Keying Audible in the Harlan's Holiday Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

December 12th, 2018

On a stakes-packed day of racing at Gulfstream Park, one of the highlights is the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile event that serves as a logical steppingstone toward the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (gr. I) six weeks from now.

The overwhelming favorite figures to be #1 Audible, who has not run a bad race in seven starts, winning five and finishing third in the other two, one of which was the 2018 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Condition by Gulfstream’s perennial leading trainer Todd Pletcher, Audible went 2-for-2 at Gulfstream last winter while scoring decisive victories in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) and the Florida Derby (gr. I), earning excellent BRIS speed figures of 105 and 107.

Following a post-Derby layoff, Audible returned to action in the seven-furlong Cherokee Run Stakes on November 3rd at Churchill Downs and produced a big rally from off the pace to win by two lengths. That should serve as a perfect sharpener for the Harlan’s Holiday, a race in which Audible boasts a nearly 12-point advantage on the BRIS Prime Power scale.

Furthermore, Audible seems poised to receive an ideal trip in the Harlan’s Holiday, even while breaking from post position one. #3 Sightforsoreeyes appears to have been entered at least in part to serve as a pacemaker for the late-running #2 Minute Madness (both are owned by Loooch Racing Stables), and a fast pace certainly wouldn’t bother Audible, who generally prefers to come from behind even though he does possess reasonably sharp tactical speed. Audible’s own stablemate #4 Village King, winner of the Red Smith Stakes at Aqueduct last month, is another runner with another speed to ensure a decent pace.

In other words, I feel no inclination to take a stand against Audible in the Harlan’s Holiday. Quite to the contrary, I’ll single him on top of the exotic wagers while heavily favoring Village King underneath, who looks like clearly the second-fastest horse on paper based off his victory in the Red Smith, where he rallied from just off a slow pace to win by a nose over the graded stakes-placed Soglio.

Let’s see if we can’t use this strategy to crush the trifecta and the superfecta:

$8 trifecta: 1 with 4 with 2,5 ($16) $6 trifecta: 1 with 2 with 4 ($6) $2 superfecta: 1 with 4 with 2,5 with 2,5 ($8)

Good luck!