Hades Guts It Out In the Holy Bull As Fierceness Folds

Hades | Ryan Thompson

All eyes were on Eclipse Award and runaway GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile hero Fierceness (City of Light) making his seasonal debut in Saturday's GIII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream Park.

The tote read 1-5 on the champ, but the Repole homebred and 'TDN Rising Star' was out of gas when push came to shove, and, in a bit of an oddly run race, D J Stable and Robert Cotran's unbeaten Hades (Awesome Slew) controlled a moderate tempo, slipped away from Fierceness in the final furlong and held off Domestic Product (Practical Joke) by two lengths for a 9-1 upset and 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

“This is what you hope for,” D J Stable's Jonathan Green said. “You hope you have a horse that's this good that can carry your dreams into another level for the Florida Derby and then the Kentucky Derby. The thing that was so exciting to me about this race was not only the way that (trainer) Joe (Orseno) campaigned the horse, which was outstanding. He knows how to handle a horse and get him into the Triple Crown races. But I was so happy that our horse went eyeball-to-eyeball with a champ and put him away. To me, that really shows something. It means the horse really wants to (win), and that's something you can't teach.”

Making his two-turn debut Saturday, Hades, a $130,000 OBS April purchase, was driven away from his rail draw by Paco Lopez, and Fierceness was also given a dig by John Velazquez in an effort to gain some forward position, but Fierceness did get fired up a bit as a result. Hades made the running from Inveigled (Enticed) and a three-wide Fierceness, and sensing a slow pace, Velazquez sent Fierceness into the lead a good three furlongs from home.

Right alongside and in with every chance, Fierceness and Hades appeared to lightly brush inside the eighth pole and while Fierceness had no more to give, Hades kicked on to cause the surprise. Domestic Product, making his first start since a well-beaten seventh in the GII Remsen S. Dec. 2, sat an inside trip and got through at the fence into the stretch before going on to claim second.

Hades rallied from last of seven to win at first asking going 5 1/2 furlongs in a $50,000 maiden optional claimer (not in for the tag) at Gulfstream Park Dec. 9. He dueled free from his rail draw to win by daylight in a first-level state-bred allowance going seven furlongs at Gulfstream last time Dec. 31.

“The plan was to go to the lead, but if somebody was pushing him he was going to rate him,” Orseno said. “It looked like he started to do that when that one horse went up to him, and then Paco had to go. He knew it. When the horse accelerates, he's just got another gear at the top of the stretch. He showed it to us last time. Of course, a champion eyeballs him and he dug in and took off. He ran away from a very good horse. It was our day today. We'll see next time, but right now we'll enjoy the moment.”

Orseno added, “I'm going to let the horse tell us (what's next). Right now, I would say no (to the Fountain of Youth), but if the horse is sharp… he's lightly raced. He's run five and a half and seven furlongs. It's not like he's been pushed.”

It wasn't the easiest of journeys for Fierceness, who was defeated by 3 1/2 lengths following a wide trip after getting pinballed at the start. His resume also includes a puzzling seventh as the heavy favorite in last fall's GI Champagne S.

“He didn't get off to a very good start,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “The inside horse bumped him pretty good and then he got sandwiched and kind of had to shove him into the race and try to get the position we wanted, which we eventually did. But, he had to overcome a pretty rough start to get there. It seemed like he got into a good rhythm and straightened away for home and just kind of flattened out a little bit. Disappointed in the outcome. I think if you watch the replay of the start, it was a pretty rough start, kind of similar to what happened in the Champagne. If he doesn't get away well, he doesn't get into the flow of the race the same way.”

He continued, “I don't think we're going to change any plans. We'll obviously assess how the horse comes out of the race. We know he's better than that, so we've got to regroup a little bit and do better next time. He's shown that he can recover from a subpar performance with a good one.”

Pedigree Notes:

Hades is the second stakes winner and first at the graded level for Awesome Slew. The win gave broodmare sire Quality Road his 11th black-type winner and fifth graded/group winner worldwide. D J Stable went to $130,000 (:21 1/5) to recruit Hades from the 2023 OBS April Sale. The year prior, his half-sister Devious Dame (Girvin) brought $240,000 from One Up Bloodstock out of the OBS March Sale. Devious Dame won her first two races by a combined 10 3/4 lengths and lived up to heavy favoritism with a sharp victory in the Astoria S. at Belmont Park. She brought $185,000 from Woods Edge Farm at the 2023 KEENOV sale. Hades's third dam is GISW Pretty Discreet (Private Account), herself the dam of GISWs Discreet Cat (Forestry) and Discreetly Mine (Mineshaft). Their unraced dam The Shady Lady is a half-sister to MSW & MGSP Courtesan (Street Sense). She is also represented by a 2-year-old full brother to Hades and a yearling filly by Girvin. She visited Win Win Win for 2024.

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
HOLY BULL S.-GIII, $260,000, Gulfstream, 2-3, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:46.07, ft.
1–HADES, 118, g, 3, by Awesome Slew
                1st Dam: The Shady Lady, by Quality Road
                2nd Dam: Lady Discreet, by Boundary
                3rd Dam: Pretty Discreet, by Private Account
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($130,000 2yo '23 OBSAPR). O-D. J. Stable LLC and Robert Cotran; B-Ocala Stud, Joseph M. O'Farrell III, David O'Farrell, et al. (FL);
T-Joseph F. Orseno; J-Paco Lopez. $161,900. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $225,000. *1/2 to Devious Dame (Girvin), SW, $120,560. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Domestic Product, 118, c, 3, Practical Joke–Goods and Services, by Paynter. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O/B-Klaravich Stables (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $49,000.
3–Fierceness, 124, c, 3, City of Light–Nonna Bella, by Stay Thirsty. 'TDN Rising Star'. O/B-Repole Stable, Inc. (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $24,500.
Margins: 2, 1HF, 2HF. Odds: 9.20, 14.40, 0.20.
Also Ran: Inveigled, Dancing Groom, Otello, Sea Streak. Scratched: No More Time.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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