Harlan's Holiday Breezes in :47.60

From Churchill Downs:

Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I), breezed four furlongs in :47.60 over a "sloppy" track in his final major training move before a scheduled run in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

Jockey Edgar Prado was in the saddle for the for work as the Ken
McPeek-trained Harlan's Holiday carved out a first quarter in :23.60 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.60. The move was the best of 18 at the distance.

"He went pretty well," said Prado. "It was a little heavy and muddy track and we didn't want him doing more than he really wanted to do. I think he did it pretty easily. It was a nice breeze and he did it all on his own and galloped out real strong. He came back and was bucking and kicking and very happy."

Prado said Harlan's Holiday was very eager in work's early stages. "At first he was pulling hard, but then he relaxed pretty good in the first part of the breeze and he was waiting for my call," Prado said.
"When I called on him he responded."

"It's a good, solid maintenance work for the colt," said McPeek. "He's really easy to maintain and he does things right. He cruised around there no problem."

McPeek was pleased to see his colt gain experience over a wet track. "We ran him once in the mud and I'm kind of glad it rained today because I wanted to work him in the mud," he said. "I'm still not sure he really likes an 'off' track, but he handled it well and he worked good over it."

McPeek said the presence of Harlan's Holiday in his barn "softened the blow" of Monday's loss of his other Kentucky Derby hopeful, Select Stable's Repent. The winner of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and runner-up in the Illinois Derby (gr. II) will undergo surgery on Monday, April 15 to remove a small chip in his left front ankle, an injury that will knock him out of the Kentucky Derby and Visa Triple Crown campaign.

McPeek also said that his star 3-year-old filly, Select Stable's Ashland (gr. I) winner Take Charge Lady, remains on track to take on members of her gender in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), although she was made a late nominee to the Derby and the Triple Crown.

"The filly's going to run in the Oaks and I don't think that's going to change," said McPeek. "Jerry (Select Stable's Jerry Bach) and I had a nice discussion on it last night and we're both in agreement that the Oaks is the goal right now. I've told him, and I'm not sure if he agrees with me or not, but I'd love to think that if she runs back in the Oaks the way she did in the Ashland, then let's try the Preakness. But we've got these options open and it's good to be able to use the other plan if we need it."

James Cassels and Bob Zollars' Easyfromthegitgo, winner of the Lecomte and runner-up in the Louisiana Derby, tuned-up for a scheduled run in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland on April 20 with a six-furlong breeze on Tuesday at Churchill Downs.

Easyfromthegitgo covered the distance on a "sloppy" track in 1:14 under jockey Donnie Meche. The Dehere colt worked in fractions of :24.20 and :50 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:29.60.

Trainer Steve Asmussen expressed satisfaction with breeze. He said the Lexington will definitely be the next stop for his colt and the prospect of a small field in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) at Keeneland has not tempted him to change the colt's schedule.

"From a standpoint of trainer to horse, I've got a great amount of respect for him," he said. "He's showed up and ran hard a lot of times and has been wonderfully consistent. The reason he's running in the Lexington is I think he's got an excellent chance to win it. We're doing what's best for Easyfromthegitgo."

Asmussen indicated that even a big effort by Easyfromthegitgo would not guarantee a bid for the Kentucky Derby. He said the second jewel of the Triple Crown would be a more likely spot for the colt.

"I think that Easyfromthegitgo, if he runs really well in the Lexington, he would probably go straight to the Preakness (GI)," he said. "I'm not eliminating (the Derby), but we're just working with what we have. He's a wonderful horse that has definitely jumped up and surprised a lot of people and he's put in all the work, he hasn't made any short cuts.

"At this stage with these 3-year-olds, I'm not going to eliminate any possibility. I think we have an excellent chance in the Lexington with him and I think we'll lead a lot of horse over there and we're going to feel really good about the spot we have him in. We think that he'll run good and that he'll come back well. We'll simply do that and evaluate the performance off that, but realizing that the Kentucky Derby is a huge stretch for any horse. Running a mile and quarter that day against 20 horses, and there will be full gate this year, is going to be an extremely strenuous occasion and there's no way he or anybody else can do it if it isn't their day."

Easyfromthegitgo has a record of 3-4-1 in eight races and has earned $295,425.

Trainer Steve Margolis said Request For Parole, who finished third in the Lane's End Spiral (gr. II) at Turfway Park in his most recent race, would skip Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and train up to the Derby.

The colt had rebounded slowly from his tough outing in the Lane's End Spiral, in which he set a strong pace and fought hard in the stretch to lose by only a neck to Perfect Drift and Azillion. Request For Parole breezed five furlongs on Sunday at Churchill Downs and Margolis said he came out of that effort in good shape, but a discussion with owners Sam and Jeri Knighton resulted in the decision to bring the son of Judge T C up to Derby 128 on works.

"He's doing good," said Margolis. "We just want to do what's right for the horse and give him the extra time. We'll probably come back an give him a couple of more good works."

The consistent Request For Parole has a career record of 4-3-2 in 10 races and has earned $343,812.

Trainer Dallas Stewart said he was "leaning toward" running Risen Star (gr. III) runner-up Bob's Image in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass... Tom Van Meter and WinStar Farm's Mr. Mellon is scheduled to ship to Oaklawn Park for Saturday's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on a Thursday morning flight... Trainer Patrick Biancone has told Churchill Downs officials that he plans to run Michael Tabor's Mayakovsky, winner of the Gotham (gr. III) and fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), in the $100,000-added Derby Trial (gr. III) on April 27, the opening day of the Churchill Downs meet. The Trial is run over a one-turn mile course similar to the Aqueduct course over which the Matty G colt won the Gotham.