Giant Game Set for 2022 Debut in Holy Bull
Simplification Ready for Ground Game Saturday
Tiz the Bomb Back to Dirt for Holy Bull
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stable LLC’s Giant Game is set to make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday’s $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park a bigger and, hopefully, better racehorse.
“Like we say every year, this is the time for the 2-year-olds to turn into men and grow up,” trainer Dale Romans said. “I think he’s made a good turn. He had a little freshener. He had a few weeks off after the Breeders’ Cup and has gone right back in training.”
If Giant Game, who finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in only his third career start, returns to action just a little bit better Saturday, the son of Giant’s Causeway should be expected to be a major factor in the 1 1/16-mile prep on the Road to the Curlin Florida Derby (G1).
“He’s gotten a lot thicker. He’s not the tallest horse in the world. He’s a more racier Giant’s Causeway than you usually see. He has started to thicken up and start to look like the rest of them,” Romans said.
“I think this is the best place to winter to make them good horses later. That’s what I’m seeing from him. He’s looking good, feeling good. This warm salty air is good for him.”
Giant Game made a late run to finish third in his Sept. 18 six-furlong debut at Churchill Downs before stretching out to 1 1/16 miles to graduate going away by three lengths at Keeneland next time out. The performance encouraged Romans to ship him to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup.
“I put my neck on the line there, coming off a maiden race at Keeneland. But when you have a horse with his pedigree, looks like him, acts like him, and runs like he did, you expect him to perform at the highest level, so you put them in the highest-level races,” Romans said.
Leading jockey Luis Saez will ride Giant Game for the first time in the Holy Bull
Simplification Ready for Ground Game in Saturday
Tami Bobo’s Simplification stretched out to a mile for his stakes debut in the Jan. 1 Mucho Macho Man, and the Antonio Sano-trained colt rolled to a four-length front-running victory without taking a deep breath.
The 3-year-old son of Not This Time broke his maiden at six furlongs by 16 ¾ lengths in 1:09.81 on the front end in his second career start, but his trainer was convinced that he wanted more ground after having a rough go of things in his next start at six furlongs. After breaking from the rail, he set a pressured early pace and finished third behind talented sprinter Of a Revolution, a prominent entrant in Saturday’s $100,000 Claiborne Swale (G3).
“After the race before the Mucho Macho Man, I started training him for long races. I think that more distance is better for my horse,” Sano said. “I gave him open gallops to make him strong for the Mucho Macho Man, and after the Mucho Macho Man, I continued to do the same thing.”
Sano saddled Gunnevera for a second-place finish in the 2017 Holy Bull before his last-to-first 5 ¾-length victory in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in his next start.
“They are different horses. Gunnevera had only one pace and made one run,” Sano said. “This horse can relax or can go to the front. You can put the horse wherever you want him.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who rode the $5.5 million-earning Gunnevera in the Fountain of Youth, has the return call aboard Simplification.
Tiz the Bomb Back to Dirt for Holy Bull
Phoenix Thoroughbreds LTD’s Tiz the Bomb has shown himself to be a talented colt on turf, but trainer Kenny McPeek isn’t quite ready to classify him as a turf horse just yet.
The son of Hit It a Bomb is coming off a late-closing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar that followed a victory in the Bourbon (G2) at Keeneland, but he also broke his maiden on dirt in an off-the-turf race at Ellis Park by 14 ¼ lengths.
“I think a good horse can do that. He’s out of a Tiznow mare and his sire’s line is War Front. I don’t think you have to pigeonhole him as a turf horse,” McPeek said. “The only reason he ran turf last fall was because we had some other 2-year-olds that were ready scheduled for races, and I wanted to keep them separated. This time it’s his chance to show how good he is.”
McPeek expressed confidence in his colt’s chances in the Holy Bull, the first graded stakes for 3-year-olds on the Road to the Curlin Florida Derby (G1).
“He’s probably going to show a little more pace in this race and we’re going to let him run free and do his thing. He’s very ratable,” McPeek said. “When he broke his maiden at a mile at Ellis, he ran off and won by 14 lengths. I don’t have that expectation for this race, but I do expect him to run good.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. will travel from Fair Grounds for the Holy Bull.