Named for the 1994 United States Thoroughbred Horse of the Year, the Holy Bull Stakes is a Grade 2 race for horses age three, and is held every January at Gulfstream Park in Hallendale Beach, Florida. As part of the Kentucky Derby qualification series, the Holy Bull is run at a distance of 1 1/16 miles on the dirt course, and offers a total purse of $350,000, along with points toward a starting spot in the Derby gate. The Holy Bull is the first of three major stakes races for three-year-old horses at Gulfstream, preceding the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and the G1 Florida Derby. The 2006 winner, Barbaro, was the most recent winner to then take the Derby, while 2013 winner, Itsmyluckyday, finished second in the Preakness Stakes.

Holy Bull Stakes Picks

The Holy Bull Stakes is an early season preview of some of this year’s challengers for a Triple Crown, and you can make your Holy Bull Stakes picks through one of these recommeneded online racebooks if you can’t be therein person.

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Holy Bull Stakes Results

Given the early season nature of the race, most three-year-olds coming into the Holy Bull don’t have a lot of races on their resume, and in some cases make their season debut in the race. Of the last three Holy Bull races, two of the three winners had only three previous lifetime starts, and all three were making their season debut in the race, coming off 2-3 month layoffs from their previous race.

All of the winners had made a previous start in a graded-stakes race, and two of the three had won the G2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct in early November. None of the winners had made a previous start at Gulfstream, and all three had done their early career racing in New York state, either at Aqueduct, Belmont Park or Saratoga.  

How To Win Holy Bull Stakes Bets

Some horses go into their three-year-old campaign as serious contenders to win big graded-stakes races, and others are just pretenders who will fade quickly from the stakes ranks after failing to make an impression in the early season stakes. The Holy Bull has most recently been a race that quickly demonstrates who is who and the betting public favorites have proven out more often than not.

Favorites have won two of the three last versions of the race, while the other was a 2-1 second choice in the betting, with an average Win payout of $5 even on a $2 bet.

What this means is that the Holy Bull is a race where the top choices of the betting public need to be respected, longshot upsets are rare, and to get a good return on investment with Holy Bull Stakes bets, handicappers need to key on one horse to put on top of exactas, trifectas and other exotic bets.