Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

The Big 3: Holy Bull, Forward Gal and Santa Monica

Posted by Brian Appleton on January 30, 2011

The Holy Bull Stakes (gr.3) marks the beginning of the major Kentucky Derby prep races this year and the field of nine promising 3-year-olds lining up for their chance to win a shot at Classic glory is a relatively competitive field.

With probably race favorite Boys At Tosconova passing the Holy Bull in favor of later races, the prestigious contest is left wide open for any number of talented young colts to step up and take a leading role.

Mucho Macho Man has been training like a champion coming into the race, his January 23rd 5 furlong work came in an excellent time of :59 flat. Last year Mucho Macho Man finished second behind leading Kentucky Derby candidate To Honor and Serve in the Grade 2 Nashua and Remsen Stakes.

Gourmet Dinner enters off a 4th place finish in the Cashcall Futurity (gr.1) after winning the Delta Jackpot (gr.3). The late-closing Trippi colt will most likely get a solid pace to close into in the Holy Bull.

Dialed In and Black N Beauty both take a huge step up in class in the Holy Bull. Dialed In has won only one race to date, that coming in a 6 ½ furlong test. Black N Beauty won a 1 mile allowance race over Gulfstream‘s main track in early January by more than 2 lengths.

The field is completed by Major Gain, Printing Press, Ribo Bobo, Leave of Absence and Sweet Ducky. Major Gain won the Arlington-Washington Futurity  (gr.3) in September on Polytrack and finished third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr.2) and Churchill Downs. This will be the colt’s second race on dirt.

Ribo Bobo and Sweet Ducky are the only other stakes winners in the field.

Mucho Macho Man looks like the most improved colt in the field and should step up nicely here. After running against To Honor and Serve twice he gets a nice class break as well, the advantage is all his.

Dancinginherdreams

Dancinginherdreams is the kind of filly that makes you think anything is possible with her career. Last year the almost pure white filly went undefeated in two starts including a win in the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) in late October by more than 5 lengths after being geared down in the stretch. She employs a powerful come-from behind running style and returns for her 2010 debut in the Forward Gal Stakes (gr.2)at Gulfstream Park against a tough competitor in R Heat Lightning.

R Heat Lightning last finished second to Champion 2 Year Old Filly Awesome Feather in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and sported a 2010 record of 2 wins in five starts with 3 seconds. Included in her resume was a win in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes by 4 lengths.

I think this race is pretty much just a two horse race between the main contenders. Most of the time when I’m writing about a race I keep my winning choices somewhat toned down and try to instead present each of the contenders equally, citing their accomplishments and proven abilities. This time I’m going out on a limb.

I think Dancinginherdreams is going to be one of the best sophomore fillies of the year, in fact I think she and Kathmanblu will, health and circumstance permitting, become the two leading fillies in the nation at year’s end. That being said I think Dancinginherdreams is easily the class of the Forward Gal and will add yet another feather to her cap at day’s end.

Switch

Switch begins her 2010 campaign in the Santa Monica Stakes (gr.1) just one month after impressively taking the Grade 1 La Brea for 3-year-old fillies on December 26th. After facing the likes of Zenyatta and Dubai Majesty last year, the field in the Santa Monica looks to be completely at the now 4-year-old filly’s mercy.

Mona de Momma, Sweet August Moon, Pinkarella and Pica Slew will present the biggest challenges to Switch. Both Pica Slew and Sweet August Moon are graded stakes winners in their own right and consistently run against stakes caliber competition.

Mona de Momma enters off a win in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on May 1st and will be the biggest question mark in the field. With such a long layoff it is hard to say where exactly she is mentally and physically, but she still enters off 2 straight graded stakes wins and should be taken as a serious threat.

It’s a pretty classy field set for this year’s Santa Monica and several fillies enter off good, long-term consistent form. All that being said, Switch should throttle this field.

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3 Responses to “The Big 3: Holy Bull, Forward Gal and Santa Monica”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brian Appleton, Brian Appleton. Brian Appleton said: The Holy Bull Sta… http://wp.me/pFvCN-gZ […]

  2. Brian,

    It’s a crying shame to see a talented colt like DIALED IN starting at 8 furlongs after just one maiden win at 6 1/2 furlongs in November. This one turn distance is just too demanding…even if he does well, it’ll probably break him for the rest of the spring.

    My biggest gripe is that this race is worth $400,000. That puts the winner into the Derby right now. Last year MAKE MUSIC FOR ME was last in at $218,750.

    While these are all nice horses for their connections, there aren’t any legit contenders. GOURMET DINNER, a son of sprinter TRIPPI, no way. MUCHO MACHO MAN looks like the top threat today but with PONCHE on the bottom, 9 furlongs will be his max effective distance. Ditto LEAVE OF ABSENCE, by HARLAN’S HOLIDAY whose best offspring was MAJESTICPERFECTION, a sprinter. This is the right race for LEAVE OF ABSENCE today, but no way should this one turn race qualify him for the Derby, should he win.

    • Hi Rob,

      It is crazy for a race to gain the winner that much graded stakes earnings this early in the year but I personally think Mucho Macho Man is a legit contender on the Derby trail so I won’t have as much of a problem with it if he wins.

      Dialed In has to either be a freak or just has a trainer that over confident in him. Nick Zito usually places his young horses pretty well so I’m inclined to think he’ll run well.

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