by Gulfstream Park Press Release
February 3, 2018
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Audible registered a resounding victory in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, stamping himself as a prime prospect on the Road to the Florida Derby (G1) and the Triple Crown.
Making his stakes debut in the 29th running of the Holy Bull, which headlined a 12-race program offering five stakes for 3-year-olds, Audible earned 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points with his 5 ½-length triumph over Free Drop Billy.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Audible ($8.40) entered the 1 1/16-mile Triple Crown prep off three starts, two against fellow New York-bred rivals. After finishing third in his Sept. 27 debut at Belmont, Audible graduated against state-bred company Nov. 15 at Aqueduct before going on to win an open optional claiming allowance Dec. 6. His two wins came at the one-turn mile distance.
“We felt like he wanted more ground and he kind of showed that in his first race when he didn’t get away real quickly and retreated when the dirt hit him in the face and then rallied with a pretty strong effort,” Pletcher said. “Then he came back and won two pretty impressive races after that, so we felt like more distance was definitely what he was looking for.”
In his first start around two turns, Audible broke alertly under jockey Javier Castellano to closely stalk the pace set by 30-1 longshot Master Manipulator, who set fractions of 23.59 (seconds), 47.14 into the far turn before tiring. Audible took over the lead on the turn leaving the backstretch and was challenged by Free Drop Billy into the stretch before drawing away to a commanding and comfortable margin of victory in 1:41.92.
“It’s only a mile and sixteenths today, but the way he galloped out was amazing,” Castellano said. “I look forward to the next race.”
Free Drop Billy finished second under Luis Saez, 7 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Tiz Mischief and jockey Robby Albarado.
“He ran hard. He tried hard. The winner was tough,” Saez said. “Maybe after the layoff he got a little tired, but he tried. I think he’ll be ready for his next start.”
Enticed, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario, finished another 1 ½ lengths back in fourth after saving round behind the pacesetters and failing to offer a stretch kick.
“I got a good trip. He just didn’t give me a run,” Rosario said.
Audible, who was purchased for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale for 2-year-olds in training at Gulfstream Park last March, had been scheduled to run in a stakes for New York-breds that was cancelled due to poor weather in New York. The decision was made to ship the colt owned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing Stable to Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs training base earlier than scheduled.
“Maybe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The original plan was to run him in the New York-bred stake and then bring him down, but when all the bad weather hit, we came up with a different strategy and it seemed to work out well today.”
The next stop on Gulfstream Park’s Road to the March 31 $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby is the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 3.
“I think the question now is do you run him two more times or one more time, and we’ll let him tell us kind of how he bounces out of this,” said Pletcher, who saddled Always Dreaming for victories in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby last year. “He’s a very kind horse to train, very easy on himself in the morning. I love the way he came over here and handled everything. He was perfect in the paddock, post parade, gate – all those little intangibles that really help with horses that are pointing for big days.”