Lady and The Track | May 28, 2022

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Home » Horses We Love » The Holy Bull Story, Part II

The Holy Bull Story, Part II

By Ben Baugh

(For part 1, click here)

High Expectations

Holy Bull at Jonabell Farm in 2011. Photo: Darley America (website)

Holy Bull at Jonabell Farm in 2011. Photo: Darley America (website)

With his impressive juvenile campaign came a wave of popularity among racing enthusiasts’ nationwide, along with praise and respect from the media. But Jimmy Croll stayed grounded despite the gray colt’s success, understanding the vagaries of the sport — one that often teaches humility.

“My grandfather was kind of funny about stuff like that,” said Billie Croll. “He was a very low-key, humble man. He wasn’t a bragger. I think he knew Holy Bull was going to be what he was. He was never one to shout it from the rooftops and get ahead of himself. He let the horse prove himself, more than blowing his own horn and saying what the horse was.”

Staying Focused

A strong sophomore campaign debut in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park kept Holy Bull’s connections Classic hopes alive.

“We were very confident that he was going to be a genuine horse,” said Bonnie Heath Jr. “You hope one will become a champion. You never know how good they’re going to be until they start trying graded stakes company. He was the real deal.”

A Temporary Setback

But even the greatest of athletes are vulnerable to not meeting expectations and what appears to be a sense of invincibility on the surface can quickly change for a multitude of reasons. After five consecutive victories, came the… (more)