Devil at the Wire, Holiday Runner Expected in Herecomesthebride

Edited from track notes

Trainer Ken McPeek has a barn full of good horses and will saddle one of them, Devil at the Wire, for Saturday's $100,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. III). The stakes for 3-year-old fillies will be contested at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

"She seems to be improving with every race," McPeek said. "She ran a nice second in a stakes at Calder in her last race and is training well (she worked a half-mile on the dirt in :51 breezing Wednesday)."

Devil at the Wire broke her maiden in her second try on the turf course at Churchill Downs on Oct. 27. She then was third, beaten a neck, in an allowance race on the grass at that same track on Nov. 17 before her trip in the Tropical Oaks at Calder Race Course on Jan. 1. Devil At the Wire was beaten three quarters of a length in that mile and a sixteenth race.

"I think I have horses in stakes races every week for the next month at Gulfstream," McPeek said. "I plan on running Hi Tech Honeycomb in the The Very One (grade III $100,000 handicap for fillies and mares at 1 3/8 miles on Feb. 8). She's been working well (Hi Tech Honeycomb worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 handily on the turf course with the dogs up on Wednesday)."

Holiday Runner will run in the Herecomesthebride Stakes, not the Old Hat Stakes the day after. Both races are for 3-year-old fillies, but the Old Hat is at six furlongs on the main track.

"We nominated her for both races," said Mike Maker, assistant to Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. "All of her races have been in sprints and on the dirt which would favor the Old Hat, but Wayne has been wanting to stretch her out and run her on the turf and this seems to be a good spot."

Holiday Runner won her first three career starts as a juvenile and two of them were stakes races. She won the Three Chimneys Juvenile at Churchill Downs last spring and followed with a victory in the Fashion Stakes at Belmont Park in June. She then was third in the Adirondack (gr. II) at Saratoga on Aug. 12 and was 10th in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at that track in her 2002 finale on Aug. 30.

"She was laid up after the Spinaway at Saratoga," Maker said, "and sent to a farm at Ocala. They got her legged up this winter and shipped her to Tampa Bay where she ran once in a stakes (was fourth in the Sandpiper Stakes on Jan. 11). She needed that race badly. I got her here at Gulfstream and she's been training excellently for me."

Maker worked Holiday Runner on Tuesday and she was clocked in :59 2/5 handily which was the best trial of 12 horses working that distance that day.

Jerkens Will Run Pair in Old Hat Stakes

Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens is planning on running a pair of horses in Saturday's Old Hat Stakes. They are the undefeated stakes-winner Kitty Knight and the stakes-placed House Party. Jerkens had the two fillies work Wednesday and Kitty Knight was clocked in 1:14 3/5 breezing for six furlongs while House Party stopped the watches at 1:04 2/5 breezing for five furlongs.

"They're both training well," Jerkens said. "Kitty Knight won both her starts and beat state-breds in a stakes in Maryland in her last race. House Party was second in a stakes in New York and third in that five furlong stakes here. She should like six furlongs better."

Kitty Knight won both her races this year with her latest victory coming in the Heavenly Cause Stakes for Maryland-breds at Laurel on Oct. 14. House Party was second in the Valley Stream Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct on Nov. 24 and in her last start was third in the Dame Mysterieuse Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 5.