Hull stamped himself as much more than a “one-hit-wonder” and as a bona-fide contender nationally in the sophomore ranks on Thursday at Turfway Park when he parlayed his debut romp at Fair Grounds in February with an encore performance saturated with brilliance. The recent Team Valor acquisition pissed in by 7
¾ lengths in his first start against winners and despite being held in the proverbial “death-grip” by jockey Miguel Mena for the entire 1:16 1/5 of the race, the blue-sky prospect stopped the clock just four-fifths of a second shy of the track record on the Polytrack.

“I have never been so nervous running a horse on a Thursday at Turfway Park,” admitted conditioner Dale Romans before the race. “When you’re 1 to 20 and you’ve made plans to breeze the colt past the wire another quarter, the pressure is really on and you only allow the things that could go wrong to enter your mind.

“Watching him coast home a pole in front of the competition was more of a relief than anything,” Romans continued. “It’s what we expected him to do and he delivered. Everything went perfect. He even got to relax a bit off another horse today, which was a good education for him, he took to the Poly and we got the appropriate amount of fitness into him to be ready to stretch out in 16 days. I’m elated.”

Hull broke cleanly from the outside box in the field of five. Mena (left, in paddock with trainer Romans) was loaded with horse from the word go and was content to allow the rival to his inside, Go Getem, to make the running. Hull sat comfortably about three-quarters of a length off the pacesetter, who carved out an opening quarter in a brisk :22 4/5. From the half mile pole to the quarter pole, Mena was getting a tremendous biceps workout and was pulling so hard to reserve the colt that Mena’s head was bobbing up and down like a bobblehead. Hull, meanwhile, was exerting very little energy.