He’s back! Brian Nadeau has returned to the Backstretch to offer his handicapping skills on key Derby preps. Other responsibilities will mean that he’s writing on fewer races this year, but you can get more of his insights at Horseplayer Now, where he handicaps and appears in live chats regularly.
So a hearty welcome back to Brian, and here’s his look at Sunday’s Holy Bull.
Gulfstream Park – The Grade III, $400,000 Holy Bull at 1-mile
#1 Gourmet Dinner (3-1): GIII Delta Jackpot winner gets back on the main after a decent fourth in the GI CashCall at Hollywood Park in December, and since adding blinkers two starts back, he’s been a different horse. Meets a pretty salty crew here but he drew well, should get some pace to run at and merits respect, though at this ML you’re not getting any value; seems capable.
#2 Major Gain (8-1): Polytrack specialist impressed in his first dirt try when finishing a close third in the GII Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, but that race was won by a maiden, so not too sure about the quality. Still, he could have done a lot worse in his initial foray on real dirt and he should only improve from there; eligible to be a factor at a nice price.
#3 Printing Press (12-1): Decent 3yo debut behind fellow rival Black N Beauty in a local allowance and now tests the big boys in his first attempt at a graded stakes. Thinking he’s got some talent but he might need a race or two at this level to show it; longshot.
#4 Black N Beauty (6-1): Aforementioned runner set a quick pace and drew off in his N1X score and considering that was his first start past 6 ½ furlongs, first start against winners and first start off the layoff, it was some pretty good work he did. Steps up today but there’s a very good chance he’s able to control the early splits once again and we already know he loves the course and distance; call to lead them every step of the way.
#5 Ribo Bobo (15-1): It seems like a long time ago that he was a good second to Astrology in the GIII Iroquois at Churchill, because in his two subsequent starts he hasn’t done much running. Azpurua forges on and the Iroquois was at a mile, but the positives end right there; not liking his chances.
#6 Leave Of Absence (10-1): Closed stoutly in the local 6-furlong Spectacular Bid and now stretches out, and with Harlan’s Holiday as his sire, he has the potential to move forward going longer. Also should show some tactical speed on the stretch and that means he’ll be in a good spot turning for home; adds to the depth of this talented field.
#7 Mucho Macho Man (5-2): Big run in Aqueduct’s two-turn GII Remsen behind Future Book hotshot To Honor And Serve to close out his 2yo season and now makes his 3yo debut with the hopes of continuing down the path to the Derby in May. He’s basically improved in every start and after finishing second to ‘Serve in his last pair, he might finally get his turn to shine, but it’s also worth noting that this is a one-turn race and only a starting point to bigger goals down the road; respect his talent but not interested in the short price.
#8 Sweet Ducky (8-1): Beaten pretty good by ‘Gourmet when fourth in the Jackpot and now makes his sophomore debut for the white-hot Breen. He’s 2-for-2 at the distance but note those Monmouth races were at two turns, so he might need a little more ground to show his best stuff; passing on this useful runner.
#9 Dialed In (6-1): Bet like a good thing for his CD debut and though he raced like he had no clue what he was doing, he was up late to get the job done at a tricky 6 ½ furlongs. Son of Horse of the Year Mineshaft is bred to get better with more distance and more ground and you get the feeling we haven’t seen anything close to his true potential; not expecting a win today but confident this is a colt that could be one of the ones come the first Saturday in May.
#4 Black N Beauty
#6 Leave Of Absence
#7 Mucho Macho Man