By Jim Freer
Classic Empire, last year’s juvenile champion, heads the nine-horse field for Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (Grade 2) at Gulfstream Park.
The Holy Bull is 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds. It is the 12th and final race on Saturday’s card, with scheduled post of 5:35 p.m.
It is one of five stakes races on Saturday’s Gulfstream card. We will be on-site at Gulfstream and will have coverage on our blog.
Conditions are fast and firm. The Weather Channel forecast is for just a five percent chance of rain during racing hours.
Classic Empire (photo on home page) won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., and was later voted the Eclipse Award as the champion 2-year-old male of 2016.
Classic Empire, a son of Pioneer of the Nile, drew post 3 for the Holy Bull. Regular jockey Julien Leparoux has the mount on Classic Empire, who is trained by Mark Casse and owned by John Oxley.
Gunnevera, Fact Finding and Irish War Cry are other 2016 stakes winners in the Holy Bull.
The Holy Bull winner will earn ten qualifying points for a spot in the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) on May 6. The second, third and fourth place finishers in the Holy Bull will earn four, two and one Kentucky Derby points re
The other four Saturday stakes races are:
*$100,000 Dania Beach — one mile turf, 3-YO; fourth race, scheduled post 1:30 p.m.
*$200,000 Swale (Grade 2)—7 furlongs dirt, 3-YO, fifth race, scheduled post 2:00 p.m. *$200,000 Forward Gal (Grade 2) – 7 furlongs dirt, 3-YO fillies; 6th race, scheduled post 2:30 p.m.
$100,000 Sweetest Chant (Grade 3) – one mile turf, 3-YO fillies; 11th race, scheduled post 5:05 p.m.