Holy Bull, the Horse of the Year in 1994 and a successful stallion who counts 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo among his progeny, has been pensioned and will retire at Sheikh Mohammed's Jonabell Farm near Lexington, Darley announced July 7.
A 21-year-old son of Great Above out of the Al Hattab mare Sharon Brown, Holy Bull was bred in Florida by Pelican Stable. The gray began his stallion career in 1996 at the Bell family’s Jonabell Farm, which was later purchased by Sheikh Mohammed.
In a release, Darley America president Jimmy Bell reflected on Holy Bull’s racing career and had this to say when asked about how Holy Bull might compare to some of the other top horses in recent memory: “He was so good, he was not a specialist. Short. Grass. Long. Dirt. Pick your best five horses. He could run with any of them.”
Holy Bull was undefeated as a 2-year-old when his wins included the Futurity Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. At 3, he enjoyed a dominant campaign that included victories in the Florida Derby (gr. I), Blue Grass Stakes (gr. II), Dwyer Stakes (gr. II), Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Travers Stakes (gr. I). He also had runaway scores against older horses in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) and in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I). In addition to Horse of the Year, he was crowned champion 3-year-old colt of 1994.
His career record included 13 wins from 16 starts, with 11 victories in stakes events.
As a stallion, Holy Bull proved to be extremely successful. Bell further commented, “He really was a working man’s horse, if you will. Blue collar. People always had a place for a Holy Bull.”
His six individual grade I winners include Giacomo and champion and 2000 Breeders Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Macho Uno , now a successful sire whose most recent winner was Mucho Macho Man in the July 7 Suburban Handicap (gr. II), in addition to the young sire Flashy Bull. Holy Bull's average earnings per starter stands at $62,000, while his career statistics show a 70% lifetime winners to starters ratio.