Holy Bull Dead at 26


Holy Bull was All-Time Great Racehorse and 1994 Horse of the Year

Racing has lost a legend. Holy Bull, one of the greatest racehorses and 1994 Horse of the Year, died Wednesday in Lexington, KY. He was 26. Holy Bull was put to rest as he succumbed to weaknesses and frailties of old age.

The Florida-bred galloping grey won six Grade I races with five of them during his dominating 1994 campaign. Trained and owned by Jimmy Croll, Holy Bull won the Florida Derby, Haskell, Travers, Met Mile and Woodward on his way to HOY honors. In his eight wins during his 3-year-old season, Holy Bull’s average Beyer Speed Figure was over 115.

Holy Bull retired in 1995 following 13 wins in 16 starts and earnings of $2,481,760. Holy Bull was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Godolphin USA president Jimmy Bell, whose family owned Jonabell prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s purchase in 2001, said, “If you were putting together your fantasy horse stable for the last 25 years, you’d have to have Holy Bull in your top five. Horses like Holy Bull just don’t come along that often. I’ve always said, he wasn’t a specialist—short, grass, long, or dirt. Just a fantastic racehorse. You can’t mention his name without using such words as ‘fighter, determination, and guts.’ ”

Throughout the final eighth-mile of the grade 1 Woodward Stakes, regular NYRA race caller Tom Durkin’s tone of disbelief of what he was witnessing summed up the emotion of all who watched the big gray, as he blared out, “Holy Bull winning like a champion…with devastating ease! Holy Bull toying with the best horses in training.” At the end of the year, Holy Bull was assigned 130 pounds on the Daily Racing Form Free Handicap, the highest for a 3-year-old in 15 years, and a front page headline of “Bullmania Sweeps the Nation.”

At stud, his six individual grade 1 winners include Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, champion and Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Macho Uno, now a successful sire, in addition to Flashy Bull. Ironically, it was Holy Bull’s jockey Mike Smith that guided Giacomo to his Kentucky Derby victory. Holy Bull’s daughters produced over 50 stakes winners.

Holy Bull will be buried at Jonabell.


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