01/27/2010 1:00AM

Winslow Homer advances in Derby line

Bob Coglianese
Winslow Homer edges away from Jackson Bend in deep stretch of Saturday's Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Anthony Dutrow said that when he brought Winslow Homer over for Saturday's at Gulfstream Park all he wanted to do was "keep his place in line" on the road to the Kentucky Derby. But when all was said and done, Winslow Homer had moved forward many places in that line following a gritty three-quarter-length victory over 8-5 favorite Jackson Bend.

Winslow Homer, a son of Unbridled's Song owned by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm, had made only three starts and never raced against stakes competition coming into his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. In fact Dutrow, who believes his wants to go further than a mile, said "a one-turn mile is not what my horse wants and I'm not excited about the Holy Bull a little bit."

While Dutrow is not the excitable type, he couldn't have been happier with his horse's performance, especially since Winslow Homer had to fight his way between horses at the head of the stretch before outfinishing the more experienced Jackson Bend.

The pace in the Holy Bull was a hot one over a lightning fast main track. Homeboykris and Thank U Philippe cut out splits of 23.86 seconds, 45.76 and 1:09.66 with Jackson Bend forcing the issue while racing wide and Winslow Homer tracking the leaders under a rating hold from jockey Ramon Dominguez.

Winslow Homer had to steady briefly at the head of the stretch while awaiting clearance between the leaders. He finally was able to split the tiring Thank U Philippe and Homeboykris to engage Jackson Bend, who had forged to a short advantage leaving the eighth pole, before edging away at the end.

Winslow Homer completed a mile in 1:35.97 and paid $9.60 as the second choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds.

"I have to be happy with what I just saw, it was a big effort," said Dutrow. "I especially liked the way he came through tight quarters at the top of the stretch. It was super to watch. He's bred to get a distance, he loved two turns and I'm looking forward to the Fountain of Youth."

The Grade 2 Fountain of Youth will be decided at a mile and one-eighth on Feb. 20.