Holy Bull proves mettle in Mile

May 31, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

The fleet rather than flat-footed Holy Bull showed up at Belmont Park yesterday and outran nine older horses on his way to a front-running 5 1/2 -length victory over Cherokee Run in the $500,000 Metropolitan Mile Handicap.

Holy Bull's time for the mile, 1 minute, 33 4/5 seconds, ties Star Choice for the third fastest clocking in 101 runnings of the Met Mile, although five horses have previously raced the distance in 1:33 3/5 seconds. The record is held by Conquista dor Cielo, the 1982 winner, who won in 1:33.

The Belmont Stakes in 12 days may be the next stop for the charismatic gray 3-year-old, who failed to break on top and finished 12th as the Kentucky Derby favorite.

In the Derby, Holy Bull's jockey, Mike Smith, said the horse broke "flat-footed" and "every step he took seemed to be a bad one."

However, Smith said that a refreshed Holy Bull "really went and broke well [yesterday], and every time I asked him to pick it up, he did."

The horse's owner-trainer Jimmy Croll said there will be pressure now to run in the Belmont Stakes.

"I don't want to say right now what I'm going to do," Croll said. "It's very shaky. I know I'll have a lot of pressure. I'll take a few days and weigh the variables. I guess what I have to do now is handicap the rest of the Belmont horses."

Holy Bull was the first of six favorites to score in the initial National Best Seven wager, which drew a disappointing national betting pool of $371,075.50.

In the second leg of the Best Seven at Pimlico Race Course, 6-5 favorite Irish Forever won by a head over Promiseville in the Hilltop Stakes. Had Promiseville changed leads in the stretch run, she might have won.

Still trainer Billy Boniface was pleased with Irish Forever's effort after she broke slow and came from last place in the six-horse field to win.

"She might have needed this race," Boniface said about the horse who he shipped to England last month to run in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket Race Course.

"She had to spend some time in quarantine when she returned and missed some time training," Boniface added. "I think today's race will set her up super for her next start."

Subsequent winners of the Best of Seven races were Numerically (Great Lakes Handicap at Thistledown Race Course), Brother Brown (Washington Park Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse), Empire Pool (Barksdale Handicap at Louisiana Downs), Final Sunrise (Memorial Day Handicap at Calder Race Course) and Delta Wolf (Ak-Sar-Ben Handicap at Ak-Sar-Ben Race Course).

All of these horses were favorites except Final Sunrise, who was the second choice in the Calder race. That stakes scratched down to a four-horse field after a switch from grass to the main track because of rain.

Pimlico-based Valley Crossing finished fourth in the Washington Park Handicap.

The winning Best Seven numbers were: 6-1-5-5-7-7-6. There were 919 perfect tickets. The payoff for a 50-cent bet was $190.70.

There were 10,758 consolation tickets, those with six of the seven winners. The payoff on a 50-cent consolation ticket is $7.75.

The Jackpot carry-over for the next Best Seven on Saturday is $19,481.40.

At Pimlico, few monitors showed the entire Best Seven one-hour television program and audio was interrupted for about a half hour, lessening enjoyment of the inaugural card.

There was about a 2 1/2 -hour delay after the last Best Seven race was over before the payoff was announced from the national wagering headquarters at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa.

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