Harlan’s Holiday (Gulfstream Park) Predictions, Odds & Picks
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Tax (7/2)
Post Position and Odds – Harlan’s Holiday
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream Park!
|L Saez||D Gargan|
|I Ortiz Jr.||J K Sweezey|
|J Ortiz||O Gonzalez|
|4||EYE OF A JEDI||15/1|
|M Meneses||S Budhoo|
|J Bravo||K Breen|
|T Gaffalione||S Joseph Jr.|
|E Zayas||T Pletcher|
Best Bets for the Harlan’s Holiday
Here are my plays ($50 in total)
$15 Exacta part wheel – Tax over Phat Man and Tatweej = $30
$10 Exacta part wheel – Phat Man and Tatweej over Tax = $20
In a race that serves as a local prep for next month’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup, the lightly raced but highly regarded Tatweej headlines a field of seven set for Saturday’s Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream Park.
A $2.5 million yearling purchase three years ago at Keeneland, the son of Tapit did not make it to the races until the summer of this, his 4-year-old season when he finished third in his debut. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Tatweej then rattled off three consecutive decisive scores going a mile each time at Gulfstream Park while ridden by Edgar Zayas. The 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday will mark his stakes debut.
Chief among his rivals will be the 6-year-old gelding Phat Man. The son of Munnings showed career-best form this past winter at Gulfstream Park when he finished second in last year’s Harlan’s Holiday, before winning the Grade 3 Fred Hooper followed by another second in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile. After more than eight months away from the races, he returned with a decent effort recently, beaten just four lengths in a strong edition of the Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland.
Another who should get plenty of support is the Arch geldingTax. The Grade 2 Jim Dandy and Grade 3 Withers winner in 2019 has finished off the board in his only two starts this year, but they both came against top competition in the Pegasus World Cup and Oaklawn Park Handicap respectively. He hasn’t raced in seven months but has been training well of late for trainer Danny Gargan.
How to Watch Harlan’s Holiday
|Harlan’s Holiday Race Information|
|What||Harlan’s Holiday (Grade 3)|
|When||Saturday, December 12 — 4:09 pm Eastern time|
|How to Watch||TVG|
Bred to be a star, we still really don’t know where the career of this one is headed. He has won three in a row after a decent third in his debut and has looked good doing it. On the other hand, this will finally be his stakes debut, so you have to wonder if he was really something good, why didn’t a stakes debut come earlier? Still, as a developing Todd Pletcher runner, he could well develop into a serious graded stakes performer and roll over this field, but considering the step up in class, and the low odds, I will not be running to the windows to play him.
His return after more than eight months away may not stimulate the senses, but it was a fast and talented sprint, and he was making headway down the lane. In other words, it was a solid prep. Now back at his favorite track, he looks primed to pick up where he left off last winter. His form in three consecutive graded stakes at Gulfstream Park was quite good, and he may only need to demonstrate that kind of form to become a rallying winner on Saturday. He checks a lot of boxes but will have some talented horses in front of him as he turns for home. He is a major contender.
You never know for sure what you will get from a horse who has been away for more than 7 months, but I do see a lot of good signs for the multiple graded stakes winner. He has drawn the rail in a race without too much early speed. As fresh as he is, and as well as he has been working in the mornings, I feel it likely that he will go right to the lead under an aggressive and talented rider in Luis Saez. Once he’s there, he has proven to be a very stubborn horse in the past, and I expect this more mature version of the 4-year-old gelding to show that toughness again. He is the top pick to pull off a minor upset on Saturday.
Since winning the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby back in September of 2019, the son of Algorithms has yet to find it back to the winner’s circle in six subsequent starts. He has faced solid competition in most of those losses but just has not validated that Grade 1 upset with similar-looking runs. His best effort since came when second to the talented Global Campaign in July’s Monmouth Cup. A similar effort to that gives him a chance in here, but I will pass on the late runner who has only won 3 times in 19 lifetimes starts.
This one has had a good run of racing recently in New Jersey at Monmouth Park, accounting for two stakes wins in his last five starts. Most recently he scored a determined victory in the Dan Horn 7 weeks ago. If he can transfer that good form south to Gulfstream Park he rates a chance as he steps up in class. With good tactical speed, he is likely to sit a good stalking trip behind Tax and Tatweej. From there, he should have a chance under the experienced hands of Joe Bravo, but I do like the other two speed horses better.
Eye of a Jedi
The good news is that he did win a stakes race at Gulfstream Park in his last start. Now for the bad news — That win came nearly five months ago and Saturday’s Harlan’s Holiday will be significantly tougher than what he found in the Sea of Tranquility back in July. Gulfstream is definitely the son of Eye of a Leopard’s track, but I just don’t see him fitting in well with this bunch.
Another longshot who is a stakes winner at Gulfstream Park, when he upset the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope at odds of 60-1 earlier this year. Since then it’s been slim pickings for the son of Creative Cause, finishing well beaten in his four subsequent starts. He did finish second to Bodexpress last time, and that one took home a Grade 1 score in his next start, but he was 11 ¼-lengths back in second. If he can somehow summon the late kick he displayed back in March, he has a shot, but he is hard to recommend considering his recent form.
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
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