Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Holy Jackson

Posted by Brian Appleton on January 22, 2010

Weekend racing begins in earnest this Saturday and the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday serves as the

Homeboykris

cherry on top of a very appealing line-up of high quality races.  Homeboykris surprisingly is the high-weight in the Holy Bull. The winner of the Champagne Stakes (gr.1) at Belmont back in October, Homeboykris last finished 5th to Buddy’s Saint in the Remsen Stakes (gr.2). Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. insists his horse is ready to go. He defeated highly-touted Dublin in the Champagne Stakes before his surprisingly dull effort in the Remsen, so it is very likely that he could bounce back here with another impressive display.

Jackson Bend

Regardless of who the high-weight is, Jackson Bend will almost certainly be the favorite by post time. He is currently riding a five race win streak and makes a strong case to grab the Holy Bull as his 6th. He completed a clean sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes when overcoming a troubled start in the In Reality Stakes on October 17, posting a 2 ¾ length victory. The way he turned back Thank U Phillipe at the top of the stretch after going to his knees at the start, and drew off to win was very impressive. He won 5 of 6 starts in 2009 as a juvenile, losing his first start by a mere head. He has been training phenomenally at Palm Meadows over the winter and posted a bullet five furlong work last out of :59.30.

Todd Pletcher trainee Aikenite doesn’t win that often, but he always runs competitively against consistently top tier fields. His 5th place finish last out in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after a troubled trip showed he has enough determination to take whatever is thrown at him and keep running. Previous to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Aikenite finished 3rd in the Hopeful (gr.1) and then finished 2nd in the Futurity (gr.1) in October. He posted a bullet for his last 5 furlong work on January 17th in a time of :59.80.

Piscitelli produced a solid effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile during his last race at odds of 50-1. In 2009 he finished

Piscitelli

5th in the Breeders’ Futurity and 3rd in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr.2) prior to his 4th place finish in the Juvenile. His last three starts have all come on synthetics but he did break his maiden on dirt at Monmouth Park last summer.

One of the more intriguing contenders in the Holy Bull is Winslow Homer. In November he destroyed a field of winners in muddy going, seizing first place by a widening 12 ½ lengths. It was his 2nd win in 3 starts and reeked of “Curlin-like” talent. This guy could be the wild card here if he can produce an effort like that again.

The rest of the field is comprised of Thank U Phillipe (last out he finished second to Todd Pletcher trainee Eskendereya) Litigation Risk, William’s Kitten and Wild Lime.

In my estimation Jackson Bend is the one to beat here, but Winslow Homer, Aikenite, Homeboykris and Piscitelli have been steadily garnering more support for themselves and each has a justifiable case to be made.

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2 Responses to “Holy Jackson”

  1. Steve M. said

    Brian,
    Good analysis. A pretty talented field top to to bottom & should be a good betting race. Jackson Bend deserves respect but don’t see much reason playing him at 5/2 or worse when the race looks wide open. You can make a case for anyone, excpet maybe Wild Lime who got beat almost 20 lengths at Charles Town (now watch him win after he’s been dissed). As you mentioned Winslow Homer looks good, and so does the 8-1 ML shots Thank U Phillipe (w/ Blinkers on) and William’s Kitten. William’s Kitten seems much better on natural dirt. Can’t wait to see what happens.

    • Thanks Steve,
      I kind of over-looked Williams Kitten, I realized that right after I posted this, but I don’t think he’s as good as most of the others in here. It really is an impressive line-up! Jackson Bend does have relatively low odds but I don’t actually bet on the races (unless it’s a sentimental win ticket on a horse like Curlin). I just go by who’s my favorite, how they look during the post parade and of course their past performances. Still lots of fun and I can’t wait to see how the Holy Bull turns out!

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