Upstart proves dominant in Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park

Upstart bounced back from a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with a romp in the Holy Bull.

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Upstart overwhelmed his opposition Saturday in the $400,000 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes in a breakout performance at Gulfstream Park for the talented 3-year-old.

Upstart earned his first career graded stakes win in the Grade 3 Holy Bull and moved up to third on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with a 10-point victory.

Trained by Rick Violette for owner Ralph M. Evans, Upstart had not raced since finishing third in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 1. The ridgling by Flatter was positioned just behind pacesetter Bluegrass Singer for the first quarter-mile before he inched up under Jose Ortiz and pressed that rival on the backstretch and through the final turn.

When given his cue by Ortiz, Upstart accelerated clear of Bluegrass Singer and opened up a commanding advantage en route to a 5 1/2-length win. He completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.61 for his third victory in five starts.

Upstart returned $6.20 for a $2 win bet as the second betting choice and boosted his career earnings to $701,880.

Remsen Stakes runner-up Frosted, the 3-2 favorite in the nine-horse field, overhauled 3.30-to-1 third betting choice Bluegrass Singer for second.

Upstart began his racing career with back-to-back wins last summer at Saratoga Race Course. He won his career debut and then scored by a length in the Funny Cide Stakes.

Upstart finished second to Daredevil on a sloppy track at Belmont Park in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on Oct. 4 before closing his 2-year-old season with the third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup.

The time off appeared to do Upstart quite well, and he turned in a professional and visually impressive performance in the Holy Bull Stakes.

New York-bred Upstart is out of the unraced Touch Gold mare Party Silks, a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to Grade 2 winner Josh’s Madelyn. Evans purchased Upstart for $130,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.


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