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2011 Holy Bull Stakes Features a Number of Top Contenders

There is plenty of action kicking off at Gulfstream Park this weekend with the Sunshine Millions offering up plenty of high-class racing for the four year-olds and up on Saturday, but the Road to the Kentucky Derby passes through Gulfstream on Sunday as the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes and its $400,000 purse looks set to declare another major contender in the run for the roses.

Final declarations are yet to take place but there are a number of contenders that, barring some type of injury, will be lining up on Sunday. Mucho Macho Man(Macho Uno) has been drawing plenty of attention with three consecutive bullets during his morning workouts over the Gulfstream surface. January 23rd saw the Kathy Ritbo-trained bay colt drill 5f in :59 flat. He’ll be looking to build on his two previous efforts which saw him finish second to the supremely talented To Honor and Serve (Bernardini). Aqueduct to Gulfstream is a consistent reference and this could be a great chance for Mucho to shed the bridesmaid’s tag and start racking up graded scores.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Boys at Tosconova (Officer) had been performing admirably with in-form jockey Ramon Dominguez and the Jay Em Ess/Hot Racing-owned bay or brown colt is set to kick off 2011 with the chance to turn up the heat a little bit on the current Derby favourite - undefeated Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie). Boys had a chance to flash some quality over the Churchill surface in the juvenile but all eyes were on Uncle Mo’s scintillating performance that day. A score here would throw down the gauntlet for Pletcher’s charge and there is a distinct possibility that the two could meet up again in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. At the moment, Uncle Mo is pointed at the easier-looking Tampa Bay Derby.

Delta Downs Jackpot winner Gourmet Dinner (Trippi) looks set for a crack at the Holy Bull and he’ll be looking to get things back on track after a disappointing fourth place finish in the Cashcall Futurity over Hollywood Park’s cushion track. Gourmet could improve here and he’s been posting some confidence-inspiring works since shipping to Gulfstream from his home base at Calder. He has only been conquered once on the southern circuit and that was a tough beat to finish second to Repized Halo (Halo’s Image) in the In Reality Stakes at Calder last October. He boasts a first-try maiden score that, notably, came over Mucho Macho Man. He is proven at the distance and is a credible stakes-winner. He could take a giant step forward if he outclasses Boys at Tosconova or Mucho Macho Man.

The intriguing Sweet Ducky (Pulpit) has been a stand-out on the two year-old circuit since a first-try maiden score at Monmouth with Garret Gomez up last June. He grabbed a pair of ungraded stakes on the Jersey shore before a fourth-place finish in the Delta Downs Jackpot. He still may choose to opt out of this one, but there are few reasons why he can’t take at least a piece of this one if he runs to potential. He may prove to be more of a solid miler than a true two-turn contender but this race could wind up playing to his potential. The son of Pulpit could develop a bit later like many of his brethren and, unraced since November, he’ll be fresh enough to flash some quality. 

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