Both races will be run at 1 1/8 miles.
Jockey Julien Leparoux will ride 7-year-old Einstein in the 51st edition of the Donn after drawing the far outside post 10 as he makes his first start since capturing the Clark Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28 for trainer Helen Pitts.
Jockey Alan Garcia gets the call on Albertus Maximus as the 5-year-old makes his first start for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin after being purchased privately in the wake of his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 for previous connections.
McLaughlin is hopeful the son of Albert the Great will show enough in the Donn to go on to the $6 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in late March. McLaughlin sent out Shadwell’s Invasor to capture the 2007 renewal of the Donn, en route to a World Cup victory, after sealing the 2006 Horse of the Year title with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.
J. Paul Reddam’s 5-year-old Great Hunter ships in from California for the Donn with jockey Javier Castellano picking up the mount for trainer Doug O’Neill. Reddam and WinStar Farm’s Spring At Last won the Donn last year for O’Neill.
A son of Aptitude, Great Hunter was on the Triple Crown trail in 2007 after winning the Robert Lewis Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita before finishing 13th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) behind Street Sense. Great Hunter finished third last out in a Hollywood Park allowance on Dec. 22 in his first start since finishing fifth behind Curlin in the Dubai World Cup in March.
The field for the Donn is wide-open and Allen Paulson Living Trust’s inconsistent A.P. Arrow would certainly have a chance on one of his good days, with Kent Desormeaux to ride in his first start since the 7-year-old was placed with trainer Ken McPeek.
A homebred son of A.P. Indy, A.P. Arrow comes into the Donn after posting career earnings of nearly $1.5 million, competing in top-level races for trainer Todd Pletcher, including a strong runner-up effort behind Spring At Last in this race last year, beaten only a half-length. A.P. Arrow scored his biggest victories in the Skip Away (G3) here and Clark (G2) at Churchill in 2007.
Completing the field for the Donn are Rolbea Thoroughbreds’ Finallymadeit, Eduardo Nunez; Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ Anak Nakal, Joe Bravo; Mitchell Ranch’s Bullsbay, John R. Velazquez; Stronach Stable’s On Board Again, Eibar Coa; Jay Em Ess Stable’s Arson Squad, Edgar Prado; and Turtle Bird Stable’s Sir Whimsey, Robby Albarado.
Beethoven & Danger to Society Top Holy Bull Field
John Oxley’s Beethoven makes his much anticipated 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull Stakes after capturing the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) last out at Churchill Downs on Nov. 29, while Lansdon Robbins III and Sam Delaney’s Danger to Society, a very promising colt who is two-for-two, makes his stakes debut in the field of 11.
Calvin Borel rode Beethoven to win the KJC for trainer John Ward and he will be back in town for the mount Saturday, although they will have to overcome the far outside post 11. Beethoven is a $300,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Sky Mesa, a top horse raced by Oxley and trained by Ward.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux rides Danger to Society for trainer Ken McPeek and drew well in post 2. The $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling purchase by Harlan’s Holiday won his debut at Churchill Downs in mid-November and came back with an impressive 3½ lengths allowance score going 1 1/8 miles over the Gulfstream track on Jan. 8 in his only other start.
Other contenders with solid credentials include Lori and George Hall’s West Side Bernie, Elvis Trujillo; Emory Hamilton’s Rockland, Jose Lezcano; and My Meadowview Farm’s Nowhere to Hide, Alan Garcia.
West Side Bernie is a Bernstein colt trained by Kelly Breen and makes his first start since a strong runner-up effort in the Delta Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs in Louisiana on Dec. 5. The $50,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase had won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (G3) at Turfway Park and finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita in his two previous starts.
Rockland is a Kentucky homebred colt from Smarty Jones’ first crop trained by Michael Matz and makes his stakes debut. After finishing third in his career debut at Keeneland in October, Rockland broke his maiden at Meadowlands in November and won an allowance last out going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Calder last out on Dec. 20.
Nowhere to Hide is a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase trained by Nick Zito and broke his maiden last out at Calder going one mile around two turns on Dec. 13. The son of Vindication had run well in each of four previous starts, finishing second twice and third once.
Completing the field for the Holy Bull are Zayat Stable’s Bruce N Autumn, Edgar Prado; Bear Stable’s Bear’s Rocket, Kent Desormeaux, Lally Stable’s Saratoga Sinner, Julien Leparoux; G. Watts Humphrey, Jr.’s El Crespo, Javier Castellano; New Life Stable and Equus Racing’s Stately Character, Herb McCauley; and James Scatuorchio’s Idol Maker, John R. Velazquez.