bull prep and was an easy toss going forward. That index needs a spark and something to grab onto going forward, and he never showed it. Grabbed one more win afterwards, in an allowance race. Third place finisher Fellowship (3.00) – This guy ran in 8 races prior to the Holy Bull and by the time he finally hit the Derby Road, he was spent. He never rose past 3rd and eventually hit his lowest when it mattered most, in the Preakness, where he only managed 8th place. Colts must win races no matter what their mare’s triads depict. If they can’t hit a wire first prior to the Triple Crown, they are easy to toss prior.


Upstart – 3.00

His chefs 3.00 index for the Holy Bull gave him the win here. His mare’s triads 13-7-17 made him an instant toss for Derby consideration after it. No money wasted here after the hype. Upstart came in 18th place in the Derby. Major example of saving your money in the Holy Bull, consulting the numbers after the race, tossing the horse from Derby consideration and moving on.

Underneath – Frosted (2.75) Major example of spotting a standout after this race. He beat the rest of the speed demons in the Holy Bull with his average index. Continued with consistency going forward and was a complete standout for the Belmont Stakes with that index and the Tapit factor. His potential was stamped after this particular Derby Prep. With the disadvantage of the index in the Derby, he was an easy “Must Use” based on his consistent performances beating out the speed of the fields he faced. He managed a 4th place in the Derby. This is very important because as I have stated numerous times, you cannot discount any average indexed horse just because of that number. Seeing the standout potential IN SPITE of that index keeps him as a player. His numbers also screamed Belmont Stakes, and Frosted took second against the monster Pharoah. His fate was sealed after hitting the board in the Holy Bull.


Cairo Prince – 7.00

Extreme high speed inheritance and total standout but never raced after the Florida Derby after sustaining a career ending injury.

Underneath – Conquest Titan (2.43) with that index and subsequent performances (no consistency like Frosted above), easy toss going forward. Intense Holiday (7.00) His triads hit the mark substantially, 20-24-20. After this performance and hitting the board in the Holy Bull with these numbers, this is where you make your profit AFTER the race, not before. If you consulted the numbers afterwards, you would have had a live one for the next preps and at least a definite must use in your Superfecta. Intense Holiday showed his inheritance going forward when winning his next race, the Risen Star, and coming in second in the Louisiana Derby. His Derby demise came on a clear fast track, where he could not keep pace. He had history on his side to make some noise but just because a horse has an advantage in the Derby, does not always give him the perfect trip to capitalize. At the very least, he made his gate and could have been a player with a much better trip. Additionally, he would have made you profitable after the Holy Bull.


Itsmyluckyday – 3.00

Major example of how the numbers point out when to bet a horse and when not to bet a horse. Itsmyluckyday had horrible triads for the Derby 18-13-18, way below par in the Classic center. He hit 15th place in the Derby. Too much speed, not enough stamina inheritance for the Derby. He came in 2nd in the Preakness, because he was overloaded in speed, top and bottom.

Underneath – Shanghai Bobby (3.80) After his 2nd place in the Holy Bull, 2 month long layoff and entered into Florida Derby managed only 5th place. Another long layoff to his last win before exiting the track. Had the mare triads to be a player but other circumstances kept him from it. Clearly Now (2.50) grabbed his 3rd in the Holy Bull. He had a beautiful set of mare triads, 18-21-23 and became a major league board hitter consistently going forward.


Algorithms – 2.71

The only horse to win the Holy Bull with an index below 3.00 over the last 10 years. This son of Bernardini was destined to be the Belmont Stakes winner of 2012. What a major loss. Spectacular potential cut short. Beating out the highly advantaged speed demons in the Holy Bull on that speed favoring bias put him in an entirely different league just from this one race.

Underneath – Hanson (3.33) Just like Intense Holiday, this 2nd place finisher was an easy read for his next two races prior to the Derby. A must use in the Gotham and Bluegrass where he took first and second place. A must toss for the Derby though based on his sub-par mare numbers. Many wasted money singling him on top in the Holy Bull, where they should have saved the money for afterwards. The third place finisher, My Adonis, 2.71 index ran a nice race here beating the speed but going forward after this race he would have had to show something special. He never really did and was entered into the Belmont. His inconsistent resume defeated his numbers for the Belmont and was an easy toss.


Dialed In – 3.62

After the win here, his 3.62 index was spectacular for his next prep, the Florida Derby, which he won. He was sent off at 5-1 odds in the Kentucky Derby. He was also one of the easiest tosses of that edition. He was holding triads of 16-14-17. Way below par for standards of the Derby. Dialed In did not touch a superfecta spot. - he came in 8th place. Another great example of knowing when to bet a particular horse and when to walk away.

Underneath – Sweet Ducky (3.44) came in second. With triads of 16-10-17, you don’t walk away from numbers like that, you run. And you certainly don’t send him to compete in Dubai in the UAE. Instant way to destroy a horse’s career. Gourmet Dinner (3.00) had triads of 15-12-13. Even if he wasn’t removed from the racing circuit after his second place in his next prep, the FOY, his triads put him out of contention for the Derby.


