By Tony Bada Bing, Horse Racing Nation
Once and a while you have to look at a horse race – not from point of view of who’s best, but from the point of view of who is most likely to control the race. This summarizes how I see Saturday’s Holy Bull Stakes from Gulfstream Park…East I think.
It’s a full field of 10. This I like and so should you. This means you’re likely to land on a horse of greater than 2-1 odds. I’d actually be surprised if anyone dips below the 2-1 level given how much time off so many of these starters have had and the unknown quality of recent allowance/black list stakes runners hold. What I’m reduced to is a bit of guess, but one I think controls and ultimate wins the Holy Bull.
So let me get right to it. #4 Bluegrass Singer is my top choice and here are a few reasons why:
· While he’s fast, I don’t think he needs the lead. In fact from the time the gates open to the first quarter pole, I’ll know if Bluegrass Singer can rate comfortable or need the lead. If he can do the later without pressure I’ll be happy.
· His jockey, Javier Castellano, Eclipse Award winner, enough said. No actually more on that in a minute.
· Soft spot for his sire Bluegrass Cat, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont and Travers Stakes, as well as winning the Haskell and should provide some pedigree staying power to ‘Singer.
There’s one of two ways to go with a Holy Bull pace projection. Either three or four horses vie for the early lead and run each other into the ground awaiting someone from off the pace to pounce or most jocks back off the lead not wanting to get into such a speed duel, allowing a single pacesetter to set soft early fractions. Even if you’ve only followed Gulfstream Park for a little while, you know having a horse loose-on-the-lead setting about 24-second quarter mile fractions is dangerous.
Again, I think Bluegrass Singer is most apt to get such an easy lead. If Castellano feels a soft pace setting up, he can squeeze #1 Frosted or #3 High Noon Rider down along the rail. Others that may go for the lead from the outside #9 Dom the Bomb and #8 Upstart are getting class tests similar to Bluegrass Singer with the later probably taking more money in the win pool and the former just not being good enough, traveling outside of Illinois-breds. Also the 1 1/16-mile configuration at Gulfstream gives an edge to inside horses, that can hit the fast approaching turn with more control.
If some jock is willing to push out a sub 23-second quarter than Bluegrass Singer can layoff and the race won’t really be about who is in first, but who’s in second or third with the best trip in front of them. Here Bluegrass Singer could lead a second pack of horses just waiting to pounce on the turn for home.
Look I could be completely off here and I’m not saying to bet the house on Bluegrass Signer, especially with the possibility that a first-time Lasix, Goldolphin-owned entrant like #6 First Down could possibly take them all the way around.
I’m betting you’ll get higher than the 4-1 morning line and a good bet would be to wheel Bluegrass Singer on top of exactas with every other horse and hope for a bomb to finish second. I will include Bluegrass Singer in my Pick 5 bets and would suggest you take a look at the last five races on Saturday, as four are graded stakes and the finale is a $100,000 grass stakes race. Well worth the investment into what could be a sizable Pick 5 payout.
In however you decide to wager, good luck!