Harlan’s Holiday Predictions, Betting Odds, Top Picks (Gulfstream Park)

Harlan’s Holiday Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream Park!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
J Velazquez J Carroll
P Lopez J Hiles
J Leparoux J Sisterson
4 EYE OF A JEDI 10/1
J Castellano S Budhoo
T Gaffalione W Mott
L Saez T Pletcher

Best Bets for the Harlan’s Holiday

Here are my plays ($40 in total)

$5 Trifecta part wheel – Fearless over Mighty Heart over ALL = $20

$5 Trifecta part wheel – Fearless over ALL over Mighty Heart = $20

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Fearless (8/5)

Harlan’s Holiday

Fearless, a Grade 2 winner over the track earlier this year, and Mighty Heart, a champion in Canada, headline a compact field of six set for Saturday’s Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream Park.

A possible prep for the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 29, the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday will be an opportunity for Fearless to redeem his only loss over the Gulfstream Park main track. The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Ghostzapper comes in off a second-place finish in an overnight handicap, in which he lost for the first time in four starts locally. A winner of the Gulfstream Park Mile in February and second in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Park Handicap, this will be his second start back after a layoff.

Mighty Heart, meanwhile, has never before raced in South Florida. The 4-year-old son of Dramedy won the first two legs of Canada’s Triple Crown last year on the way to being named the nation’s best horse. The Ontario-bred colt has added three more stakes this year, including the Blame Stakes at Churchill Downs. In his last start, he won the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes at his home base of Woodbine.

Of the rest, South Bend is likely to be the third betting choice. The stakes winning son of Algorithms ran in last year’s Kentucky Derby and comes in off an allowance win at Churchill Downs in his most recent start.

Race Analysis


This 5-year-old gelded son of Ghostzapper has yet to fulfill the potential he has flashed throughout his career, but back at his favorite track, he should be ready to return to his best on Saturday. Trained by Todd Pletcher, he has won 3-of-4 career starts over the main track at the South Florida oval, including the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile back in February. His only loss locally did come in his last start, but that was his first race in more than six months, and he had to chase a speed horse who ran a big race. With that returning second-place finish under his belt, he has found a good spot to take a step forward. Having a first, second, and third in consecutive graded stakes earlier this year, he certainly fits in with this group, and he is likely to find a nice stalking position on the outside. I like his chances to return to his best. He is the top pick.

Mighty Heart

The Horse of the Year in Canada in 2020 has followed that season up with another good one in 2021. A multiple stakes winner on both dirt and Woodbine’s synthetic surface, this 4-year-old son of Dramedy has added three more stakes wins to his total this year, and has a real shot to make it four on Saturday. Without much speed in the race, he looks poised to be one of the top two early, and then should prove a tough horse to pass down the stretch, as usual. He comes in off a nice win for trainer Josie Carrol, beating the Grade 1 winner Sir Winston in the Autumn Stakes last time. This will be his first try at Gulfstream Park, but a return to dirt should not be a problem. The brave one-eyed horse is the biggest threat to my top pick.

South Bend

A nice rallying winner of his last, which came in a solid one-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs, this 4-year-old son of Algorithms has plenty of stakes experience. A stakes winner at 2, last year he was second in the Ohio Derby and fourth in the Travers. While he hasn’t won much the past two seasons, he has kept good company, and often does well when the competition is not at too high a level. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of speed in here to set the table for his late run. Still, he merits serious consideration on his class alone, and if he can find himself within striking distance at the top of the lane, he might just blow by them all for his second consecutive victory.

Blue Steel

Trained by Jeff Hiles, this son of Will Take Charge has quietly put together a very good season in 2021, winning six of his ten starts. They all came in claiming races, or races restricted to horses who have run in claiming races, though, so this will be his toughest test since finishing 13th in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club more than three years ago. Having said that, he looked good in winning the Claiming Crown over the track just two weeks ago. He also has good early foot in a race lacking much speed. If Mighty Heart lays off him early, he could get brave late. He lacks the class of the three above him, but his speed makes him a danger.

Eye of a Jedi

The house horse, this one has run at Gulfstream Park in 33 of his 35 career starts. A stakes winner in March of this year, the 6-year-old gelding has not been at his best of late, including finishing more than five lengths behind Fearless last time. If we see the Eye of a Jedi that we saw this time last year, he becomes a real threat, but his three recent races have all been disappointing. A return to his best is possible, and this is a race in which he finished second last year, but it’s hard to get too excited for his chances off recent form.

Twenty Twice

After two nice wins at Churchill Downs to close out 2020, this son of Honor Code was away from the races for nearly ten months before appearing back at Churchill Downs in September. In three starts since the layoff, he has failed to hit the board each time. Two of the three were at distances probably longer than he wanted, while the middle one was at the Harlan’s Holiday distance of 1 1/16 miles. He actually ran a decent race in that one, so perhaps he will appreciate the cut back down in distance on Saturday. Once a promising horse, he will need to return to his best to have a shot. He deserves to be a long shot in here, but he is not without hope.

How to Watch Harlan’s Holiday

Harlan’s Holiday Race Information
What Harlan’s Holiday (Grade 3)
Location Gulfstream Park
Time Saturday, December 18 — 3:59pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $150,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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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