Mayhomen remains unbeaten with dazzling win in Holy Bull

BY foxsports • January 30, 2016

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has sent out his fair share of top-level runners over the years, but there was something about the performance of Shadwell Stables' Mohaymen on Saturday that impressed a seasoned veteran.

"He took my breath away," McLaughlin said after the Tapit colt made easy work of five opponents to draw clear in the $350,000 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. "Today was pretty special."

Acing his season debut, Mohaymen pushed his record to a perfect 4-for-4 while geared down by jockey Junior Alvarado to a 3 1/2-length win. The 1 1/16-mile distance was no issue for the striking gray, who dialed back from the 1 1/8 miles he last ran when winning the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes after taking the one-mile Nashua Stakes, both in New York in November.

Third behind Perfect Saint's easy :24.64 opening quarter-mile while Greenpointcrusader pressed the pace from the outside, Alvarado sensed the slow pace and soon asked for another gear from 3-to-10 favorite Mohaymen, who split those two and took over.

"It looked like, on paper, that he might break and be on the lead because there wasn't much pace," McLaughlin said. "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."

While Perfect Saint backed up severely and Greenpointcrusader dug in to match a few strides, Mohaymen led by a half-length through three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.52 and easily drew off for the score. Mohaymen completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:42.07 on a fast track.

"He didn't break as well as I wanted him to, but I knew it wasn't going to be a problem," Alvarado said. "Mentally, he's so mature. He does whatever I want. 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. I just waited and waited and then 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 making my own move. After that it was pretty much over. I could have gone around [again] easily with him. I still had plenty of horse. You can feel the acceleration he has, and it's not me asking him."

Mohaymen collected 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby scoring system, as the qualifying race awarded points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the top four finishers. The additional points elevate him to second with 20 total behind 2015 champion 2-year-old male Nyquist (30).

"[He'll probably go next in the Feb. 27] Fountain of Youth," McLaughlin said. "We just think more experience is fine, especially the way he's doing it. I don't think he needs to skip races. I think he did it pretty much in hand today, so it wasn't going to be a hard effort. ... This looked like a pretty easy race. I will talk to Rick Nichols and he will speak to Sheikh Hamdan [bin Rashid al Maktoum], but he will probably go to the Fountain of Youth."

The winner paid $2.60, $2.10, and $2.10 while favored in the field of six. Greenpointcrusader held on for second, worth $2.60 to place and $2.20 to show, while Fellowship closed to get third ($3.80). Conquest Big E, Frontier Ranger, and Perfect Saint completed the order of finish.

Mohaymen was bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms out of the Grade 2-winning Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie. He was the $2.2-million co-sale topper at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Mohaymen pushed his earnings to $559,830 when collecting the Holy Bull win.

"He's a real special colt and does everything right," McLaughlin 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."