By Dick Downey
Algorithms took aim at the front-running Hansen and ran him down in the stretch to win the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
With the winner's $240,000 portion of the $400,000 purse, Algorithms is now squarely on the Kentucky Derby Trail after his first stakes race and third one overall for trainer Todd Pletcher. Hansen, with substantial earnings from winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November, has a more than secure spot in the Derby starting gate so long he stays healthy.
Hansen took an unchallenged lead from the one-mile chute at Gulfstream. After a short run-up to the timer, he was timed in :23.63 for the first quarter-mile and :45.67 for the half.
With the second quarter-mile in the book in 22 seconds, Hansen began to slow under Ramon Dominguez. With that, Javier Castellano asked the tracking Algorithms to go. He won by five lengths, timed in 1:36.17 for the mile.
My Adonis bumped with Consortium leaving the gate and was either reserved or couldn't keep up in the early going -- but he and Elvis Trujillo were flying late and finished just a half-length behind Hansen. Fort Loudon, Silver Max and Consortium followed at the finish line.
Algorithms paid $7.00, $2.80 and $2.40 as the 5-2 second choice. Hansen was sent off at 4-5 and returned $2.40 and $2.10. My Adonis' show money was $4.00.
Algorithms was a $170,000 Keeenland September 2010 purchase by Jack Wolf's Starlight Racing. Today's win made him three-for-three -- his debut came on June 3 at Belmont Park, and he was sidelined until returning to racing at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 16.
Bred in Kentucky by Oakbrook Farm, Algorithms is a son of Bernardini. He's out of Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance.
Todd Pletcher (Algorithms) – “We had a good post and he broke sharp, but Javier said he relaxed from there. This race was going to tell us where we were with him, running against the 2-year-old champion. Now he’s done everything we’ve asked him to. It’s too early to say what we might do with him at this point. You can never have enough good 3-year-olds, but you hate to run them against each other. Now we have Discreet Dancer and this colt that are two-for-two over the track. He’s by Bernardini and I don’t think he’ll have distance limitations. So we just have to sort things out from here.”
Javier Castellano (Algorithms) – “I wanted to take my time and not rush my horse. Hansen has a lot of speed, and he’s the 2-year-old champion, so I was just really patient and waited for the right time to move. He felt absolutely amazing today. He broke so sharp and wanted to go to the lead, but I just took my time. I don’t think two turns will be a problem for him. I rode his father Bernardini to win the Preakness and other big races, and, hopefully, this horse can be like that. He certainly is in the right hands with Todd Pletcher.”
Mike Maker (Hansen) - “After he stumbled, he popped up and jumped right in the bit. He was a little headstrong and fresh, but other than that it was a good effort. He galloped out strong so we’re pleased.”
Ramon Dominguez (Hansen) – “He has a lot of speed, and he might have been a little bit fresh today, too, which is why we went a little faster than I was looking for. He stumbled coming out of the gate and he picked himself up pretty quickly, but sometimes that scares a horse a little bit and they go a little fast. The stumble probably didn’t help, but it’s not an excuse. I’m not happy that he didn’t win, but I’m not totally disappointed. When he got passed he really dug in, and he galloped out really well.”