Irish War Cry stuns Kentucky Derby favourite in Holy Bull
Report: USA, Saturday
Gulfstream Park: Holy Bull Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f | dirt | 3yo
The Kentucky Derby picture was shaken up when Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Classic Empire could finish only third on his seasonal debut in the Holy Bull behind all-the-way winner Irish War Cry (Graham Motion/Joel Rosario).
The winner is a son of Curlin who was extending his unbeaten record to three after twice scoring in lesser company at Laurel.
Sent off just short of 9-2, Irish War Cry was handed an easy lead and proceeded to lope around the Gulfstream oval before drawing away in the stretch for an easy victory by nearly four lengths.
"You know, he's a pretty classy horse," said winning trainer Graham Motion, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2011 with Animal Kingdom.
"He was so classy today and he handled everything so well. I had a feeling we'd end up on the lead and I was feeling pretty good at the quarter pole. It's pretty exciting – there's nothing like being involved in these three-year-old races."
After tracking the pace three wide, the 1-2 favourite Classic Empire had nothing to offer in the stretch and finished a tame third, five lengths behind runner-up Gunnevera.
"He had no excuse, none whatsoever," said trainer Mark Casse. "He gets a little hot, maybe hotter than normal today, but I don't know. We will regroup."
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