Holy Bull preview

by TCI 3 years ago

Jon & Joel kick off the sixth season of TCI with a preview of Saturday’s Holy Bull Stakes, and briefly catch up on the current 3-year-old picture.

Watch it. Comment.


  • JR

    Hi Joel and Jon,
    Welcome back strangers, I have missed you. How about CC sweeping the awards, I was a happy chappy on that one. The one thing that bothers me the most now about CC, is that Perry Martin wants to send him to Dubai. Have a friend who was there when Curlin won. He said going to Dubai, really has negative effect on them. It takes them some time to recover. If this years BC is their goal, perhaps they should stay home or hit Ascot at the most. My friend said if he goes he will not prevail in the BC.

    Joel, good to have you back so I have someone to bombard with questions.
    Take Care my friend.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey JR!

      Glad to be getting back into the groove. We have some big plans we hope will come together this year. Speaking of big, the older horse division may be as competitive as it’s been in a long time when you consider all of the talent coming back. Retirement didn’t take many, so it should make for a potentially special year for the older handicap horses and the Classic division.

      I am very interested to see how Chrome fits within that division in 2015. He always struck me as a horse with a frame to develop as an even better older horse than he was a 3yo. You would expect most horses to do that, however many obviously improve more than others. He needs to get better IMO, because even though he won Horse of the Year, I am still disappointed he was not able to get to the leaders in the Breeders’ Cup a year ago. I understand there was a significant speed biases at SA, but I expected to see more when he took aim inside the 1/8th pole.

      A part of me wonders if he’s over-extended a bit going beyond 1 1/8 miles, judging by how flat he was in the Belmont and BC Classic. I think he’s far more explosive from 8-9 furlongs. So saying that, I would wonder how big of a contender he’ll be in the Dubai World Cup, which should see a TREMENDOUS field of American horses now that has switched back to dirt with $10 million up for grabs.

      It’s hard to blame any owner for taking the Sheikh up on a free trip to Dubai and royal treatment to try and run for that kind of purse money in March. It’s significant, both financially and for the experience of it. So I expect several American horses to ship over this year. I do agree that most need some time coming back to the States from that trip. I do not know why that is, but we’ve certainly seen that there’s something to it. Chrome seems like a hearty horse who has been through long campaigns and the Triple Crown grind, and he seems no worse for the wear. So perhaps he’s the kind that can quickly overcome a trip to Dubai. Let’s hope so JR!

  • JR

    Hey Joel, my friend DK said, it’s one thing if you take them over for the racing season, it’s another to bring them for the one race and leave. Sets them way back.
    I’ll be watching Feb 7th at SA, now that should be a race. I saw CC last work, and Art was very pleased. I agree the 4 yrs and up should be a good season. PM is in training I saw, I sure hope he stays well. Did they ever find out what was wrong with American Pharaoh? We know he has a tail issue:) Bless his heart.

    Joel, the Belmont was tough, he handled the Derby quite nice. However, I agree he might be real dangerous at shorter distances. We will see shortly.
    So good to have you back, can you tell me about your big plans, or are they a big secret?

    I sent DK (my mentor) your link he lives in Cayman and to say he is a big racing fan would be an understatement. He enjoys listening to your slant on things. I told him you were very different than other analysts. Oh by the way, Danza heard he is in training, be nice to see him this year, last year was not easy on him. Have you heard anything?

    Well I’ll stop for now and give you a break.
    Take Care

    • Joel Cunningham


      Yes, the travel now days isn’t all that bad, but the climate in the UAE must be difficult for horses to adapt. American Pharoah was determined to have incurred a deep foot bruise that made him “off” just enough not to take the chance of running him at the end of his 2yo season. By all accounts, he’s 100% and back in training…the San Felipe in early March is the initial target.

      The plans maybe aren’t that big haha. But we hope to have more news soon. We’re into Year 6 of TCI and always looking for ways to grow it and stay fresh. If you’re not moving forwards then you’re moving backwards, so we’re looking into some things that we hope can help keep us on a forward track. 🙂

      Danza was one of last year’s 3yos that I really wanted to see as a 4yo because I think he has a real chance to be a top handicap horse. All reports were that he was training well, but then the worktab went cold now for over a month. That’s obviously a terrible sign. I will look into it and report if I know of anything.

      Thanks for the kind words, we really look forward to this season. -JC

  • Hi Joel – Congrats on your 6th yr. anniv. at TCI! Here’s my current top 5. #1 – Texas Red – if he can transfer his 2yr. old form, specifically his stellar race in the BC Juvenile, to his 3 yr. old form, with his pedigree, he seems very tough. #2 Imperia – Seems to have a good pedigree and is in good hands with K. McLaughlin. His Connections seem to be pointing him to the Risen Star for his 3 yr. old debut. El Kabier’s performance has flattered Imperia. Imperia ran a strong 2nd at CD in his last race behind El Kabier. He was gobbling up ground late. Imperia is my live longshot to win the KY Derby. #3 Firing Line – Ran a strong 2nd behind heavy Favorite Dortmund in his last race. He seems to have a good pedigree. #4 Carpe Diem – Great pedigree. Ran a solid 2nd in the BC Juvenile. He was very wide in the stretch and closed strongly. Would love to see him make the FOY stakes in Feb. at Gulfstream. #5 Dortmund – not sure how good he would be at 1 1/4, although very talented. Joel – what do you think of Imperia and Firing Line? Great to have you and Jon back! Looking forward to the yr. long chats on the Derby Trail, then the Breeders Cup at Keeneland this year.

    • Joel Cunningham

      Hey JoeP!

      Great initial list. I am still tweaking mine, but it will include many of yours. Gorgeous Bird won well IMO, and I’m anxious to see him get around two turns. Looks like a big colt with a high head carriage and body posture when he runs. Looks like a cruiser to me..perhaps he’ll want to cruise along in a forwardly-placed position going the softer two-turn factions and have that style similar to Graydar, Cross Traffic, and many of the good Unbridled’s Songs. I am still not 100% convinced he’s a route horse until I see it, even though he’s from that Bird Town family that’s rich in stamina. The obvious next spot will be either the Fountain of Youth or Tampa Bay Derby. I would not be surprised to see Wilkes ship to Tampa, which he’s done quite a bit in the past.

      I like Imperia. I have always thought that McLaughlin maybe liked Frosted a tad more on dirt by the way the two were campaigned late last year, but I could have had a bad read on that. I still need to see Imperia run well on other dirt tracks to be convinced that’s what he wants to do. I have noticed through the years that CD’s main track is one of the friendliest to “turf” horses, so I will need to see more from Imperia to believe he’s a genuine top dirt prospect. But I agree he’s immensely talented with a big upside.

      I do like Firing Line quite a bit, which you’ll see in the first TCI Top 10. He’s my kind of horse. I am not sure by his pedigree how far he wants to go, but he’s that well-balanced, classy-looking, medium-sized colt that is very efficient in his stride and the way he travels. Those types have had huge success in the classics, and he fits the mold. He’s also progressive and clearly has improved with distance. I thought he was still lacking experience in the Los Al Futurity and you could see that in the stretch IMO. I think he’s a very good prospect and needs to be on everybody’s radar, because he really projects as well as any to continue to show his improvement this late-winter into the spring. I’m intrigued by Firing Line as much as any of the California 3yos, and can’t wait to see if he’s progressed in the Robert Lewis.

Take our site on the go!
Scan with your smart phone.