Multiple G2 Winner Madefromlucky, Unbeaten at Gulfstream, Among Rivals
Race Promoted to G3 Status for 2016
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – In its last running before being elevated to Grade 3 status for 2016, the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday will offer another highly competitive field that includes a quartet of graded stakes winners Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Over its short history, the 1 11/6-mile race for 3-year-olds and up has featured such horses as Liam’s Map, last year’s winner who went on to Grade 1 victories in the Woodward and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in 2015, as well as graded winners Bourbon Courage, Cash Rules, Csaba, Delegation, Pants On Fire, River Seven and Valid.
The fifth running of the Harlan’s Holiday is one of four $100,000 stakes on Saturday’s 11-race program and attracted a group of 10 horses led by graded stakes winners Ami’s Holiday, Madefromlucky, Mr. Jordan and Valid along with Sunshine Millions Classic winner Sr. Quisqueyano.
"“I think it’s a graded-caliber race," said Todd Pletcher, who will saddle multiple Grade 2 winner Madefromlucky.
Sr. Quisqueyano, trained by Peter Walder for Ron Paolucci’s Loooch Racing Stables, will be making his first start in seven months in the Harlan’s Holiday. The 5-year-old son of Exclusive Quality was last seen finishing sixth in the Texas Mile (G3) May 1 at Lone Star Park.
Claimed for $62,500 off a runner-up effort last December at Gulfstream, Sr. Quisqueyano upset the Classic at odds of 20-1 in the first start for his new connections. Following a failed trip to California for the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), he returned to finish second by a neck to Commissioner in the Skip Away (G3) on the Florida Derby undercard.
“He’s ready to run. He’s come along nicely,” Walder said. “Last year when I was working him, he was just OK. I was very unimpressed with the way he worked. This year, [jockey Edgard] Zayas has even said he’s bigger, stronger. I think he really appreciated the break he got.”
Sr. Quisqueyano has made 17 of his 32 lifetime starts at Gulfstream Park, where he owns three wins, four seconds, two thirds and $398,360 in purse earnings, more than half his career bankroll of $746,510. He has been training steadily at Gulfstream for his return, including a pair of bullet works last month, and is being pointed to a defense of his Classic title Jan. 16.
“I didn’t want to wait for a race that might not go and go into the Sunshine Millions off an eight-month layoff,” Walder said. “I hate to say I’m using the race as a prep, because I’m looking to win the race, but it is a prep, per se. He’s doing really good, and he’s a horse for the course. On any given day over this track, he could probably beat anybody.”
Pletcher, off to a great start in his quest for a 13th consecutive Championship Meet training title, aims for his second straight Harlan’s Holiday following Liam’s Map victory last year. He will saddle Cheyenne Stables and Mac Nichol’s Madefromlucky, most recently second to stablemate Tommy Macho in the Discovery Handicap (G3) Nov. 11 at Aqueduct.
The sophomore son of champion Lookin At Lucky won both his starts last winter at Gulfstream, breaking his maiden Dec. 23 and coming back with an optional claiming allowance victory Feb. 4. From there he lost to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah three times, sandwiching wins in the Peter Pan (G2) and West Virginia Derby (G2) around a sixth in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
“We expect him to run well,” Pletcher said. “He might be a little better at a mile and an eighth, but we wanted to keep him around two turns.”
Pletcher hopes to use the Harlan’s Holiday as a springboard for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1), the first major race in the country for older horses Feb. 6.
“We came down here with this race in mind. We kind of felt like we ideally wanted a prep possibly for the Donn, and thought this was the one that made the most sense,” Pletcher said. “He won here last year and we felt like the Donn might be a big chance for him, so we’re going to try this route.”
Crossed Sabres Farm’s Valid had his win streak snapped when sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, following victories in the Iselin (G3) and Groomstick Stakes Sept. 26 at Gulfstream, where he has five wins from 11 career starts.
Florida-bred Mr. Jordan, winner of the Pegasus (G3) in June, is set to make his first start since finishing seventh behind American Pharoah in the Haskell Invitational (G1) Aug. 2. Ami’s Holiday, a bay Harlan’s Holiday colt that won the 2013 Grey Stakes (G3) and ran in all three legs of Canada’s Triple Crown in 2014, returns to the dirt for the first time since running third in the Ben Ali (G3) at Keeneland April 11.
Rounding out the field are Mexicoma, third to Grade 1 winners Constitution and Tonalist in a 2014 allowance at Gulfstream, and graded stakes-placed Encryption, Just Call Kenny, Lynx and Juan and Bina.
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