China Horse Club International, SF Racing and WinStar Farm’s Audible ran right into the South Florida Kentucky Derby (GI) picture with an impressive 5 ½-length romp in the $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (GII) at Gulfstream Park under Javier Castellano. In doing so, the son of Into Mischief, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, earned 10 points toward making the gate in Louisville on the first Saturday in May and emerged as one of the better sophomores headed toward the Triple Crown trail based in the Sunshine State this winter.
At odds of more than 3-1, Audible paid $8.40, $4.40 and $3.20. Free Drop Billy, at odds of nearly 7-2, completed the $37.80 exacta for $2 and was good for $4.40 and $3. Tiz Mischief was another 7 ¾ lengths back in third and paid $3 at 3-1. The $1 trifecta paid $64.20.
Enticed, as the 9-5 favorite, finished fourth and was followed by Pony Up, Tip Sheet, Bandito, Master Manipulator and Aequor. Hollywood Star and Mississippi were withdrawn.
From the gate, Master Manipulator sped right to the front and with Audible and Aequor stalking to his outside, set the pace in splits of :23.59 and :47.14 for the first half of a mile. By the time Castellano guided Audible around the far bend, he had reached the front and posted the six-furlong split in 1:12. The race was basically over from there as he drew away with ease to the wire. After posting a mile in 1:34.89, he stopped the clock in 1:41.92.
Audible, who was bred in New York by Oak Bluff Stables and was purchased by his current connections for $500,000 as a Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old in training a year ago. He earned $208,320 for his initial graded stakes score to bring his bankroll to $287,720 and his career line now stands at 4-3-0-1. His previous two wins came in maiden and allowance company in New York.
“We actually brought him down a little bit later because we were entered in the New York-bred stake, and then all the bad weather hit in New York and it got delayed and carried over,” Pletcher said, “(WinStar’s) Elliott Walden said, ‘Why don’t we just take him down to Florida and see how he trains and go from there.’ Maybe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.”
“We felt like he wanted more ground and he kind of showed that in his first race when he didn’t get away real quickly and retreated when the dirt hit him in the face and then rallied with a pretty strong effort. Then he came back and won two pretty impressive races after that, so we felt like more distance was definitely what he was looking for.
“I think the question now is do you run him two more times or one more time and we’ll let him tell us kind of how he bounces out of this. He’s a very kind horse to train, very easy on himself in the morning. I love the way he came over here and handled everything. He was perfect in the paddock, post parade, gate — all those little intangibles that really help with horses that are pointing for big days.”
Hall of Fame jockey Castellano, who was aboard the colt in his last start, a 9 ¾-length win in an Aqueduct allowance in December, was equally pleased with Audible’s Holy Bull performance.
“I love the way he did it today, compared to our last race, because his last race he was still developing and bit laid back,” Castellano said. “I really had to ride him last time out and he’d give it to you. Today he was sharp and had tactical speed in the race and we could move and he’d give me everything I asked of him. I love these kinds of horses, you don’t get in trouble with them, where you can move quick and can put them in a good position. I love the way he did it today. I think Todd did a great job developing this horse and to win the way he did today is very impressive.
“It’s only a mile and sixteenth today, but the way he galloped out was amazing. I look forward to the next race.”