'Shobiz Takes Bow in Holy Bull
Photo: AP/Equi-Photo
Nobiz Like Shobiz and Cornelio Velasquez win the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Elizabeth J. Valando's homebred Nobiz Like Shobiz, highly regarded among this year's Triple Crown hopefuls, got his campaign off to a strong start with a smart win as the odds-on choice in Saturday's $150,000 Holy Bull (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Gulstream Park.

With Cornelio Velasquez guiding Nobiz Like Shobiz to the front early, the son of Albert the Great shook loose of Scat Daddy approaching the quarter pole in the one-turn mile event and rolled to an easy 1 1/2-length victory over outsider Drums of Thunder in spite of lugging in while under urging during the stretch run. Scat Daddy, ridden by John Velazquez, held on for third. The final time was 1:35 2/5.

Away second behind Drums of Thunder, Nobiz Like Shobiz quickly got the lead by a head over Scat Daddy and the pair went head-and-head through fractions of :23 4/5 and :47. Scat Daddy gave way as they completed six furlongs in 1:10 3/5. Drums of Thunder, under Manoel Cruz, took up the chase but didn't seriously threaten while finishing 1 1/4 lengths in front of Scat Daddy.

“He won easily today moving on the lead," Velasquez said. "Every time they came to him, he pulled away. At the three-eighths pole I just let him run on.”

Trained by Barclay Tagg, Nobiz Like Shobiz won the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (gr. II) in his last start Nov. 25 at Aqueduct after skipping the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). The Kentucky-bred bay colt has won three of four starts, his only loss coming in a troubled second-place finish, three-quarters of a length behind Scat Daddy, in the one-mile Champagne (gr. I) at Belmont Park in October. He increased his earnings to $316,400.

“It was exactly what I wanted," Tagg said. "I wanted to get a good race in him without undue stress to win the race. We’ll see how he comes out of this race. Maybe the Fountain of Youth (Mar. 3) will be next.”

The winner, out of the Storm Cat mare Nightstorm, paid $3.40, $3 and $2.10 as the 3-5 choice. The Florida-bred Drums of Thunder, winner of the What A Pleasure at Calder Dec. 2, returned $9.40 and $2.40 as a game runner-up.

“He ran second to a monster today," said Bill Kaplan, conditioner of Drums of Thunder. "I’m tickled to death with the way he ran against these good horses.”

Scat Daddy, who ran fourth in the BC Juvenile for trainer Todd Pletcher in his last start, was $2.10 to show.

"Considering the race he ran, going head-and-head with the favorite," said trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr., who saddled Scat Daddy. "I was happy with his race."

Sam P. finished fourth, followed by Pop Goes the Tiger, Bold Start One of the Best and Dukes Flying Tiger.

(Chart, Equibase)

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