Sunday, January 29, 2012

Holy Bull Stakes Racing Roundup

Hansen, undefeated in three starts and the 2011 Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old Male, will try to keep his perfect record intact when he goes to the starting gate today in the 25th running of the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Tagged as the 6-5 morning line favorite, Hansen likes to take the early lead and he’s never been headed in all three of his previous starts. However, with the speedy Algorithms (5-2) and Consortium (3-1) in the starting gate lineup, Hansen will have to improve his game if he’s to retain his undefeated record.

I profiled Algorithms and Consortium in my 2012 Kentucky Derby Outlook and of the six colts entered in today’s race, those two are the ones I’m most interested in and believe may have classic potential.

Algorithms and Consortium are stepping up in class and making their 3-year-old debut in today’s race. However, if they have improved since their 2-year-old season, I look for both to very competitive in the Holy Bull.

Both colts are lightly raced and were sired by Bernardini. Of the two, I’m leaning a little bit toward Algorithms, however, it is still early on the trail to the first Saturday in May.

In just his second start, Algorithms looked impressive coming off of a six-month layoff, to defeat favored Consortium by one length in a 6½-furlong allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on December 16.

Traveling three-wide in third-place for most of the race, Algorithms chased the fast pace set by Seven Kind and Consortium until he rallied in the stretch to take the lead and win with a sharp final time of 1:15.51.

That’s the kind of performance I like to see in a young colt and if Algorithms is anything like his sire, Bernardini, then he shouldn’t have a problem carrying that speed to route racing – especially 10-furlongs.

Bernardini did not race as a 2-year-old but at the age of three, he was a fast colt that won races from a mile to 10-furlongs. Notable races that Bernardini won en route to becoming the 2006 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Male include: Withers Stakes (G3, 8-furlongs), Preakness Stakes (G1, 9½-furlongs), Jim Dandy Stakes (G2, 8½-furlongs), Travers Stakes (G1, 10-furlongs) and the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1, 10-furlongs).

Consortium will have to improve his game too if he’s going to turn the tables on Algorithms who won by a length in their last race. Stalking the pace set by Seven Kind, Consortium travelled comfortably in second-place and took the lead in the stretch but turned it over to Algorithms in the final strides.

Algorithms earned a 100 Brisnet Speed Figure for his win over Consortium and a bullet work on January 23 indicates that Algorithms could be ready to run another good race – he also fired a bullet before his last race.

Last year’s Holy Bull victor, Dialed In, was made the early Kentucky Derby favorite after the race and with champion Hansen in the starting gate it’s a good bet that the winner of today’s race will be early favorite for the 2012 Derby.

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