Handicapping Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream

Trainer Todd Pletcher Saddles the 3 Favorites in Harlan’s Holiday Stakes

The $100,000 running of the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes is Saturday’s feature race at Gulfstream, one of five scheduled stakes on Dec. 17. Harlan’s Holiday (G3) will be run as a graded stakes for the 1st time and serves as a prep race for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 28. The field of 7 is led by Todd Pletcher’s three runners (Stanford, Madefromlucky, & Keen Ice).



Keen Ice is coming off a nice 3rd place finish behind Arrogate and California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. His claim to fame was upsetting American Pharaoh in the Travers Stakes last year. But his overall record of only 2 wins from 18 career starts doesn’t warrant him being the morning line betting favorite to many sharp handicappers. Keen Ice hasn’t hit the board in two stats at Gulfstream. This race course favors speed horses in a big way and is very hard on late running types such as Keen Ice (9/5). The best distance for Keen Ice is 1 ¼ miles, and he’ll need some super speed up front to get the best trip for his late running style. The better runner from the Todd Pletcher barn is the son of Lookin At Lucky, Madefromlucky (3/1), as he has a real affinity for this surface and has early speed as well.  His career running line from 16 starts is 4 Wins, 5 Place, & 2 Shows. He’s also has 2 wins and a place from 4 starts over the Gulfstream oval.

Here are the other runners at bigger prices that have a shot to score and hit the betting board.

Awesome Slew (6/1) is a homebred from Live Oak Plantation from the sire Awesome Again.  Awesome Slew’s trainer Eddie Plesa has been very bullish on the colt and he’s just maturing at the right time as he will be turning 4-years-old in January and the older male handicap division will be wide open once California Chrome heads to the breeding shed. We see Awesome Slew flanking both Pletcher’s horses and anticipate him locking heads with those two down the lane. We’ll find out if he’s good enough to keep this type company in 2017.

Hy Riverside (15/1) is a very intriguing long shot. He’s staring the 2nd time coming off the bench as the last start over this surface was off a 3 month layoff. Before he was turned out he was running with authority as he had 3 wins and 2 places in a 5 race stretch. He’s also 70% ITM (In The Money) over this surface at Gulfstream Park with 3 wins, 3 places, and 1 show from 10 starts. Also take note he only has 4 career wins and 3 of those were over this Gulfstream surface.

Harlan’s Holiday is Race 7 on Sat., Dec. 17 with post time at 3:01 p.m. ET.

Kenny Schmitt contributed to this article. Follow him on Twitter @FBWinners

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