Csaba, Delegation, Duke of Mischief, and Cash Rules are among the leading entrants in a field of nine 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. The Harlan's Holiday is race nine on a 10-race card, with an approximate post time of 4:35 p.m. EST.
Cash Rules, a 5-year-old Florida homebred Peace Rules gelding, has won four straight stakes at Calder Race Course & Casino for owner Larry Fugate and trainer David Fawkes. Fawkes will also send out Joann and Alex Lieblong and partners' 6-year-old Duke of Mischief, who has posted career earnings of more than $1.9 million.
Jockey Javier Castellano will have the mount on Cash Rules, who captured the Oct. 13 Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. III) by three-quarters of a length and took the Carl Rose Classic wire-to-wire by 1 1/2 lengths as the 3-10 favorite Nov. 10.
Cash Rules showed promise early in his career, winning three of six starts as a 3-year-old in 2010, but was sidelined with a knee injury for 15 months until returning to competition in an allowance race at Gulfstream in March.
"He took much longer to come back than we expected," Fawkes said. "We always thought he had the ability, and now he's showing it and improving with each start."
While Cash Rules has established himself almost strictly at Calder, Duke of Mischief has been a major player on the national stage during his career. He will be making his first start since April 14 when he finished second to Caixa Eletronica in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (gr. II), a race he won in 2011 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
The Florida homebred son of Graeme Hall won the 2009 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows as a 3-year-old and the 2010 Oaklawn Park Handicap (gr. II) and Philip H. Iselin Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park as a 4-year-old.
"Sunday's race is a starting point to get him going again," Fawkes said of Duke of Mischief. "If all goes well this race will set both horses up to run in the Sunshine Millions Classic (Jan. 19) and possibly the Charles Town Classic as well."
Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff's 3-year-old Csaba will attract support after winning his last two starts in stakes at Calder for jockey Luis Saez and trainer Phil Gleaves. The son of Kitten's Joy romped home a 14-length winner of the off-the-turf Tropical Park Derby in October before posting a dead-heat score in the Nov. 24 Fred Hooper Handicap (gr. IIIT) .
Csaba was on the road over the summer, finishing a game second in the off-the-turf Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. II) and ninth on turf in the Equalize Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in August. He disappointed again when seventh in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) at Parx Racing in September before coming home for the two stakes victories.
"We were disappointed in his race at Parx, but he had some trouble in the race," said Gleaves. "With his pedigree, I would have bet he would be a turf horse and we tried that several times. From now on, the only time he'll see grass is when he's turned out in a paddock."
Delegation finished a good third last out behind Tapizar in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 3. The lightly-raced 3-year-old Speightstown gelding has been on the board in all seven career starts and won the Durham Cup (Can-III) at Woodbine on Polytrack in his final start prior to the Breeders' Cup. The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile was his first run on dirt.
Scatman, who enters the Harlan's Holiday off a pair of allowance tallies going seven furlongs over the Keeneland Polytrack and the main track at Churchill Downs, is also worth a look. The son of Scat Daddy won an off-the-turf race by 5 3/4 lengths on Nov. 5; earlier in the season he made a brief bid at the Triple Crown trail when placing in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) and Rebel Handicap (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
Lisa Parbhoo Racing's 6-year-old Ducduc will be a longshot with a chance for trainer Shivananda Parbhoo. The son of Langfuhr finished second behind Csaba in the Spend a Buck and then moved up to dead-heat with that rival in the Fred Hooper with some trouble in the race.