Holy Bull filled with bona-fide Derby types

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - DICK JERARDI

There are po­ten­tial stars run­ning in Florida and New York on Satur­day, in­clud­ing a pos­si­ble ri­val for Song­bird. For the last Satur­day in Jan­uary, this is some se­ri­ous rac­ing.

The Holy Bull Stakes at Gulf­stream Park has of­ten been in­hab­ited with real Ken­tucky Derby con­tenders. Half of this field is live, start­ing but def­i­nitely not end­ing with Mo­hay­men. Un­beaten in three starts, each more im­pres­sive than the pre­vi­ous, the $2.2 mil­lion son of Tapit checked ev­ery 2-year-old box – speed in his de­but; a nice rally in his first stakes start, split­ting horses at 1 1/8 miles; and earn­ing Beyer Speed Fig­ures of 87, 89, and 95 in the Rem­sen Stakes.

This is my horse as we get un­der way, but it is very early. There is very lit­tle pace in this race, so how the jock­eys ride will be fas­ci­nat­ing. Clearly, Mo­hay­men could be in front, and that might be the wise de­ci­sion with the other con­tenders to his out­side, but just about any race sce­nario is pos­si­ble.

I liked Green point cru­sader in the Breed­ers’ Cup Ju­ve­nile. You can put a line through his race. He never re­ally had a chance to run and fin­ished sev­enth. His other races, with Bey­ers of 80, 82, and 94 when win­ning the Grade 1 Cham­pagne Stakes, were ter­rific. John Ve­lazquez rides him for the first time in the Holy Bull. This $575,000 son of Bernar­dini def­i­nitely can win if he comes back to the Cham­pagne form and Mo­hay­men is not ready to move for­ward from his 2-year-old sea­son.

Con­quest Big E isn’t as fast as the other two, but he has four as­cend­ing Bey­ers – 72, 75, 81, and 84. The $700,000 son of Tapit prob­a­bly was rid­den the wrong way in his eighth-place fin­ish in the BC Ju­ve­nile, so I would toss that race. His last was very good, but the com­pe­ti­tion is dra­mat­i­cally bet­ter in this spot.

Flex­i­bil­ity is go­ing to be a huge fa­vorite in the With­ers Stakes at Aqueduct on Satur­day, as he should be. His trainer, Chad Brown, has done just

about ev­ery­thing in this game al­ready ex­cept be­ing a Triple Crown player. This could be the horse who gets him there.

Flex­i­bil­ity has run four win­ning races but had the mis­for­tune of run­ning into Mo­hay­men twice. The Bey­ers – 74, 86, 93, and 90 – are im­pres­sive. So is this colt’s mo­tor.

Sunny Ridge is an­other horse with ris­ing Bey­ers in each start, go­ing from 62 to 67 to 76 to 86 when se­cond in the Cham­pagne to 92 when se­cond in the Delta Jack­pot to Ex­ag­ger­a­tor. His two best fig­ures were on off tracks, but this looks like an im­prov­ing horse with a chance to be a player. This is the spot to prove it.

King Kranz has never run be­yond 6 1/2 fur­longs, but if rid­den ag­gres­sively, he cer­tainly looks like lone speed in the With­ers. I would not pick this horse, but he is not with­out a chance.

Song­bird en­ters 2016 as the dom­i­nant 3-year-old of ei­ther sex. No filly was able to warm her up last year, when she won all four of her starts, in­clud­ing the BC Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies.

Check out Cathryn Sophia in the For­ward Gal Stakes at Gulf­stream Park. I have no idea how far this daugh­ter of Street Boss wants to go, but she is re­ally fast. No filly has been near her in her two starts, one at Parx and one at

Lau­rel Park. She got a 92 in her maiden win when she crushed the field by 12 3/4 lengths. She got a 94 when she won a Lau­rel stakes by 16 1/4.

Trainer John Servis has had some good 3-year-olds since he won the 2004 Ken­tucky Derby with Smarty Jones, but this filly might be the most ex­cit­ing. Owner Cash Is King LLC also has had some nice horses since win­ning the Preak­ness and Bel­mont in 2005 with Afleet Alex, but per­haps none quite like this filly.

On pa­per, there is other speed in the For­ward Gal, but we shall see if any of th­ese fil­lies is fast enough to hang with Cathryn Sophia.

Green Gratto was hav­ing a nice but not over­whelm­ing ca­reer un­til Novem­ber, when the horse sud­denly ripped off three con­sec­u­tive tripledigit Bey­ers af­ter be­ing united with the hot jockey Ken­drick Car­mouche. If Green Gratto clears the field in the To­bog­gan at Aqueduct on Satur­day – as seems likely – and comes back to his re­cent 101, 101, 107 Beyer se­ries, he will be very tough to catch.

Dads Caps ob­vi­ously loves the in­ner track – he has been in the money in all eight of his starts on it – and he is no stranger to triple-digit Bey­ers, but this will be his first race since June, and he will be chas­ing a hot horse.

BAR­BARA D. LIV­INGSTON

Green­pointcru­sader (above) may be Mo­hay­men’s main foe in the Holy Bull.

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