April 16, 2024

Fearless much the best in Harlan’s Holiday

Fearless wins the Harlan's Holiday Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

A fondness for Gulfstream Park’s main track was on display again Saturday when Fearless drew off to win the $150,000 Harlan’s Holiday S. (G3) by four lengths as the 3-5 favorite under Luis Saez.

Waiting in the wings as second choice Mighty Heart and longshot Blue Steel battled for the lead down the backside, Fearless made a three-wide bid around the far turn, took the lead approaching the stretch, and asserted himself to earn his fourth win in five career starts over the Florida oval.

“I had a lot of horse at the three-eighths. That’s why I went early, because he’s a big horse and takes a little time to get going. He did it perfect,” Saez said.

Owned by Repole Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, Fearless covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.19 and paid $3.20. South Bend rallied for second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Mighty Heart. Blue Steel faded to fourth, and it was a long way back to Twenty Twice. Eye of a Jedi was pulled up on the far turn and vanned off.

Fearless won his first two starts at Gulfstream so impressively during the 2019-20 meet that he was favored in the 2020 New Orleans Classic (G2) in just his third career start. Elevated to fifth that day, he didn’t fare much better in his next stakes attempt either, finishing sixth in the Stephen Foster (G2).

However, the gelded son of Ghostzapper returned from a long layoff last February to win the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2). Second by a half-length to Silver State in the Oaklawn H. (G2) in April, he was next third in the Pimlico Special (G3) before hitting the sidelines. He entered the Harlan’s Holiday off a second-place finish in a Nov. 21 overnight handicap, his only loss to date over the Gulfstream strip. His record now stands at 11-5-3-1, $576,550.

Bred in Kentucky by the Helen Groves Revocable Trust, Fearless is by Ghostzapper and out of the multiple Grade 1-placed And Why Not, by Street Cry. Fearless is a half-brother to the stakes-winning Just Whistle.

Sugar Swirl S. (G3)

Center Isle recovered from a slight stumble at the start, contested the pace, and then won a stretch battle with 11-10 favorite Frank’s Rockette to claim the $100,000 Sugar Swirl S. (G3) by one length under Luis Saez.

Now undefeated in three starts since joining the Paulo Lobo barn, Center Isle returned $6.20 after completing six furlongs in 1:09.54. Frank’s Rockette finished five lengths clear of Bronx Beauty for the place.

Owned by OXO Equine, Center Isle was earning her first stakes win. She had run third behind Frank’s Rockette in the 2020 editions of the Victory Ride (G3) and Prioress (G2) when trained by Chad Brown. Her record now stands at 8-4-0-3, $263,190.

A Kentucky-bred four-year-old who will now be pointed to the Jan. 29 Inside Information (G2), Center Aisle is by Into Mischief and out of Specification, an Empire Maker half-sister to two-time Pacific Classic (G1) winner Skimming.

Rampart S.

In the $100,000 Rampart S. for fillies and mares, Dance d’Oro registered a wire-to-wire, two-length victory in her stakes debut under Emisael Jaramillo.

A homebred racing for Whisper Hill Farm and trained by Ralph Nicks, Dance d’Oro prevailed over Don’t Get Khozy and 8-5 favorite Allworthy in a time of 1:35.92 for one mile.

A four-year-old by Medaglia d’Oro, Dance d’Oro is out of the A.P. Indy mare Dance Quietly, a stakes-winning half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, Grade 1 winner Funtastic, Grade 2 heroine Quiet Giant, and Grade 3 scorer Congressionalhonor. Quiet Giant is the dam of 2017 Horse of the Year and hot freshman sire Gun Runner.