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Holy Bull

When Holy Bull won the Metropolitan Handicap, demolishing a field of top-class older rivals, he gave evidence that he is the best racehorse in the country. When he won the Travers Stakes, he displayed a combination of raw speed, stamina and courage that marked him as the best American racehorse in years. Under normal circumstances, the outcome of the Woodward Stakes might have been a forgone conclusion, a coronation of Holy Bull as 1994's horse of the year.
June 8, 2008 | Bob Mieszerski, Times Staff Writer
Jimmy Croll, a hall of fame trainer who handled the champion racehorses Bet Twice and Holy Bull, died Friday at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., after a long illness. He was 88. Croll died on the eve of the 21st anniversary of one of his biggest wins. In the 1987 Belmont Stakes, Bet Twice thwarted Alysheba's bid for racing's Triple Crown with a 14-length victory under jockey Craig Perret. Holy Bull was another notable champion. Voted horse of the year as a 3-year-old in 1994, he was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby but wound up finishing 12th.
January 22, 1995 | Associated Press
The presence of Holy Bull transforms a routine seven-furlong sprint into a race of national significance. Thoroughbred racing's biggest name will make his debut as a 4-year-old today in the $100,000 Olympic Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Five other horses will try to prevent Holy Bull from getting off to a fast start in 1995. "This is not a sure thing," trainer Jimmy Croll said. "We're in there against a good group of horses, stakes winners."
Following on the heels of football and baseball over the weekend, there was plenty of emotion Monday morning in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Trainer Richard Mandella, jockey Earlie Fires and the late Tom Smith, who trained the legendary Seabiscuit, were the human inductees into racing's Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion. The horses honored were Maskette, Paseana and Holy Bull. Mandella, 50, has long been among the sport's top trainers.
January 23, 1995 | Associated Press
In his debut as a 4-year-old, Holy Bull raced to a 2 1/2-length victory Sunday in the $100,000 Olympic Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Carrying top weight of 126 pounds, last year's 3-year-old champion colt was challenged briefly at the eighth pole by Birdonthewire before winning with room to spare. Holy Bull ran seven furlongs in 1:22 as the heavy favorite. Birdonthewire was second and Patton third in the field of six.
April 23, 1994
Holy Bull's exploits have the connections of his mortal rivals quaking in their boots, even though the Derby is weeks away! If they send their horses after this speedster, they might implode before Holy Bull does, so it appears they have mutually decided to wait and let him keep running until he gets tired and stops. If they keep to this strategy, they are in for a long wait, and history may find itself a 12th Triple Crown winner. Now, all they have to do is ask among themselves, who's willing to sacrifice his horse, as a "rabbit" to burn the Bull out. If all else fails, is Paul Pilkinton available?
September 17, 1994 | From Associated Press
Today's Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park will feature a showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin and Holy Bull, a leading horse-of-the-year candidate who beat Preakness and Belmont winner Tabasco Cat in the Travers his last time out. "It's the race of the year so far," said Scotty Schulhofer, who will saddle 1993 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair for the race.
February 11, 1995 | BILL CHRISTINE
Holy Bull, 1994 horse of the year and an easy winner in his only start this year, will try to overcome the No. 10 post and a decided weight disadvantage in today's $300,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Carrying 127 pounds, Holy Bull will spot his nine rivals 11-17 pounds in the 1 1/8-mile race. The 4-year-old colt, on a six-race winning streak, hasn't carried more than 126 pounds in 15 previous starts.
June 3, 1994 | Associated Press
Holy Bull, the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite but a dazzling winner of the Metropolitan Handicap on Monday, will not race in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. "I just think that is is best for the horse," owner-trainer Jimmy Croll said Thursday. "He needs more time. He comes first, and I have to do what's best for him." Instead, Holy Bull is scheduled run against 3-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer on July 3 at Belmont.
January 31, 1994 | From Associated Press
Holy Bull, a 1-2 favorite, learned something in the education process of a 3-year-old and remained unbeaten with a three-quarter length victory Sunday over Patton in the Grade II Hutcheson Stakes for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream. Holy Bull had never lost a lead until Sunday, but he rallied and drew even at the sixteenth pole, pulling away in the last 70 yards to win in 1:21 1/5 for the seven-furlong race that was diminished in stature when Dehere was scratched Saturday because of colic.
These should be the happiest of times for Jimmy Croll. The 77-year-old trainer's horse of a lifetime, Holy Bull, has turned into a breeding machine. Unlike Cigar, a subsequent horse of the year, Holy Bull has been a standout at stud, getting almost 100% of his mares pregnant at a fee of $25,000 a foal. Voted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1994, the same year that Holy Bull was named horse of the year, Croll has fame, fortune and lifetime security. So why does he brood?
January 21, 1996 | Associated Press
Cobra King took the lead rounding the turn and beat Editor's Note by 1 3/4 lengths Saturday in the Holy Bull Stakes, the first big race of the year for Kentucky Derby contenders. Cobra King, second choice in the Derby future book, pulled away from Editor's Note and covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 2/5 on a firm track at Gulfstream Park. Editor's Note, trained by Wayne Lukas, finished three lengths ahead of third-place Tilden.
July 3, 1995 | ALLAN MALAMUD
It is no longer blowing smoke to say that Cigar is a superstar. . . . He took on the best field of older horses in the nation this year and won the Hollywood Gold Cup easier than the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup. . . . "The winner was awesome," said Eddie Delahoussaye, who finished 3 1/2 lengths behind on runner-up Tinners Way. "I knew he was good, but he proved that he is a lot better than that.". . .
February 17, 1995 | PAUL MORAN, NEWSDAY
The career-ending injury suffered by Holy Bull in the Donn Handicap Saturday probably will endure as the biggest racing story of 1995, so it is understandable that what happened at Gulfstream after the Horse of the Year was pulled up went unnoticed until well after the star was vanned back to the barn, X-rayed, treated and retired. When a horse of Holy Bull's caliber is seriously injured in a race, what happens afterward becomes somewhat superfluous.
While Holy Bull was out of his stall, getting a bath and a stream of cold water on his injured left foreleg, trainer Jimmy Croll said Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park that his champion 4-year-old colt would be Kentucky-bound in about two weeks, for a new career as a stallion. The racing career for the 1994 horse of the year ended abruptly here Saturday, when jockey Mike Smith had to pull up Holy Bull with less than five furlongs to run in the $300,000 Donn Handicap.
Careers sometimes end with a whimper and sometimes with a bang. For Holy Bull, 1994's horse of the year, the career-ending sound Saturday was a loud pop and a cry of anguish from his jockey, Mike Smith. "Oh, no, Jerry!" Smith yelled to Jerry Bailey as their horses cruised down the backstretch at Gulfstream Park. Bailey was riding Cigar, the eventual 5 1/2-length winner of the $300,000 Donn Handicap, and Smith, as usual, was astride Holy Bull, the 3-10 favorite.
April 23, 1994 | PAUL MORAN, NEWSDAY
His pedigree says no. Holy Bull's family tree is not easily mistaken for equine royalty. Until he came along, the offspring of Great Above--and there are scores of them--had never won a Grade I stakes, let alone the Kentucky Derby. But Holy Bull, whether at rest or in full stride, resembles no other son of Great Above. Typically, they are not huge, long-bodied, thickly muscled colts. Holy Bull is all those things.
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