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Mohaymen Stays Perfect with Impressive Holy Bull Victory

Jan 30, 2016
Tapit Colt Captures Third Straight Graded Stakes in 3-Year-Old Debut

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen opened his 3-year-old campaign in impressive fashion late Saturday afternoon, enhancing his reputation as the top Triple Crown contender on the East Coast with a powerful 3 ½-length victory in the $350,000 Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

Under regular rider Junior Alvarado, the gray or roan Tapit colt took command of the 1 1/16-mile race rounding the far turn and drew away from Grade 1 winner Greenpointcrusader down the stretch with authority to hit the wire in 1:42.07 over a fast main track.

Greenpointcrusader was a clear second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of late-running Florida-bred Fellowship, followed by Conquest Big E, Frontier Ranger and Perfect Saint. The 27th running of the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull was the last of five stakes, four of them graded, on Saturday’s 12-race program.

It was the fourth victory in as many starts for Mohaymen, an Eclipse Award finalist for champion 2-year-old male after going 3-0 last year including wins in the Nashua (G2) and Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct Racetrack.  

“He took my breath away. Today was pretty special,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who won the 2014 Holy Bull with Cairo Prince and was second last year with Frosted. “It looked like on paper that he might break and be on the lead because there wasn’t much pace. When that didn’t happen I was a little nervous into the first turn and around the turn, but all went great. He’s just a special horse. It makes it easy for us to train and to ride.”

Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, Mohaymen ($2.60) was off slowly after being bumped slightly out of post two, but quickly got into good position on the inside as 50-1 long shot Perfect Saint led through a quarter-mile in 24.64 seconds chased by Greenpointcrusader, winner of the Champagne (G1) last fall who took over the top spot following a half in 49.06.

Alvarado switched Mohaymen in between the two front-runners as the field left the backstretch and effortlessly assumed the lead rounding the far turn, gathering momentum approaching the stretch and cruising to the wire under a hand ride.

“He didn’t break as well as I wanted him to, but I knew it wasn’t going to be a problem. Mentally, he’s so mature,” Alvarado said. “I just waited and waited to see what Johnny [Velazquez aboard Greenpointcrusader] was going to do. He left me a little room but sometimes that can be a little trap. It got to a point where he didn’t come inside and the horse in front was backing up so I said, ‘I’ve got the best horse. It’s time to make my own move.’ After that, it was pretty much over.”

It was the first meeting between Mohaymen and Greenpointcrusader, the only other graded stakes winner in the field who was also making his sophomore debut after ending 2014 finishing a rallying seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

“It was a very good effort,” Velazquez said. “I didn’t want to be on the lead but that’s the way we broke. I took the chance to hold the favorite in there a little while, but he was better than me today.”

A sales-topping $2.2 million yearling out of the Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie, Mohaymen pushed his career bankroll to $559,830. McLaughlin said he is likely to come back in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) Feb. 27 at Gulfstream with an eye on the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 2.

“We just think more experience is fine, especially the way he’s doing it. I don’t think he needs to skip races,” he said. “It’s just a real pleasure to have such a star in the barn for Sheikh Hamdan and Shadwell. I’ve trained for them for 23 years, and I trained the mother, so it’s pretty special.”

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