Bargain Basement 'Beauty' Set For Holy Bull
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sales was headlined by a colt sired by Storm Cat that attracted a winning bid of $2,050,000, which was $2,047,500 more than Zayat Stables paid for a dark bay son of Devil His Due.
“He’s not very big, other than that he’s really well made. He’s a nice looking little colt. He was late in the sale, and it wasn’t a popular sire – and there was no reserve,” said trainer Dale Romans, explaining the circumstances that brought Black N Beauty into his stable for a paltry $2500. “Sometimes you get lucky.”
Bred in Ontario by 2010 Eclipse Award-winning Adena Springs, Black N Beauty will keep some fashionable company Sunday in the $400,000 Holy Bull (G3), a stepping stone in the Preakness 5.5 bonus series.
“When we first got him, he was a nice horse. As soon as we started breezing him, he could compete with most of our 2-year-olds,” Romans said.
Black N Beauty debuted at Belmont in September, closing to fourth in a field of 10 after enduring a wide trip from his far-outside post position. He came right back to finish second, beaten by only a half-length by Brethren, a Todd Pletcher-trained half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.
“They ran really fast that day. The both ran fast races,” said Romans, noting the 1:08 4/5 six-furlong clocking of the Oct. 16 maiden race. “That was a key race.”
Like Brethren, Black N Beauty won his next start. Favored at 1-2 at Churchill Downs on Nov. 12, he graduated from the maiden ranks by nearly three lengths.
Black N Beauty earned a trip to the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle in his 3-year-old debut on Jan. 7, setting all the pace under jockey Kent Desormeaux on his way to a smart 2-1/4-length triumph.
“He was always one of our favorite 2-year-olds,” Romans said. “He always showed that he had a lot of talent, even though he wasn’t a very expensive horse.”
Black N Beauty will be making his stakes debut in the Holy Bull against some more proven graded-stakes performers, including the Kathy Ritvo-trained Mucho Macho Man, runner-up to highly regarded To Honor and Serve in both the Nashua (G2) and Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct; and Steve Standridge-trained Gourmet Dinner, the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) winner.
“You’ve got Gourmet Dinner and Kathy Ritvo’s horse – they’re pretty nice horses – and they’re pretty even after that,” Romans said.
The one-mile Holy Bull is the first major prep on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, as well as the first Gulfstream Park qualifying race for the Preakness 5.5, which offers $5.5 million in bonuses to the owner and trainer of a horse able to win either the Holy Bull or the Feb. 26 Fountain of Youth (G2) before going on to win the April 3 Florida Derby and the May 21 Preakness Stakes.
“We’ll see how he progresses against the best,” said Romans about what the future may hold for Black N Beauty beyond the Holy Bull, “ and then we’ll leave it up to, Mr. (Ahmed) Zayat.”