Earns $10,000 FTBOA Florida-bred Bonus


Florida-bred Hades repelled 2-year-old-champion Fierceness coming out of the far turn to upset the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3 and earn 20 qualifying points for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. Winning at odds of 9-1, Hades was the best of seven 3-year-olds who went a mile-and-a-sixteenth in pursuit of the winner’s share of the $250,000 purse.

Hades also picked up a $10,000 Florida-bred bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Hades and jockey Paco Lopez broke best of all from the inside post one and took a clear lead into the clubhouse turn with 18-1 longshot Inveigled giving chase in second. Fierceness and jockey John Velazquez got caught four-wide going in the first turn but were able to accelerate into third for the run down the backstretch.

Hades powered down after a moderate :25.03 quarter mile as Inveigled moved up to even terms between horses with Fierceness just off his hip in the three path.

Hades completed the half-mile in :50.53, Fierceness advanced to a short lead into the far turn as Domestic Product, Inveigled and Sea Trek raced together in third from a length-and-a-half back.

Fierceness tried to put away his rivals coming out of the far turn but Hades would not give in as those two began to separate from their rivals at the top of the stretch.

Approaching the eighth pole, Hades shook free from a tiring Fierceness then Domestic Spending took over the second spot inside the final sixteenth of a mile. Hades pulled away to win by two lengths in 1:46.07 on the fast track.

Domestic Spending finished second to earn 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points while Fierceness finished third for six Derby points. Inveigled finished fourth and picked up four Derby points while Dancing Groom gets two points for fifth. Otello and Sea Streak completed the order of finish and No More Time was scratched.

Trained by Joe Orseno, Hades paid $20.40 to win.

“The plan was to go to the lead, but if somebody was pushing him, he was going to rate him. It looked like he started to do that when that other horse went up to him, and then Paco had to go. He knew it,” Orseno said. “When the horse accelerates, he’s just got another gear at the top of the stretch. He showed it to us last time. Of course, a champion eyeballs him and he dug in and took off. He ran away from a very good horse. It was our day today. We’ll see next time, but right now we’ll enjoy the moment.”

Although Hades was under pressure throughout the Holy Bull, Lopez said he relished the challenge.

“He likes to fight. He beat [Fierceness], the Breeders’ Cup winner. Maybe the Breeders’ Cup winner wasn’t 100 percent ready, but I know my horse and ran very good today,” Lopez said.

Hades remains undefeated in three starts after winning a $50,000 maiden optional claiming after a slow start on Dec. 9 and a first level allowance against fellow Florida-breds on Dec. 31.

“I don’t think we’ve gotten to the bottom of him yet. If you know me, I didn’t have him peaked today. I know what it takes if you’re going to campaign a horse,” Orseno said. “It was like, we’ll have him ready for today and this was our plan today. It’s not the ideal plan if you’re trying to win the Derby or even get there, but for today it worked.”

By Ocala Stud stallion Awesome Slew out of the unraced Quality Road mare, The Shady Lady, Hades was bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, Joseph M. O’Farrell III, David O’Farrell, et. al. Ocala Stud also consigned Hades to the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ Sale Spring Sale where he was purchased for $130,000 by Leonard and Lois Green’s D.J. Stable. The Greens have since partnered with Robert Cotran on the colt who now has a career bankroll of $225,000.

“The [Greens] have been with me for a long time and their partner, Robert Cotran, he’s been with me just as long,” Orseno said. “It’s great. We put the two of them together. They didn’t know each other when it happened but they know each other now.”

When asked by the Gulfstream Park publicity staff if the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 2 was next for Hades, Orseno did not commit on the final prep for the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby on March 30.

“I’m going to let the horse tell us. Right now, I would say no, but if the horse is sharp …,” Orseno said. “He’s lightly raced. He’s run five and a half and seven furlongs. It’s not like he’s been pushed.”

The Shady Lady has produced four winners from four starters, including the stakes-winning Florida-bred Devious Dame, who took the 2022 Astoria at Belmont Park. The Shady Lady also has an unnamed 2-year-old colt by Awesome Slew, a yearling filly by Girvin and was bred to Ocala Stud stallion Win Win Win in 2023.

Hades is the eighth Florida-bred winner of the Holy Bull joining Hey Byrn in 2008, Closing Argument (2005), Second of June (2004), Booklet (2002), Radical Riley (2001), Hal’s Hope (2000) and Arthur L. (1997).