01/22/2015 3:21PM

Frosted, Upstart set to clash in Holy Bull Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Frosted will be among the favorites Saturday in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The road to the 2015 Kentucky Derby begins in earnest Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where as many as 10 3-year-olds will lock horns in the $400,000 Holy Bull. The Grade 2 Holy Bull is the first of three local preps for the Derby, concluding March 28 with the $1 million Florida Derby.

The 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull is the richest of five 3-year-old stakes on Saturday’s card, which also includes the Grade 2 Forward Gal and Grade 3 Hutcheson, along with the Sweetest Chant and Kitten’s Joy stakes. The Holy Bull carries 17 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby, allotted on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the top four finishers.

Frosted, the runner-up to Leave the Light On in the Grade 2 Remsen, and Upstart, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, figure to vie for favoritism in the Holy Bull. The field includes Bluegrass Singer and Dom the Bomb, both of whom were cross-entered in the seven-furlong Hutcheson.


DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Frosted. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is 35-3-3-2 with a $1.01 ROI over the past five years in graded stakes at Gulfstream Park. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Frosted did not win his maiden until his third start, when stretching out to a mile Oct. 30 at Aqueduct. He matched the 89 Beyer Speed Figure he received that day with his second-place finish in the Remsen, despite breaking from post 13 and racing against what appeared to be a pronounced inside bias that day.

“He ran huge,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, referring to the Remsen. “He had the 13 hole, the track was a conveyer belt, and he was unlucky to lose.”

McLaughlin won the Holy Bull a year ago with Cairo Prince.

Upstart also was poorly posted in the BC Juvenile, got hung out wide the entire trip, and just failed to hold second money when beaten a nose by Carpe Diem behind the runaway winner Texas Red. Upstart, a New York-bred son of Flatter, had finished second behind Daredevil in the Grade 1 Champagne in his previous start.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 8 Upstart. Trainer Rick Violette is 48-1-8-7 with a $0.07 ROI over the past two years in routes following a layoff of 61 days or more. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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“I’d like to have gotten a mile work into him, but he’s ready to give a good account of himself off his last work,” said trainer Rick Violette. “He’s proven he’s more than just a nice New York-bred. He’s moved up to the next level and certainly belongs with the elite 3-year-olds at this time.”

Bluegrass Singer has won his last two starts, both at a mile over the local strip, including the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on New Year’s Day. Trainer Marcus Vitali said he was leaning toward running the son of Bluegrass Cat in the Holy Bull on Saturday rather than turning him back to seven furlongs for the Hutcheson.

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Key contenders

Frosted (Last 3 Beyers: 89-89-84)

* Well drawn on the rail with a short run to the first turn in races decided at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park.

Raced with Lasix for the first time in the Remsen, and McLaughlin has had a 25 percent success rate with his starters racing second-time Lasix over the past five years, according to Daily Racing Form Formulator.

Upstart (Last 3 Beyers: 92-102-95)

Owns the top Beyer in the field – the 102 he earned for his second-place finish in the Champagne.

Comes off an eye-catching six-furlong work in 1:12.20 last Sunday at Palm Meadows, according to both Violette, who called the drill “scary good,” and DRF clocker Mike Vesce, whose first reaction to the work was “wow!”

Bluegrass Singer (Last 3 Beyers: 92-90-83)

Looks like the controlling speed once again in the Holy Bull, especially if Dom the Bomb opts out to run in the Hutcheson.

He has failed to change leads down the stretch in each of his last several starts, although Vitali said he’s unconcerned, adhering to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theory.

Keen Ice (Last 3 Beyers: 76-67-69)

He finished a distant third behind Frosted in the Remsen, but trainer Dale Romans is bullish on his future.

“He’s a Triple Crown-type horse,” he said. “My only concern is the track bias here, which favors speed, and he’s definitely a closer.”

The son of Curlin has trained extremely well over the local strip for his 3-year-old debut, posting a series of solid five-furlong works, including a 59.31-second bullet with Tammy Fox up while easily getting the best of stablemate Stefochop (a turf specialist running in the Kitten’s Joy later on the card) here Jan. 11.

First Down (Last 2 Beyers: 73-86)

Defeated Frosted by three-quarters of a length when the pair met going 6 1/2 furlongs Sept. 20 at Belmont Park.

Gets Lasix for the first time in the Holy Bull. Trainer Tom Albertrani owns a 10 percent win rate with horses racing first-time Lasix over the past five years, according to Formulator.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 10 Decision Day. Trainer Josie Carroll is 16-4-2-4 with a $3.40 ROI over the past five years going from synthetic to dirt with last-out winners. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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