Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Even-money favorite Liam’s Map
proved a little too tough down the stretch and won Saturday’s $100,000
Harlan’s Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Liam’s Map had to
overcome rival Valid’s physical stretch drive to win the 1 1/16-mile stakes in
just his fourth career start.
Liam’s Map pressed the early pace of Csaba until he went to the lead on the
far turn. Valid, the 7-2 third pick in the eight-horse field, engaged Liam’s
Map around the turn and the two battled through the stretch, banging against
each other to the wire.
Liam’s Map held on for a half-length victory over Valid with 2-1 second choice
Pants On Fire finishing third.
“We had a really good trip and he put in a really good fight with the other
horse,” Velazquez said. “He hasn’t run in a lot of really tough races, but he
ran really good. He’s inexperienced, but he put in a really good fight and
that’s what counts. The other horse came to him and he fought all the way down
to the wire.”
Schivarelli was fourth followed by Rose to Gold, Hy Kodiak Warrior and
Hampstead Heath. Csaba was eased down the stretch.
The time for the Harlan’s Holiday was 1:42.51 on a fast track.
Liam’s Map, owned by Teresa Viola racing Stables, added $60,000 to his
bankroll which now stands at $164,800. The 3-year-old colt notched his first
stakes win and his third victory overall.
“We knew he had a lot of natural ability,” Pletcher said. “What I like is a
good horse looked him in the eye and he responded. He’s still a horse that’s
learning to run and with a race like that it could do him a lot of good
because his last two wins have been pretty effortless.”
Liam’s Map paid $4.20, $2.80 and $2.20. Valid returned $4.20 and $2.40, and
Pants On Fire paid $2.20 to show.