Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Park drew a solid field of seven runners led by a trio sent out by trainer Todd Pletcher, and a strong performance by any of them could send them to next month’s inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Keen Ice is the 9-5 morning line favorite and is looking to snap a seven-race losing streak. His last win came in the Travers (G1) at Saratoga last summer where he upset Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Javier Castellano will ride.
Stanford is the second choice on the morning line at 2-1 and will also be saddled by Pletcher. The colt makes his first start since a disappointing eighth in the Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Park in June.
Pletcher’s third contender is Madefromlucky (3-1), who is making his first start since running second in the Excelsior (G3) at Aqueduct in April.
Completing the field are Joshua’s Comprise (40-1), Awesome Slew (6-1), Hy Riverside (15-1) and Applicator (10-1).
The Harlan’s Holiday goes off as the seventh race on an outstanding 11-race card at Gulfstream Park that features five stakes in total.
There are two other graded stakes on tap—the $100,000 Rampart (G3) and the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (G1). The stakes action is rounded out by the $100,000 El Prado and the $100,000 South Beach.
Fall $100 Sign Up Bonus at TVG. Use coupon code WIN during checkout. Expires 01/15/2017.
Let’s head out to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Gulfstream Park Race 7 The Harlan’s Holiday (G3) Post time 3:01 ET
4 Awesome Slew 6-1
1 Stanford 2-1
6 Keen Ice 9-5
2 Madefromlucky 3-1
Awesome Slew returns off nearly a three month break here for the Plesa barn, his last outing a fifth in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2). The colt set the early fractions and weakened to finish 4 ¾ lengths behind the winner Connect, who returned to win the Cigar Mile (G1) in his next outing while the runner up Gun Runner returned to run second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and then win the Clark ‘Cap (G1). This guy owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and may prove tough to catch if able to shake loose early.
Stanford is one of three Pletcher trainees in here. The colt makes his first start since fading to finish a well beaten eighth in the Met Mile (G1) in June. He was beaten just a head three back over the main track here in a runner up finish in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) and then ran a career top winning the Charles Town Classic (G2). The Pletcher barn is 36% winners (with a +ROI) with runners coming back off a +180 day layoff.
Keen Ice has the distinction of being the only horse to beat American Pharoah during his historic run in 2015, taking the Travers (G1) and beating the Triple Crown winner by ¾ of a length. The colt has lost seven in a row since then, checking in a non-threatening third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in his last outing. He looks as if he she should be primed for a top effort third off the bench here and a strong effort likely sends him to the Pegasus World Cup (G1) next month. His main knock is going to be his light price.
WIN: Awesome Slew to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 1,4 / 1,2,4,6
TRIFECTA: 1,4 / 1,2,4,6 / 1,2,4,5,6
Michael Dempsey’s Gulfstream Park Monthly Special
Check out our Holiday Specials! Get an entire month of Gulfstream Park reports for just $79.95! NOW $59.95 this week only! Michael’s Gulfstream Park Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card! Michael has been handicapping the Florida circuit on a daily basis for nearly three decades.