It’s been quite a while since trainer Nick Zito won Gulfstream Park’s $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3). Zito won the Holy Bull in 1994 and 1995 and he hopes to earn his third win today when he sends Jackson Bend to the starting gate as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Jackson Bend steps up into graded stakes competition for the first time and makes his first start for Zito who took over as his trainer last October. In his previous six starts, Jackson Bend raced exclusively at Calder Race Course and ships to Gulfstream with a 5-1-0 record. Jackson Bend last raced in October and since then he has recorded several bullet work outs. Despite his impressive record at Calder, I don’t like Jackson Bend as the favorite but he could be competitive and should be used in the bottom of the exotics.
Winslow Homer (6-1) really impressed me when he posted a 12 ½ - length romp in an allowance race last November on a muddy track at Philadelphia Park. Winslow Homer, trained by Tony Dutrow, earned a 106 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort and comes in to the race with 2-0-1 record in three starts. Winslow Homer has never run in a stakes race and steps up into graded stakes competition. However, I believe he has the pedigree and class to be competitive at this level.
With two wins in four starts, Homeboykris (5-1) posted an impressive 1 ½ - length win last October in the 1-mile Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont and earned a 100 Brisnet Speed Figure for that effort. In November, Homeboykris stretched out to the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Stakes (G2) and finished fifth, beaten 9 ¾ -lengths by Buddy’s Saint. Homeboykris cuts back today in distance to a mile which I believe is his best distance. He’s been working out good since the Remsen and he should be tough in this spot.
At 12-1 morning line odds, Litigation Risk looks like a very nice long shot. Going gate-to-wire, Litigation Risk looked very impressive breaking his maiden two races back in a 7-furlong maiden sprint at Belmont. Litigation Risk earned a 95 speed figure in that effort for trainer Richard Violette. Since then, Litigation Risk has been working out good and his two recent bullet works suggest that he could be ready to make another big move forward.
Turf Melody heads a field of eleven 3-year-olds today as the 7-2 morning line favorite in the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. Trained by Graham Motion, Turf Melody comes into the race with a win in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park. Although Turf Melody is favored, there are others entered in this race I like better.
Despite a troubled trip, Maximus Ruler (4-1) barely missed breaking his maiden in his debut last November 14 finishing third in a 7-furlong sprint at Churchill Downs. He came back two weeks later and won a 1-mile allowance in 1:35.94 and earned a 93 Brisnet Speed Figure. Since then, he’s been working out good and should be ready for another good effort.
In his last race, Citrus Kid (8-1) led for most of the way in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) before giving way and finishing third, beaten 7-lengths by Buddy’s Saint. Today, Citrus Kid cuts back in distance that he is capable of winning with his on-the-lead running style. His recent bullet work January 13 suggests that he could be ready for a good effort.
With a 1-2-1 record in five starts, Worldly (5-1) has yet to win a stakes or graded-stakes race. Worldly broke his maiden on his third attempt November 8 at Churchill Downs. He came back 20 days later and finished third to Super Saver in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill. Earlier this month, Worldly shortened up and finished second in a 1-mile, 40-yard optional claiming racing at Fair Grounds. Worldly always puts in a good effort and repeat could be a factor in the exotics.
Callide Valley, at 10-1 morning line odds, looks like a nice long shot. Callide Valley adds blinkers and cuts back in distance I believe is more suitable. He’s been working out good and could be a factor in the exotics.