The GII Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull S. was billed as face off between hyped 'TDN Rising Stars' Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief) and Mihos (Cairo Prince), but it was upended by 25-1 shot Harvey Wallbanger (Congrats), who punched through late for a one-length success over 99-1shot Everfast (Take Charge Indy). Previously undefeated Maximus Mischief finished a neck behind that rival in third and Mihos was fifth.
Unhurried early, Harvey Wallbanger caboosed the field as an eager Epic Dreamer (Gemologist) ticked off opening splits of :23.18 and :46.76 with favored Maximus Mischief stalking from second. Still trailing the field at that point, the Ken McPeek pupil came alive on the backstretch run, progressing up the fence to be third as Maximus Mischief ranged up alongside the pacesetter exiting the bend. The top dueled down the lane with Maximus Mischief wearing down Epic Dreamer in the final sixteenth. However, it was too late as Harvey Wallbanger charged through on the fence to steal the show and Everfast came flying up the outside for the place spot leaving Maximus Mischief in third. Epic Dreamer held fourth over Mihos, who raced mid-pack in the three-path most of the way and never threatened.
“It's a horse race,” McPeek said. “You can't duck one, can you? He showed he had some good, solid ability. I was thinking he'd rise up to whatever level you put him in. All we did last fall was really kind of teach him what to do. The end of the season he was a little tired after his fourth race and we backed off, came down here, and took our time. I had some options to run in an a-other-than and I told [co-owner] Harold [Lerner], 'Let's find out how good he is, because he can't be training any better.' Today, I told [jockey] Brian [Hernandez Jr.], 'If they go, let them go. Don't worry about it. Just tuck in, save some ground, and make your run.'”
As for the future, the conditioner said, “Let's just enjoy the evening here and then figure it out. [GII] Fountain of Youth [Mar. 2], I've already got Signalman kind of circled for that, but that doesn't mean that they both couldn't run. I'd like to keep them apart if I can but one step at a time.”
“It was great,” said Hernandez. “We had a horse that likes to come from behind and we thought they'd go quick in front. I was able to just kind of sit there. I knew to trust in my horse, because he was second in a couple of good maiden races and he always runs to his competition so I thought he'd give a good showing today. When we turned for home and I got within range of them, I thought I had enough horse to where I'd get past them. I mean, he spurted through there quickly and he did it like a good horse.”
As for the beaten favorite Maximus Mischief, rider Jose Ortiz, who took over for regular pilot Frankie Pennington, said, “He broke good, clean. He sat second behind the speed, but I felt like they were coming on my outside, so I made my decision to go. When I asked him, he wasn't going the way I wanted him to. I just had to start riding. I had a hard time catching the horse on the lead.”
Runner-up behind a 'TDN Rising Star'-performance from next-out GI Champagne S. victor Complexity (Maclean's Music) in his six-panel unveiling at Saratoga Sept. 3, Harvey Wallbanger checked in second again next out when stretched to two turns at Keeneland Oct. 7. Completing the exacta once more at Churchill Downs Oct. 28, the $50,000 FTKJUL buy rallied from well back to earn his diploma beneath the twin spires last time Nov. 17.
Harvey Wallbanger is the 10th graded stakes victor and 33rd black-type winner for his sire Congrats. His dam Adorabell is a daughter of Distorted Humor, who is also the broodmare sire of top runners such as champion Arrogate (Unbridled's Song) and MGISWs Elate (Medaglia d'Oro), Practical Joke (Into Mischief) and New Money Honey (Medaglia d'Oro). Adorabell was purchased by Harvey Wallbanger's breeders Tony Holmes and Dr. Walter Zent for $65,000 carrying a foal by Union Rags at the 2014 Keeneland November Sale. She produced a colt now named Cerunnos and they bred her back to Congrats, resulting in Harvey Wallbanger. The 15-year-old mare produced the now-2-year-old filly Bells of War (Declaration of War) in May of 2017, so she was not bred back for 2018, but visited Daredevil last spring. The winner's second dam is SW Hear the Bells (Deputy Minister), who produced a pair of stakes winners, who are also graded stakes-placed, in Wild Deputy (Wild Again) and Deb's Honor (Affirmed).
Saturday, Gulfstream Park
FASIG-TIPTON HOLY BULL S.-GII, $350,000, Gulfstream, 2-2, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.69, ft.
1–HARVEY WALLBANGER, 117, c, 3, by Congrats
1st Dam: Adorabell, by Distorted Humor
2nd Dam: Hear the Bells, by Deputy Minister
3rd Dam: Kemp, by Spectacular Bid
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($50,000 Ylg
'17 FTKJUL). O-Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables,
Scott K. Akman & Paul Braverman; B-Tony Holmes & Dr. &
Mrs. Walter Zent (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek; J-Brian Joseph
Hernandez, Jr. $208,320. Lifetime Record: 5-2-3-0, $299,520.
Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus* Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Everfast, 116, c, 3, Take Charge Indy–Awesome Surprise, by
Awesome Again. ($47,000 Ylg '17 KEEJAN). O-Calumet Farm;
B-Extern Developments (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $67,200.
3–Maximus Mischief, 122, c, 3, Into Mischief–Reina Maria, by
Songandaprayer. 'TDN Rising Star' ($165,000 Wlg '16 KEENOV;
$170,000 RNA Ylg '17 FTSAUG; $245,000 RNA 2yo '18 FTFMAR;
$340,000 2yo '18 EASMAY). O-Cash is King LLC & LC Racing;
B-Martha Jane Mulholland (KY); T-Robert E. Reid, Jr. $33,600.
Margins: 1, NK, 1. Odds: 29.60, 128.70, 0.90.
Also Ran: Epic Dreamer, Mihos, Garter and Tie, Federal Case, Come On Gerry, Gladiator King. Scratched: Going for Gold.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.