Ready for 'Prime' Time in the Holy Bull

Prime Factor | Ryan Thompson

'TDN Rising Star' Prime Factor (Quality Road), a blowout maiden winner sprinting on debut at Gulfstream Dec. 12, heads straight to the big leagues in Saturday's GIII Holy Bull S.

The WinStar Farm and CHC Inc. colorbearer, a $900,000 Keeneland September yearling, worked a bullet five furlongs in :59 4/5 (1/13) at Todd Pletcher's Palm Beach Downs base Jan. 23 in preparation of his two-turn debut.

Prime Factor is out of a half-sister to fellow 'Rising Stars' Speightster (Speightstown) and West Coast Swing (Gone West) as well as SW Paiota Falls (Kris S.). His second dam Dance Swiftly is a full-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year and U.S. Eclipse Award winner Dance Smartly.

“It's kind of that time of year where you have to see where you are,” Pletcher said. “He was brilliant in his debut and has trained sharply since then. We kind of considered going into an allowance race, but that never materialized. It's always a big step to go from maiden race against winners, giving up experience, but he can hopefully overcome it.”

The 16-time Gulfstream Championship Meet training champion will also tighten the girth on Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Amount (Curlin), a 5 3/4-length winner on debut after getting bumped at the start going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Dec. 26.

Greatest Honour (Tapit) was given the 5-2 nod on the morning-line after overcoming a good deal of early trouble in an impressive, come-from-behind maiden victory over track and trip at fourth asking Dec. 26. He was also a strong third in a key maiden special weight at Belmont last fall, featuring subsequent 'Rising Star' and jaw-dropping Smarty Jones S. winner Caddo River (Hard Spun).

“He's developed a lot,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “I was just sitting there thinking if, through the winter and spring, he keeps going in that direction, he'll be good.”

The Holy Bull's lone graded winner Sittin On Go (Brody's Cause) (GIII Iroquois S.) looks to get back on track following disappointing efforts in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Nov. 6 and GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. last time Nov. 28.

The Holy Bull carries 10-4-2-1 qualifying points on the road to the GI Kentucky Derby.

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