Connections Eye Florida Route to Derby for Holy Bull Winner Hades

Hades | Ryan Thompson

D. J. Stable LLC and Robert Cotran's Hades (Awesome Slew), upset winner of Saturday's GIII Holy Bull S. over juvenile champion and 'TDN Rising Star' Fierceness (City of Light), may be pointed to either the Mar. 2 GII Fountain of Youth S. or the Mar. 30 GI Curlin Florida Derby, hinted trainer Joe Orseno to the Gulfstream Park notes team Thursday.

“We're obviously working backwards from the first Saturday in May,” said Orseno. “We'll do what's best for the horses. I don't think both races are in the plans. If I had to guess today, I'd say the latter one.”

Orseno said the undefeated Hades came out of his Holy Bull win in good shape.

“My both feet are on the ground and everything's fine,” said Orseno. “The horse is doing great. He came out of it really well in his training. He's been back training two days. He's galloping great.”

Orseno continued: “Yesterday, he was more aggressive. It was windy and it was his first day back on the track. Today, he was more settled.”

The trainer also detailed the decision that led to gelding the bay, who is now unbeaten in three starts. Orseno had spotted Hades at the 2023 OBS April Sale, where he worked two furlongs in :21 1/5. D. J. Stable signed the ticket and Orseno brought his longtime client Cotran in to team up on the Florida-bred colt.

“When I bought him out of the sale, I gave him a week and brought him down here. He just wasn't training like I thought he should have been,” Orseno said. “He was stud-ish, really stud-ish. He was a little weak behind. He didn't seem to be himself. I said, 'This isn't the horse I bought,' because we really loved him.”

Despite extra time turned out in Ocala, Hades showed no improvement.

“He was being real stud-ish, not going forward. I said, 'Just cut him and help him grow up a little bit.' That's what we did. We just gave him time and cut him. He's a son of Awesome Slew. Nobody was thinking 'stallion' at that point. Nobody was thinking anything. We bought a racehorse and we've got to get him to the races.”

The result is an undefeated prospect who has earned 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

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