The morning after capturing an Eclipse Award as the nation's leading 2-year-old male last year in a near unanimous vote, undefeated Shanghai Bobby breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 Jan. 20 in his final tune-up for the upcoming Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
The workout, with exercise rider Patti Krontenko aboard at Palm Meadows Training Center, was the fifth fastest of 13 recorded at the distance. Shanghai Bobby worked in company with Verrazano, a 3-year-old colt who captured his career debut at Gulfstream Jan. 1 by a dominating 7 3/4 lengths.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for owners Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Shanghai Bobby will be favored in the Jan. 26 Holy Bull, a $400,000 event for 3-year-olds contested at 1 1/16 miles.
"It went great. It looks like everything's on schedule," said Pletcher. "They went head and head and finished evenly. It was a nice work for both of them."
The champion 2-year-old collected all but one of the 254 votes cast in the male juvenile Eclipse balloting after a season in which the son of Harlan's Holiday won all five of his starts and earned $1,687,000. With dominating wins in the Three Chimneys Hopeful and Foxwood Champagne (gr. I) stakes, the colt journeyed 3,000 miles to Santa Anita Park, where he gutted out a narrow win in the Nov. 3 Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
The Holy Bull would be Shanghai Bobby's first race since the Breeders' Cup. The dark bay or brown colt has had six published workouts on the Palm Meadows tab since mid-December.
Shanghai Bobby ranked ninth in the nation last year in purse earnings. Bred in Kentucky by Stonehaven Steadings, he is out of the stakes-winning Orientate mare Steelin'.
The Pletcher-trained Kauai Katie, who captured the Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream on New Year's Day by eight lengths, breezed a half-mile in :49.63.
The 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon , winner of four of five starts, is scheduled to run in the $200,000 Forward Gal (gr. II) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream.
"She just went a nice half," Pletcher said. "Everything's on schedule."
Also on the Palm Meadows Sunday morning work tab was Holy Bull probable Bern Identity, who posted a bullet five-furlong move in :59 1/5. George and Lori Hall’s colt by Bernstein would be making his first start since finishing second as the favorite in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (gr. III) at Delta Downs Nov. 17.
The Gulfstream work tab Sunday also had several high-profile names, some postponed from the preceding day when the track was sloppy for morning workouts. Trainer Dale Romans accepted his Eclipse Award Saturday night and was busy the following morning as Sienna Farms’s 3-year-old Dewey Square worked five panels in :59 flat for a possible start in the Holy Bull.
Romans also sent out Carlo and Priscilla Vaccarezza’s 6-year-old gelding Little Mike, who breezed an easy half-mile in :52 1/5 while kept on edge for his impending trip to Dubai. Winner of last year's Arlington Million (gr. IT) and Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT), the son of Spanish Steps was an Eclipse Award finalist in the male turf and older male categories.