Winslow Homer – 6.00

High speed chef index takes the Holy Bull. Five month layoff after that race took him away from the track.

Underneath – The great Jackson Bend (6.20) took 2nd with his high amount of inbred chef speed. An absolute standout with high speed inheritance from his mares for his following preps. With triads of 20-17-17, hitting above par in the speed end and not enough stamina to counteract all of that speed for 10f. As great as Jackson Bend turned out to be, his Derby fate was written in his numbers but an easy read to hit the board in the Preakness. The Holy Bull was his debut into society with those numbers. Substantial speed top and bottom with enough to get him just past that 9f mark. Spectacular find produced from the Holy Bull Stakes. West Side Bernie (1.80) took third with his high end stamina index. He capitalized off of the top 2 speed demons to grab his piece. An easy toss from consideration for the Derby though, even though he grabbed a 2nd in the Wood Memorial. His triads 18-14-17 were nowhere near what is required for the Derby.

The 2020 Probables:

This is where the magic of the Holy Bull stakes comes into play. This race looks to be filled with the normal high amount of speed demons which means most have an advantage. Any one of those speedier types could hit that board. As the history of the Holy Bull shows, Speed has the advantage for a win, speed has the advantage for board hit. Average guys who hit the board in this race will produce standouts or tosses. If an average guy wins here, take note, he beat the speed guys on a speed favoring track. That would be one special horse. This race produces players going forward and this is the launching pad to finding the serious actors and the pretenders for the Derby.

Save your bet and wait for the results. This will give you more ammunition going forward and your profit will inevitably be higher if you do. Below is a list of the probables and a bit of insight on what to do after the race is run depending on the order of finish and how to bet going forward. It is imperative that you add the top 3 finishers of this particular race to your virtual stable to know exactly when they are hitting the track next. Bet accordingly.


Chefs: 5-13-11-1-0 (30) Index: 3.62 CD=.73

Mares: 2-7-5-7-7   Speed = 9   Stamina = 14   Index = 0.62   Triads = 14-19-19

Wow. If this horse hits the top 3 in this prep (or should I say WHEN this horse hits the board) he has an extremely good shot at continuing on as a real prospect for the Derby. The big tell here is his 3.67 speed index backed up with his perfectly balanced set of triads. Notice the 14 in the first slot of those triads - it is low in the mare speed slot but it is perfect under that chef index. Too much speed inheritance (top & bottom) tips the balance AWAY from 10f. You can see that his mares lean all the way over to stamina. He can definitely navigate 10f and with that higher 3.62 (past 3.00) he has it all. He will not be as flashy going forward (under those 4.00+ speed demons) but he has the right balance for that May race. If he beats out Tiz the Law who now defaults to the highest inbred chef speed guy with the highest advantage in this race, he would be a standout BUT more importantly, even if he doesn't - Tiz the Law wouldn't stand a chance against him at 10f. No comparison there at all for the Derby.


Chefs: 1-0-3-0-0 (4) Index = 1.67 CD = .50

Mares: 8-1-7-9-3   Speed = 9   Stamina = 12   Index = 1.09   Triads = 16-17-19

If this guy hits the board in this race it would most likely be because the speedsters beat each other up and he capitalized. But if he manages it, then he may be utilizing the speed from Storm Cat and Seeking the Gold who are not listed chefs. It takes speed to win races, so depending on his final time in this race (and not just because he capitalized off of a speed duel) will tell you were to go with him afterwards. His stamina is fine for the Derby, the question becomes displayed speed with this guy. He needs to show both to be a player going forward so we will know after this important race. Beating the speed and hitting that trifecta is major here.


Chefs = 6-5-11-0-0 (22) Index = 3.00 CD = .77

Mares = 10-4-2-6-9   Speed = 14   Stamina = 15   Index = 1.00   Triads = 16-12-17

If this guy hits the board or wins in the Holy Bull, he doesn't have a prayer in the Derby. If he beats out the rest of the speed in this race and happens to grab the win, he may be a candidate for the Preakness. That 10 points in the mares 5 digit profile is very high which is showing a very large inheritance from those mares in short early speed. His CD from his chefs is a nice low .77 which gives him some extra endurance past a sprinters pedigree. (Itsmyluckyday type) Good for Preakness (only if he hits the board in this race), no for the Derby either way.


Chefs: 8-12-20-0-0 (40) Index: 3.00 CD: .70

Mares: 8-7-0-9-9 Speed = 15 Stamina = 18 Index = 0.85 Triads = 15-16-18

If this guy hits one of the top 3 spots in the Holy Bull, he would be an absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt, a must use on Derby Day if it is raining. The 40 points garnered in his chef’s profile mitigates the mare’s numbers. He would be the type to hit the board UNDERNEATH against the higher end speed demons in subsequent preps and if he is lucky enough to secure a gate in May, grab those long odds in the rain and spread him. Going forward in the preps, be wary of singling on top, better if spread underneath. This is because he resides on the bottom end of the speed spectrum, where he would find a disadvantage in subsequent preps because he does not lean to speed. He is more evenly spread out with his inheritance. This means he is not as equipped with ferocious speed like some of the others that he will be pitted against. This should ensure greater odds in the Derby if he should grab a gate. A low-key sort who would be holding the goods quietly in his back pocket in the rain. 101% confident with this scenario.


