By Jim Freer
Irish War Cry took an early lead and rolled to victory by 3 3/4 lengths over Gunnevera in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (Grade 2) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
Irish War Cry (photo on home page), a New Jersey-bred son of Curlin, won the 1 1/16 mile dirt stakes in 1:42.52 on the track listed as fast.
Classic Empire, the 1-2 favorite, finished third–another five lengths back. Classic Empire won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1) at Santa Anita.
On Saturday, he was sweating noticeably in the walking ring and was reluctant to go into the gate.
At 4-1, Irish War Cry was the third betting choice in the seven-horse field. It was his third win in three career starts,
Joel Rosario rode Irish War Cry for trainer Graham Motion. Irish War Cry was bred and is owned by Isabelle de Tomaso.
The victory gave Irish War Cry his first ten points toward a possible spot in the Kentucky Derby that will be run May 6.
Gulfstream will have two more Kentucky Derby points qualifying races. The $400,000 Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) will be 1 1/16 miles on March 4. The $1 million Florida Derby (Grade 1) will be 1 1/8 miles on April 1.
In the winner’s circle, Motion was asked about those races as possible targets.
He said: “I really haven’t gotten beyond today. I don’t know if I want to run in every race. It will be hard enough to run back in one of them, obviously, but we’ll figure it out.”
5 -IRISH WAR CRY 10.80 4.00 2.20
1 -GUNNEVERA 4.00 2.10
3 -CLASSIC EMPIRE 2.10
$2 EXACTA 5-1 PAID $36.00; $1 TRIFECTA 5-1-3 PAID $32.50; 10 CENT SUPERFECTA 5-1-3-4 PAID $7.86; $1 SUPER HIGH FIVE 5-1-3-4-8 PAID $183.70.
–Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Park.