Holy Bull Wagering: Derby Hopefuls Looking for Identity

A field of ten line up for Saturday's $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park

Last year’s champion two-year-old juvenile starts his path down the Road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park, as Shanghai Bobby puts his undefeated record on the line as the 4-5 morning line favorite in the Grade 3 $400,000 Holy Bull.

The Eclipse Award winner did not exactly scare away the competition as a field of nine will line up to attempt to end his five race winning streak.

The Todd Pletcher trainee broke his maiden in his debut, won the Track Barron in his first go against winners, and then won the Grade 2 Hopeful and Grade 1 Champagne, sending him to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita as the 8-5 betting favorite.

The colt made his first start around two turns in that race and he battled on gamely in the stretch to prevail by a head over He’s Had Enough, taking advantage of a racing strip that was kind to speed.

The 4-5 morning line price sure seems light, and there are several runners in the field that look capable of winning including Grade 3 Delta Jackpot runner up Bern Identity (4-1) and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club runner up Frac Daddy (8-1).

Pletcher will also saddle the 4-5 morning line favorite in the co-feature, the $200,000 Forward Gal for three-year-old fillies.

Kauai Kate bounced back from her lone defeat in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with a resounding victory in the Grade 3 Old Hat over the Gulfstream Park main track on Jan. 1.

The Pletcher trainee has won four of her five career starts and the trainer said he plans on keeping her going one turn this year.

She really looks tough in this spot, although we may be talking more about My Happy Face (4-1) or Spring Venture (8-1) by the time the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks comes around.

With frigid temperatures knocking out racing at Aqueduct on Thursday and Friday, it gave me some extra time to handicap the entire card from Gulfstream Park as well as the Aqueduct card.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday includes my nine strongest plays from Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park including the stakes action.

Click here to purchase Michael’s Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct Reports for Saturday.

Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:

Gulfstream Park  Race 10 The Holy Bull G3 (Post time 5:05 ET)

4 Bern Identity   4-1

2 Frac Daddy   8-1

1 Shanghai Bobby   4-5

6 Dewey Square    12-1

Analysis: Bern Identity makes his first start since running a good second in the Delta Jackpot (G3). The colt was shuffled back on the far turn, was angled out six wide and finished with a rush to come up 1 3/4 lengths short of catching Goldencents, who came out of the race to win the Sham (G3) in his next outing on Jan. 5 at Santa Anita. The third place finisher Mylute exited the Delta Jackpot to beat Alw-1 optional claimers by 10 3/4 lengths at Fair Grounds in his next start, and Show Some Magic excited the race to win the Allison Futurity at Sunland Park in his next start on Dec. 23. Our top pick won the Sanford (G2) in his first go against winners last summer at the Spa, and then was no match for Shanghai Bobby in the Hopeful (G2) at seven furlongs. Going two turns he may be able to turn the tables on the champ here and will likely offer better value for the top spot.

Frac Daddy makes his first start since getting beaten a neck in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. The time of that race was on the slow side, but the colt that beat him is no slouch. Uncaptured has won six of his seven career starts including five stakes, two of them graded. The Ken McPeek trainee earned a solid figure two back in his maiden score and appears to be working sharply in the mornings over the Gulfstream Park main track. Decent value if this guy goes off near his 8-1 morning line.

Shanghai Bobby is undefeated in five career starts and capped off his championship year by digging in to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) by a head over He’s had Enough, who came back to run fifth in the CashCall Futurity (G1) in his next outing. The Todd Pletcher trainee appeared to be aided by a racing strip at the Breeders’ Cup that was playing to inside speed. He did handle Goldencents last year winning the Champagne (G1) and our top pick in the Hopeful, but just has the look of an underlay in this spot.


WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.

EX: 2,4 / 1,2,4,6

TRI: 2,4 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,3,5,6,7



Michael Dempsey provides his full card handicapping report each racing day from New York. His Aqueduct Report is available every day Wednesday through Sunday. Michael has covered the New York circuit daily for more than two decades.


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