Kentucky Derby Trail: Audible Takes the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park

Kentucky Derby Trail: Audible Takes the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park

Kentucky Derby Trail: Audible Takes the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park

Audible (Into Mischief) registered a resounding victory in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, stamping himself as a prime prospect on the Road to the Florida Derby (G1) and the Triple Crown.

Making his stakes debut in the 29th running of the Holy Bull, which headlined a 12-race program offering five stakes for 3-year-olds, Audible earned 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with his 5 ½-length triumph over Free Drop Billy.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Audible ($8.40) entered the 1 1/16-mile Triple Crown prep off three starts, two against fellow New York-bred rivals. After finishing third in his Sept. 27 debut at Belmont, Audible graduated against state-bred company Nov. 15 at Aqueduct before going on to win an open optional claiming allowance Dec. 6. His two wins came at the one-turn mile distance.

“We felt like he wanted more ground and he kind of showed that in his first race when he didn’t get away real quickly and retreated when the dirt hit him in the face and then rallied with a pretty strong effort,” Pletcher said. “Then he came back and won two pretty impressive races after that, so we felt like more distance was definitely what he was looking for.”

In his first start around two turns, Audible broke alertly under jockey Javier Castellano to closely stalk the pace set by 30-1 longshot Master Manipulator, who set fractions of 23.59 (seconds), 47.14 into the far turn before tiring. Audible took over the lead on the turn leaving the backstretch and was challenged by Free Drop Billy into the stretch before drawing away to a commanding and comfortable margin of victory in 1:41.92.

“It’s only a mile and sixteenths today, but the way he galloped out was amazing,” Castellano said. “I look forward to the next race.”

Free Drop Billy finished second under Luis Saez, 7 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Tiz Mischief and jockey Robby Albarado.

“He ran hard. He tried hard. The winner was tough,” Saez said. “Maybe after the layoff he got a little tired, but he tried. I think he’ll be ready for his next start.”

Enticed, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario, finished another 1 ½ lengths back in fourth after saving round behind the pacesetters and failing to offer a stretch kick.

“I got a good trip. He just didn’t give me a run,” Rosario said.

Audible, who was purchased for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale for 2-year-olds in training at Gulfstream Park last March, had been scheduled to run in a stakes for New York-breds that was cancelled due to poor weather in New York. The decision was made to ship the colt owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing Stable to Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs training base earlier than scheduled.

“Maybe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The original plan was to run him in the New York-bred stake and then bring him down, but when all the bad weather hit, we came up with a different strategy and it seemed to work out well today.”

The next stop on Gulfstream Park’s Road to the March 31 $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby is the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 3.

“I think the question now is do you run him two more times or one more time, and we’ll let him tell us kind of how he bounces out of this,” said Pletcher, who saddled Always Dreaming for victories in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby last year. “He’s a very kind horse to train, very easy on himself in the morning. I love the way he came over here and handled everything. He was perfect in the paddock, post parade, gate – all those little intangibles that really help with horses that are pointing for big days.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher (Audible): “We actually brought him down a little bit later because we were entered in the New York-bred stake, and then all the bad weather hit in New York and it got delayed and carried over. Elliott Walden said, ‘Why don’t we just take him down to Florida and see how he trains and go from there.’ Maybe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The original plan was to run him in the New York-bred stake and then bring him down but when all the bad weather hit we came up with a different strategy and it seemed to work out well today.”

“We felt like he wanted more ground and he kind of showed that in his first race when he didn’t get away real quickly and retreated when the dirt hit him in the face and then rallied with a pretty strong effort. Then he came back and won two pretty impressive races after that, so we felt like more distance was definitely what he was looking for.”

“He really kicked. Javier said he kept him to task because he was kind of looking around a little bit and saw the tire marks and he didn’t want him to make a mistake. He really accelerated. The final time was quite good.”

“I don’t think he minds a little bit of moisture in the track, and the little bit of rain we had kind of had it nice and tight, but it wasn’t producing super-fast times on the day.”

“I think the question now is do you run him two more times or one more time and we’ll let him tell us kind of how he bounces out of this. He’s a very kind horse to train, very easy on himself in the morning. I love the way he came over here and handled everything. He was perfect in the paddock, post parade, gate – all those little intangibles that really help with horses that are pointing for big days.”

“We felt like we had talent and we were trying to decide which direction to go. We knew we wanted to get him down here, especially when the weather got bad mainly to have a more reliable training schedule. All of that went smoothly. He shipped in great, he trained really well when he got here so it kind of made it an easy decision that this was an easy race to target.”

Javier Castellano (Audible): I love the way he did it today, compared to our last race, because his last race he was still developing and bit laid back. I really had to ride him last time out and he’d give it to you. Today he was sharp and had tactical speed in the race and we could move and he’d give me everything I asked of him. I love these kinds of horses, you don’t get in trouble with them, where you can move quick and can put them in a good position. I love the way he did it today. I think Todd did a great job developing this horse and to win the way he did today is very impressive.”

“It’s only a mile and sixteenth today, but the way he galloped out was amazing. I look forward to the next race.”

Jockey Luis Saez (Free Drop Billy, 2nd): “He ran hard. He tried hard. The winner was tough. Maybe after the layoff he got a little tired, but he tried. I think he’ll be ready for his next start.”

Jockey Robby Albarado (Tiz Mischief, 3rd): “It was hard making up any ground on the track. I think he’ll get a lot out of the race.”

Jockey Joel Rosario (Enticed): “I got a good trip. He just didn’t give me a run.”

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Shayne Heffernan Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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