Earlier in the week, Tony Dutrow said the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO)—a one-turn mile—was not ideal for Winslow Homer. The Philadelphia Park-based trainer said his promising colt will be better the longer he goes.
Well, if Winslow Homer is better in routes than he is at one turn, the rest of the Florida-based 3-year-olds may be in big trouble.
A son of Unbridled's Song—Summer Raven, by Summer Squall, Winslow Homer moved into striking position approaching the turn, splits horses at the top of the lane, and held off 8-5 favorite Jackson Bend to win the Holy Bull in his stakes debut Jan. 23.
“I came here today without any particular expectations, just hoping he would keep his place in line (on the Kentucky Derby trail)," Dutrow said. "Naturally, I have to be very pleased with the way he ran."
Owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, the gray or roan colt entered the Holy Bull with two wins in three starts, including a 12 1/2-length romp in a one-mile allowance test at Philly Park in November. He was bred in Kentucky by Overbook Farm.
Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Winslow Homer was in no hurry in the early stages of the Holy Bull, as he was near the back of the field of nine through an opening quarter-mile of :23.86 set by Piscitelli. It was a tightly-bunched field through the backstretch, with Aikenite, Jackson Bend, Homeboykris, and Thank U Philippe all close to the pace.
Homeboykris and Thank U Philippe were in front through a grueling half-mile in :45.76 and those two hit the quarter-pole first. But Winslow Homer had inched closer to the front entering the turn and when they reached the eighth-pole he split his two rivals along the inside en route to striking the lead.
Jackson Bend, who swept the Florida Stallion Series at Calder and entered with a five-race win streak, was just behind Winslow Homer on the outside and had the entire stretch to run down leader under Jeremy Rose. But Winslow Homer was not to be denied as he hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front.
The final time over a fast track was 1:35.97. Jackson Bend was 3 1/4 lengths in front of third-place William's Kitten.
"I was hoping that somewhere along the line things would open up because I felt like I had a lot of horse," Dominguez said. "And when the hole barely opened up, he squeezed through horses, and did it very professionally. When he made the lead, he started to come back to me so I had to encourage him a little to keep going, but he’s a professional and he’s just improving tremendously with each race.”
Sent ot odds of 7-2, Winslow Homer paid $9.60, $4.60, and $3.60. The exacta (6-9) paid $32.20 and the trifecta (6-9-50 was $$125.60 for $1.
"We’ll look ahead now to the Fountain of Youth (gr. II, Feb. 20) if all goes well," Dutrow said. "He’s actually bred for two turns. The goal is the Kentucky Derby.”
Thank U Philippe, who ran six furlongs in 1:09.66, finished fourth, followed by Homeboykris, Aikenite, Wild Lime, Litigation Risk, and Piscitelli.