The Harlan's Holiday Stakes is the anchor race on Saturday’s card at Gulfstream Park. Contested at a mile and a sixteenth, the race has attracted an excellent field of eight three-year olds and upward. Under the allowance conditions of the race, the two three-year-olds will actually be carrying more weight than their elders. The race is the tenth on an eleven race card, and the field is as follows:
1. Our Dark Knight—4/C—E. Trujillo—N. Zito, 117
2. Duke of Mischief—5/H—J. Bravo—D. Fawkes, 117
3. Trickmeister—4/C—J. Castellano—R. Dutrow, Jr., 117
4. I’m Steppin’ It Up—3/C—J. Rose—A. Pecoraro, 120
5. Zimmer—5/H—J. Castanon—P. Byrne, 117
6. Boys At Tosconova—3/C—M. Madrid—R. Dutrow, Jr., 119
7. Sky Venture—4/G—J. Leyva—C. Paul, 117
8. Decaf Again—5/G—D. Centeno—B. Rose, 117
Boys At Tosconova and Duke of Mischief are the most accomplished of the field. Duke of Mischief (Graeme Hall—My Lady Amelia, by Real Courage), a multiple Grade 2 and Grade 3 winner, is looking to rebound from a 10th place finish last out in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Stakes. The 5-year old son of Graeme Hall has 7 wins from 23 career starts and is 2 for 5 at Gulfstream. Boys At Tosconova (Officer—Little Bonnet, by Coronado’s Quest), a Grade 1 winner last year as a juvenile, is being asked to route for the first time since his second place finish to last year’s Juvenile champion Uncle Mo. In 6 starts, Boys has won 3 times and has never finished off the board.
I’m Steppin’ It Up (Congrats—Cindy Woo Who, by Thunder Gulch), the other 3-year old in the race, is the high weight of the race. In 15 career starts, the colt has 4 wins and has landed on the board 67% of the time. He is 0 for 1 at Gulfstream but enters Saturday’s race on a two race winning streak. He comes into the race off a two month layoff and was 1st last out in the 1 mile Chief Tamanaco Stakes.
Undefeated Trickmeister (Proud Citizen—Afternoon Trick, by Afternoon Deelites) looks to extend his winning streak to five races, but this will be his first start since August of 2010. In his last start, the 4-year old Proud Citizen colt demolished four rivals, including fellow Harlan's Holiday starter Our Dark Knight, in the Pleasant Colony Stakes by 11 ¾ lengths. Trainer Rick Dutrow, Jr. was pointing the colt to last year’s edition of the Pennsylvania Derby, but Trickmeister was sidelined by cannon bone issues. Aside from his long layoff, however, Trickmeister, along with Boys At Tosconova and Zimmer, has the disadvantage of never having raced at Gulfstream. His three most recent works have been at Gulfstream though, and, judging by his works, he appears to have taken to the surface well.
The rest of the field is comprised by a quartet of older contenders. Our Dark Knight (Medaglia d’Oro—Drifa, by Tabasco Cat) looks to snap a six race losing streak. A winner of 4 in 17 career starts, the 4-year old son of Medaglia d’Oro was 3rd last out in a one mile allowance optional claiming race. Zimmer (Empire Maker—Bella Chiarra, by Phone Trick) has two wins in fourteen starts and enters the race off a 7th place finish in the mile and an eighth G3 River City Handicap last out. Sky Venture (Sky Mesa—Honeymooner, by Suave Prospect) was 4th last out in the G3 Fred W. Hooper Handicap at 1 1/8 mile and four wins in 26 career starts. Decaf Again (Wised Up—Pot of Coffee, by Kris S.) rounds out the field. He has the most experience at Gulfstream but only has 2 wins in 17 tries at the track. He is also the most experienced overall with 7 wins in 61 career starts. His last race was a 1 mile allowance optional claiming affair in which he finished 9th. None of these four entrants have won races other than maiden, claiming, or allowance affairs.
Though Trickmeister and Boys At Tosconova will likely be the top two choices in the Harlan's Holiday, it is unlikely that both will start. Samantha Siegel of Jay Em Ess Stable, who owns a share in Boys At Tosconova, stated that either Trickmeister or Boys At Tosconova will be scratched from Saturday’s race. Duke of Mischief and I’m Steppin’ It Up will likely also be bet down to short odds. Looking for a dark horse? Look no further than Our Dark Knight. He has not had much success in graded stakes races, but he has hit the board in non-graded stakes races. Otherwise, look for the race to be all about Duke of Mischief, I’m Steppin’ It Up, and Boys At Tosconova or Trickmeister, whichever one ends up starting.