Holy Bull: Pletcher should have Fierceness ready to defend crown

Rowan Ward
By , Updated on: Jan 30, 2024 07:00 PM
Holy Bull: Pletcher should have Fierceness ready to defend crown

The Gulfstream Park spur of the Kentucky Derby trail is one of the most exciting horse racing betting events of the year, and it gets underway Saturday, February 3 with the $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3)! In addition to the rich purse, the 1 1/16-mile race offers 20-10-6-4-2 Road to the Kentucky Derby points to the top five finishers. These won’t earn the winner an automatic bid, but they put horses who run well on the right track to build a great Kentucky Derby resume.

The South Florida prep races for the Derby perennially produce important horses, and some recent Holy Bull winners have emerged among the best in the sport. 2020 winner Tiz the Law went on to win both the Belmont (G1) and the Travers (G1), while 2022 winner White Abarrio won the Florida Derby (G1) at age three and then the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at four.

Fierceness To win the Holy Bull

The likely favorite in the 2024 Holy Bull is Fierceness, last year’s champion juvenile who makes his three-year-old debut here. Keep reading to find out whether anyone can topple him, and also to find out the best places to bet the Holy Bull Stakes online!

Holy Bull Stakes Field

This is the official field for the 2024 Holy Bull Stakes including draw numbers, trainers, and jockeys:

  1. Hades (Joseph Orseno/Paco Lopez)
  2. Inveigled (Jane Cibelli/Irad Ortiz, Jr.)
  3. Otello (Christophe Clement/Luis Saez)
  4. Dancing Groom (Antonio Sano/Junior Alvarado)
  5. No More Time (Jose D’Angelo/Jose Ortiz)
  6. Domestic Product (Chad Brown/Tyler Gaffalione)
  7. Fierceness (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez)
  8. Sea Streak (Eddie Owens/Luca Panici)

Closer to race day, Gulfstream will release morning-line odds on the race. They can be a useful guide for who may be cold or hot on the board, but they are no guarantee of an on-track price. Instead, if you bet on track, the odds will shift all the way until post time, meaning an overlay you see early may not actually old.

There is a better way: playing the Holy Bull Stakes online. If you bet horse racing at an online sportsbook, you can get fixed-odds wagering on major races. That means, if you see an overlay you lock it in just by placing your bet. Then, you know exactly what you’ll get when your horse wins the race.

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Holy Bull Stakes Online Betting

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Every recommended site offers the foundations of a good experience: real Las Vegas odds, smooth user interfaces, and trusted deposits and payouts. Each site also offers great bonuses, better than anything you’ll find at the track. Take a few minutes now to find out which site offers the best bonuses and incentives for your betting style, and boost your bankroll by hundreds or even thousands of dollars just by betting the races!

Holy Bull Stakes Handicapping

Now it’s time for the even more fun part: handicapping the race and figuring out the best horses to in lude in your bets. These are the key betting horses for the 2024 Holy Bull Stakes:

Holy Bull Stakes Top Contender

Fierceness will take most of the attention in the Holy Bull, but his form makes it very clear why. In his two good races as a two-year-old, he was far faster than any of the races the rest of the runners have been able to muster up. And, even though he had the one stinker in the Champagne (G1), that came after a bad start. With dry footing and a clean near-outside gate, the odds are good that Fierceness will start well.

Fierceness To win the Holy Bull

He is the only horse in the field to win at 1 1/16 miles, and that score was his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile rout. His forward running style should play well at Gulfstream, his draw should give him a clean outside pressing trip if someone outguns him to the lead, and trainer Todd Pletcher does strongly both at Gulfstream and with horses coming in off the layoff.

Holy Bull Stakes Exotics Horses

The most likely candidate to round out an exacta underneath Fierceness is Domestic Product. Though sire Practical Joke was more of a miler, he has some route pedigree underneath and his own maiden win came at 1 ⅛ miles – longer than the Holy Bull trip. With tactical speed and a trainer whose runners tend to do their best work going long, he has plenty of upside.

Domestic Product To win the Holy Bull

Otello, winner of the one-mile Mucho Macho Man over this course, also fits in exacta plays. Though he has yet to try two turns, his sire and dam were both graded-stakes horses at two turns: Curlin and Isabella Sings. He should be able to lay a length or two off the pace and keep on running; usurping Fierceness would be a surprise, but keeping on well for place would not be.

For deeper exotics like trifectas and superfectas, put Dancing Groom into the picture. His win over the one-mile trip (which is most of two turns, as the race begins with a chute into the first turn) is a positive. And, though he disappointed in the Kentucky Jockey Club, he has been working regularly toward his return and the addition of blinkers is a positive change for good local trainer Antonio Sano.

Free Holy Bull Stakes Picks

You know who to play, so now it’s time to log into your online betting account and bet the 2024 Holy Bull Stakes online. These are our top betting recommendations for the race:

  • $20 to win - #7 Fierceness
  • $1 exacta key - #7 Fierceness over #3 Otello, #6 Domestic Product
  • $0.50 trifecta key - #7 Fierceness over #3 Otello, #4 Dancing Groom, #6 Domestic Product
  • $0.20 superfecta key - #7 Fierceness over #3 Otello, #4 Dancing Groom, #6 Domestic Product

Meet the author

Rowan Ward

Rowan has been a regular at the Chicago tracks for over a decade and has also been to some of the biggest racing events including the Breeders' Cup, Kentucky Derby, and Woodbine Mile. Since then their writing has appeared in their own blog and across the horse racing in...

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