2018 Holy Bull Stakes Picks
Holy Bull Stakes Preview and Odds
As with two other Derby qualifying races on Saturday, the (G2) Withers Stakes at Aqueduct and the (G2) Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, the Holy Bull awards points for the 2018 Kentucky Derby on a 10-4-2-1 scale. Four horses currently sitting in the Top 20 in the Derby leaderboard are in the Holy Bull field, including Enticed, Free Drop Billy, Hollywood Star and Tiz Mischief.
One of several in the field coming in off a layoff, Enticed has been made the slight morning line favorite for the Holy Bull at odds of 3-1. A winner of two-of-three lifetime starts, he comes to the Holy Bull off a win in the (G2) Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last November. Prior to that he ran third in the (G1) Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, after breaking his maiden first time out at Saratoga in September.
He didn't get a very good break in the Kentucky Jockey Club and withstood some early bumping to race just off the pace, moving into the second spot at the top of the stretch and then driving through the lane to score the win by just a nose. He's drawn the #1 post position here, and needs to come out of the gate clean to avoid getting himself into traffic trouble early.
Free Drop Billy Wants to Forget Breeders' Cup
Breaking to his outside in the #2 post, Free Drop Billy (6-1) ran first or second in his first four lifetime starts, including a win in the (G1) Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, before laying an egg in coming in ninth in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He ran much better when finishing second in the (G1) Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga in September, a race where he finished more than four lengths ahead of top Kentucky Derby contender Firenze Fire. If he can get back to his early two-year-old form, he has a solid chance in this field.
Second behind Enticed in the Kentucky Jockey Club, Tiz Mischief (4-1) is a late-running colt who should get a fairly quick pace to run at here. His only win in four starts - with a pair of runner-up finishes - came at the Holy Bull distance of 1 1/16 miles, and while he's a good bet to get in the money, he may need even more distance to win, and will be worth keeping an eye on when the Derby preps stretch out to 1 1/8 miles.
Coming in off two straight wins, but trying stakes company for the first time is Audible (6-1) one of two in the field for trainer Todd Pletcher. Last out he ran away and hid from the field in a first-level allowance race at Aqueduct, winning by more than nine lengths in a race that was originally scheduled to be run on the turf. He did score his maiden win on the dirt at Aqueduct, and that may well prove to be the surface where he is best suited.
The Holy Bull Stakes is set to go Saturday, February 3 from Gulfstream Park. It's the last of 12 races on an excellent day of racing at Gulfstream that features four other graded-stakes events. Post time for the Holy Bull is 5:49 PM Eastern.
Entries w/ ML Odds
- Enticed (3-1)
- Free Drop Billy (6-1)
- Mater Manipulator (20-1)
- Audible (6-1)
- Bandito (20-1)
- Hollywood Star (12-1)
- Tiz Mischief (4-1)
- Pony Up (8-1)
- Tip Sheet (30-1)
- Aequor (15-1)
- Mississippi (5-1)
Holy Bull Picks
- 1) #2 - Free Drop Billy
- 2) #1 - Enticed
- 3) #7 - Tiz Mischief
- 4) #4 - Audible
Bet the full card Saturday from Gulfstream Park, and all of the races leading up to the 2018 Kentucky Derby with an account at a top-rated online racebook.
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