Chefs: 3-5-4-0-0 (13) Index: 5.00 CD: .92

Mares: 6-5-6-7-3 Speed = 11 Stamina = 10 Index = 1.21 Triads = 17-18-16

If he hits one of the top 3 spots, bet him heavily in his future prep or at the very least use him in your supers. He has the necessary speed up to 9f. Past that, think Always Dreaming. Way too much speed inheritance for ease of 10f on a clear track, gains extra lengths on a sloppy track and with a little luck and consistent wins going forward, he could pull it off. Notice how his chefs profile drops in the Classic distance (just like Always Dreaming) which means he would need to run through his numbers to make it the 10f. If his next preps produce board hits and not wins, then toss for the Derby. He would need to run through these numbers consistently, like Always Dreaming did.


Chefs: 1-4-3-0-0 (8) Index: 4.33 CD: .75

Mares: 7-6-3-7-4 Speed = 13 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.28 Triads = 16-16-14

If he hits the top 3 in this race, continue to use him. Tapit stamina defeats the triads.


Chefs: 1-4-5-0-0 (10) Index: 3.00 CD: .60

Mares: 4-10-5-8-4 Speed = 14 Stamina = 12 Index = 1.10 Triads = 19-23-17

If this guy hits the board in the Holy Bull, more importantly with this one, if he wins the Holy Bull, continue to bet heavily on him. Use him in your futures bets and use in the Derby. His .60 CD from his chefs is giving him the stamina, his mares are giving him speed. He would be a player going forward, especially if used across the board in the super. High alert here depending on his placement on that tote board in this prep. We must see if he can run to those numbers at this distance. He has it, now he has to show it. If he can conquer the vast amount of speed demons in this race, his stamina is working and he is using it. The 17 in the final slot of his triads is a point or 2 lower than ideal for a clean track on Derby Day. The higher amount of stamina shown in that lower CD may hinder a little in the mud.


Chefs: 3-12-4-1-0 (19) Index 5.67 CD .85

Mares: 4-8-3-11-4 Speed = 12 Stamina = 15 Index = 0.86 Triads = 15-22-18

The highest amount of inbred speed on this list sits right here. That chef index is fine for this race (along with 6 others) but he holds a little more advantage along with Caracaro. If he wins or grabs 2nd or 3rd here, he would still be a player in his upcoming preps. His dominance from the chefs falls in the 7 to 9 furlong area - his mares dominant in the Classic distance. Lower CD than normal. Half descent Index from the mares. A huge player in the Prep distances so betting him off of this race if he hits would be greatly advisable. For the Derby, this is the only guy on the field where 2 items would need to be addressed first. One, he would need to come in first or second in his future preps (consistent) AND he would need to be pitted against the final field in the Derby and not before. His numbers are showing some definite pro's, but there are a few negatives that can only be judged against others in that same speed category. The 22 in that Classic slot of the mares is spectacular, however, the 4 point drop in the stamina slot affects him negatively. Depending on who sits with him in that advantaged spot is crucial here.


Chefs: 1-3-6-0-0 (10) Index: 2.33 CD: .50

Mares: 3-6-5-9-3 Speed = 9 Stamina = 12 Index = 0.85 Triads = 14-20-17

If he hits in top 3 in the Holy Bull he would be pulling a “Frosted” – but tread lightly going forward. Consistency in beating speed in subsequent races is imperative to be considered Derby Material with that 2.33 index. In that same vein, this horse has Belmont Stakes written all over him, so don’t be too surprised if he can’t overcome his speed opponents in this race (or any) prior to the Derby. But if does, standout performances would demand putting him on a pedestal for the Belmont and possibly underneath spots for your Derby super. Doubtful for the Derby, yes for the Belmont.


Chefs: 3-5-6-2-0 (16) Index: 2.20 CD: .56

Mares: 5-7-5-9-2 Speed = 12 Stamina = 11 Index = 1.22 Triads = 17-21-16

If this guy hits win, place or show, he would be up against it in the Derby. He has a great flipped balance, stamina on top, speed on the bottom, but usually when this type is pitted against the hotshot speed guys who are carrying their stamina from their mares, it never seems to work out.

There are 7 probables written out here. Out of the seven, five are advantaged. Two are highly advantaged. This is a losing bet because the advantage is spread out too much. As the history of the Holy Bull magically shows year after year, Derby players emerge from this race. They must hit the board and they must be holding the proper set-up from their mares to successfully bet them going forward. If any of the two “average” guys happen to beat the speed they are up against on this speed favoring track – they would be standouts. The only way they can show us that they are standouts is to run this race. Any three of these seven horses can fill out the trifecta. With this race, we are looking to find the speediest, the most determined, and ones who can sustain that inevitable quicker pace on a speedy track. To gamble on that is a fools bet and a waste of money. Make the profit afterwards.


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