On This Day...
Photo: The Blood-Horse Library
Holy Bull in Florida
March 12, 1994
Holy Bull on Florida Derby Day

With last year's champion 2-year-old male Dehere sidelined, Holy Bull took command of the East Coast division with a dominant score in the March 12 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.

Holy Bull had lost to Dehere in the Feb. 11 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), and trainer Jimmy Croll attributed the poor effort to a flipped palate that caused the colt to be unable to draw air. The conditioner also made a couple of changes for the Florida Derby--switching to a different style bit and adding a nose band.

Holy Bull, the second betting choice in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby, got out to an uncontested lead and won by 5 3/4 lengths. The time, 1:47.66, was the fastest since Alydar's time in 1978, and the margin was the second-largest in Derby history.

After the race, Croll told The Blood-Horse,"It's the same horse. He just couldn't breathe last time. Nobody believed me then. Maybe they will now."

Holy Bull next won the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, then ran 12th in the Run for the Roses as the favorite. He didn't contest the Preakness (gr. I) or Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

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