01/30/2016 7:27PM

Mohaymen impresses again in Holy Bull Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mohaymen, with Junior Alvarado aboard, wins the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Mohaymen left little doubt that he is the leading Kentucky Derby contender stabled on the East Coast and fueled the argument that he might now even be the division leader, cruising to a convincing 3 1/2-length victory over Greenpointcrusader and four other overmatched rivals in Saturday’s Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Mohaymen, a son of Tapit owned by Shadwell Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, was ridden with total confidence in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull by Junior Alvarado. Rating within easy striking distance of the early leaders, Mohaymen split horses to engage Greenpointcrusader after a half-mile, edged to a short advantage entering the stretch, then surged away with terrific acceleration once switching leads near the eighth pole, after which the issue was no longer in doubt.

Greenpointcrusader, the lone Grade 1 winner in the field, showed some surprising speed under his new rider, John Velazquez, forcing the early issue outside of Perfect Saint through leisurely splits of 24.64 and 49.06 seconds.

The hero of the one-mile Champagne Stakes last October at Belmont Park, Greenpointcrusader raced on even terms with the favored Mohaymen around the second turn but could not match strides once settling into the stretch, although he was easily second-best, finishing 2 1/2 lengths in front of Fellowship. Conquest Big E, Frontier Ranger, and Perfect Saint rounded out the order of finish.

Mohaymen is one of two Kentucky Derby contenders for Shadwell, whose Shagaf remained unbeaten after registering an impressive allowance victory here Friday. Mohaymen earned 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, doubling his previous total, by virtue of his victory in the Holy Bull.

Mohaymen completed the distance in 1:42.07 over a fast track and paid $2.60 for his fourth victory in as many starts and his third Grade 2 win. He had previously captured the Nashua and Remsen stakes at age 2.

“What he did today was pretty special,” said McLaughlin. “It looked like on paper he might break and be on the lead, but when that didn’t happen, I was a little nervous into the first turn. But it all went great. He does everything right. It’s just a real pleasure to have such a special star in the barn for Sheikh Hamdan, Rick Nichols, and everybody. I’ve trained for them for 23 years, and I trained the mother [Justwhistledixie], so it’s pretty special.”