Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Park drew a field of seven that will go 1 1/16 miles on the main track led by Phat Man.
The six-year-old gelding trained by Kent Sweezey is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line and makes his second start off the bench.
The Danny Gargan trained Tax is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The gelding is making his first start since a fifth in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) back in May.
The Haran’s Holiday is one of four stakes on the Gulfstream Park card and the race serves as a prep for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 23.
The others stakes on the card are the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2), $100,000 Rampart (G3) and the $75,000 My Charmer.
Phat Man gave Sweezey his first graded stakes win as a trainer with his victory in the Fred Hooper (G3) back in January. He looks capable of moving forward in his second start off the bench.
“He was hung out wide.” Sweezey said. “He’s huge. He’s the biggest horse I’ve been around. He’s massive. I thought he got a little tired which goes to show you he needed one under his belt.”
Todd Pletcher will saddle Tatweej, who was a $2.5 million Keeneland purchase back in 2017 and is making his stakes debut after zipping through his first two allowance conditions over the main track here at a mile.
“He’s a very well-bred horse and always showed some talent. It took a little while to kind of get to the races, but he’s been ultra-consistent since he has,” Pletcher said. “This is kind of his coming out party, so to speak, if he’s able to handle this step up.”
I will have my selections and analysis for all four stakes in Saturday’s Best Plays Report along with the feature at Aqueduct which is the $100,000 Alex M. Robb.
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Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 9 The Harlan’s Holiday G3 (4:09 ET)
2 Phat Man 5-2
7 Tatweej 4-1
1 Tax 2-1
6 Math Wizard 9-2
This gelding is making his second start off an eight-month layoff here for the Sweezey barn. Last out in the Lafayette at Keeneland going seven furlongs he raced near the back of the pack was caught out wide and finished evenly in a sixth-place finish, beaten four lengths. The runner up True Timber came back to win the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct last week. Our top pick has run well over the main track here, landing in the exacta in all three trips including his two top career Beyers. He won the Fred Hooper (G3) here three back at a mile and then was second to Mr Freeze in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2). He has worked sharply since his return effort and will appreciate the stretch out to a route here. He reunites with Irad who was aboard for his Hooper win.
The Pletcher trainee makes his stakes debut here after winning his last three starts. He beat Alw-2 optional claimers last out in the slop at a mile, drawing off to win by 3 ¾ lengths. This guy was purchased for $2.5 million back in ’17 but did not make his debut until June here where he was third. This will be his first trip going two turns and he gets a class test. The colt still looks as if he has plenty of upside and he should be forwardly placed in a field here without a ton of early zip signed up. The 4-1 morning line seems generous. He may end up lighter.
Trained by Danny Gargan this gelding is making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) back in May. He has not won since taking the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga in July of 2019 going 1 1/8 miles. He was fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) prior to that win. The gelding has been working quickly for his return for a barn that is 41% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff. He ran well three back in the Discovery (G3) at Aqueduct which was off a three-month break.
WIN: Phat Man to win at 5-2 or better.
EXACTA: 2 / 1,6,7 and 2,7 / 1,2,7