Isabele de Tomaso’s homebred Irish War Cry entered the G2 Holy Bull with just two starts, though he’d won both of them. He shot to the lead from the starting gate and refused to give way, crossing the wire nearly four lengths in front of the late-running Gunnevera and the Eclipse Award-winning Classic Empire. A sophomore son of Curlin, Irish War Cry was ridden to victory by Joel Rosario for Graham Motion. The colt earned his first 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with the Holy Bull win, recording a final time of 1:42.52 for 1 1/16 miles over Gulfstream’s fast main track.
“He’s a very classy horse,” said Motion. “All I told Joel was just ‘make sure you keep him settled,’ and I kind of had a feeling we’d end up on the lead.”
Classic Empire was quite worked up before the break, backing away from the gate several times and demonstrating a good deal of lather across the front half of his body. Out of the gate, first call went to Talk Logisitics, but the half-step slow Irish War Cry immediately overcame that rival and took the lead heading into the first turn. Classic Empire appeared well within himself in third, three-wide on the track as the field entered the backstretch. Dual graded stakes winner Gunnevera was in a good position along the rail in fourth.
After an opening fractions of :24.14, Irish War Cry drafted a bit wide entering the backstretch, finally appearing to settle a bit under Rosario after a half in :47.92. Classic Empire was thus carried very wide into the center of the track, but he started to wind up on the outside of Talk Logisitcs approaching the far turn. Gunnevera started rolling along the inside rail at the three-eighths pole.
Gunnevera got check off heels when trying to slip through along the rail, forcing him to take the long route around the outside. Meanwhile, Classic Empire put away Talk Logistics, but could not cut into the lead of Irish War Cry.
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