Holy Bull Will Make Full Recovery : Horse racing: Mishap in Donn Handicap produced no lasting damage and a career at stud could start soon.


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. The gray horse suffered tendon and ligament damage to his lower left foreleg, and Croll, who also owns him, announced shortly after the race that he was being retired.

On Sunday, the prognosis for complete recovery was good.

“Some horses could take six months to a year with these kind of injuries and come back to race,” said Pete Hall, Holy Bull’s veterinarian. “But this is not a high-percentage-type injury as far as recovery is concerned. Fortunately, Holy Bull suffered no abrasions. This is a reparable lesion. He’s healthy and sound. When he begins at stud depends on how quiet he keeps himself after he goes to the farm. If he’s rambunctious when he gets there, it will take more time to get him started.”


The breeding season begins this week and there is a good chance that Holy Bull will be able to service a full book of approximately 40 mares by the time the spring is over. No stud fee has been set by Croll or Jonabell Farm, where he will stand, but Croll said Sunday that it would be reasonable.

“Housebuster (Croll’s champion sprinter) went to stud for $20,000 (a mating), and his fee hasn’t changed in three years,” Croll said. “We also want to make Holy Bull popular with the breeders.”

Croll’s barn crew and Smith were relieved to find Holy Bull in such good shape after he went lame with a misstep Saturday as the 3-10 favorite in the Donn. The stake was won by Cigar, the horse Holy Bull was battling for the lead when the injury occurred.

“Because he’s OK, I kind of feel like I won the race,” Smith said.

Holy Bull was to run in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 11.

“If he had gone to Santa Anita and won, he would have done it all,” Croll said. “As it was, he’s done everything that he was supposed to do. I felt that I owed it to racing to send him to California. I felt confident about going out there. He gave us a lot of pleasure and we had a lot of big plans for him. It’s very hard to see him leave, but I’m happy that he survived this. I didn’t shed a tear because I’m happy that it wasn’t worse. It’s one of the hazards of the business, and I’ve seen it many times.”