The Holy Bull will be run this Saturday at Gulfstream Park. For many, this race marks the start of the Derby Prep season. And for many, the race brings with it tremendous anticipation.
This year’s Holy Bull will be a bit anticlimactic because the early Derby favorite and an early potential spoiler are both missing from the race. The early Kentucky Derby favorite is, of course Uncle Mo, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the potential spoiler is Boys At Tosconova, who ran second that day. Of course, most years the Juvenile winner is the early favorite for the Derby. And why not, the Juvenile is for 2-year olds and the Derby is for 3-year olds, and for many Derby hopefuls there is not any racing in between the Breeders’ Cup and the Holy Bull.
What makes Uncle Mo special was that he won the Juvenile rather impressively and as a heavy favorite. Getting the job done as the favorite always makes a strong statement. Winning easily by four lengths isn’t bad either.
Andy Beyer stops short of calling for a Triple Crown winner in his article in the Post (here). But he does say that this year’s Triple Crown will be more memorable than last year.
Sadly, that’s not saying much, but I agree with Andy nonetheless.
Gary West of the Star-Telegram is not so cautious with his predictions. In his recent article he indicates that a sweep is possible. Read it here.
I’m going on record and saying that I am not in the Uncle Mo camp. Yet. He is rumored to be pointed towards the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12th. I plan on making a more formal statement about his chances after that race. For now, I’m just indifferent towards him. Regardless of who else shows up for that race, he will have the chance to hold form as a heavy favorite once again.
There is too much time between the Juvenile and March 12 for me to be ready to give him the Roses, let alone the Triple Crown. He was clearly the best in November. If he can beat a solid field in the Tampa Bay Derby, I’ll start getting excited too. I’d also like to see him win from a bit off the pace rather than running as close to the pace as he did in the Juvenile.
I certainly don’t have anyone better than Uncle Mo to recommend as a Kentucky Derby pick. He enters his 3-year old season the one to beat.