It takes a great deal to dethrone a champion, and after Midnight Lute ’s powerful repeat victory in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I), it was assumed by many that the defending sprint champion had accomplished enough in that race alone to secure a second Eclipse Award.
But in the minds of the majority of voters, out of sight was not out of mind when it came to Benny the Bull, who was undefeated in four starts in 2008. Despite the fact that the 5-year-old son of Lucky Lionelretired with an injury in July, he had done enough in those four starts to take down the majority of votes.
Owned by IEAH Stables, Andrew Cohen, and Greg James, Benny the Bull not only won all four of his starts with rousing stretch runs, he did it at four different tracks.
His victories came in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions at Gulfstream Park, the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at Nad al Sheba, the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont, and the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at Calder.
In his first three races, he covered the six furlongs in 1:08.48, 1:08.70, and 1:09.06, respectively.
Benny the Bull’s undefeated season, in which he earned $1,753,080, while averaging almost $440,000 a start, provided IEAH Stables and trainer Rick Dutrow with their second Eclipse Award winner in 2008, joining 3-year-old male champion Big Brown .
Benny the Bull, bred in Florida by Tomoka Farms, was purchased privately by IEAH in July 2007, following his victory in the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows.