TimeformUS Road to the Derby: Greatest Honour has two-turn experience advantage in Holy Bull

Gulfstream | Race 11 | Post Time 4:50 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs | Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up

While he’s listed as the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, I would imagine that impressive debut winner #6 Prime Factor will go favored in this Grade 3 Holy Bull. This son of Quality Road turned many heads when he opened up under wraps to win by nearly nine lengths first time out. The 107 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned for that performance makes him a player against this field, and he’s bred to handle added ground, hailing from the extended female family of Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly.

I just have two problems with Prime Factor. First, his debut performance came over a track that is color-coded red in TimeformUS PPs, indicating a strong speed bias. And second, Todd Pletcher has very poor numbers with this move. Over the past five years, he is 2 for 26 (8%, $0.51 ROI) with last-out debut winners trying graded stakes on dirt in their second career starts, and he’s lost with his last 20 starters in that sample.

I prefer his main rival #7 Greatest Honour. This horse took a few starts to come around last year, but I like the way he’s continued progressing since Shug McGaughey stretched him out in distance. He was unfortunate to lose a desperate head bob at Aqueduct two back, but he rebounded nicely last time going this distance at Gulfstream. He had some trouble heading around the clubhouse turn of that race, but nevertheless launched a sustained rally from far back to get up for the victory. As long as he continues on this trajectory, I think he can take the necessary step forward to beat this field, and he figures to get at least an honest pace to close into.

I’m not a big fan of the third choice on the morning line, #8 Sittin On Go. Horses just haven’t run back to those impressive speed figures they earned in the Iroquois, and he’s hard to endorse based on his last two efforts. I’d rather use a horse like #3 Papetu underneath. He stayed on well to be second in the Mucho Macho Man last time and wouldn’t need to improve much on that 109 TimeformUS Speed Figure to hit the board here.

THE PLAY

Win: 7

Exacta: 7 with 3,6,8

Trifecta: 6,7 with 6,7 with 3,4,8,9

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