Trainer Ken McPeek sent out a pair of Kentucky Derby prospects for exercise at Gulfstream Park Sunday. Harlan's Holiday went five furlongs in :59 2/5, handily, while Select Stable's Repent breezed three furlongs in :36 1/5 in his first workout of the year. Jockey Tony D'Amico was in the irons for both works.
Harlan's Holiday is nearing his 3-year-old debut, which should occur in Saturday's $100,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III).
"I had him galloping out six furlongs in 1:11 and change," McPeek said. "He went in company with another horse and just drew off from him through the stretch. It was an excellent move and he's coming into the Holy Bull just the way I want."
Ohio-bred Harlan's Holiday (Harlan--Christmas in Aiken, by Affirmed) has won four of six career starts, with all four wins coming in stakes races. He has one win in two starts in two-turn races, and earned his lone graded stakes win in the one-mile Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) around one turn. Harlan's Holiday also finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II), in which he was beaten six lengths by Kentucky Derby future book favorite Siphonic. Siphonic is listed at 5-1 for the Derby by Bally's (odds as of Jan. 9); Harlan's Holiday is available at 35-1.
Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday may be further along in conditioning at this point, but Repent remains McPeek's prime Triple Crown prospect. The son of Preakness winner Louis Quatorze finished second to Johannesburg in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in between victories in two graded stakes, the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II). Johannesburg and Repent are Bally's 6-1 co-second choices in early betting for the Derby.
"He handled the track well," McPeek said of Repent's Sunday breeze. "I'm looking to have him ready to run his first race sometime in February or March."
As for handling the Churchill strip, both of McPeek's prospects have notched graded stakes wins at Churchill Downs.
Siphonic was also out for a work Sunday. The son of Siphon went seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5 on a fast track at Hollywood Park for trainer David Hofmans. Siphonic is scheduled to race in Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita.
"He went very nicely," Hofmans said of the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) winner. "My assistant trainer, Michelle Jensen, was up and he went the last eighth in :11 1/5 and galloped out in 1:39 3/5."
Last year, Hofmans won the 1 1/16-mile Santa Catalina, but not the Derby, with Millennium Wind.
"Siphonic hasn't missed a beat and he's more precocious than Millenium Wind was," said the conditioner. "I'm taking my time with him. I wouldn't say Siphonic is more talented than Millenium Wind, but he's more advanced at similar stages."
Also working toward the Santa Catalina Sunday was Labamta Babe, who went six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 at Hollywood Park for trainer Bobby Frankel.
According to Santa Anita, the following horse and rider combinations are likely for the Santa Catalina: Siphonic, Jerry Bailey; Cottonwood Cowboy, Alex Solis; Labamta Babe, Kent Desormeaux; National Park, Corey Nakatani, and Kedington, no rider named.
(Derby Odds, Bally's