June 22, 2024

Halladay tops Ft. Lauderdale; Tax back for Harlan’s Holiday

Halladay (c) Lauren King/Coglianese Photos

Perfect from three starts over the course, Grade 1 winner Halladay will return to Gulfstream Park for Saturday’s $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale (G2). The 1 1/8-mile turf affair headlines five stakes on the 11-race program.

Halladay exits a front-running effort in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in which he lead to upper stretch, weakening to be beaten only 2 1/2 lengths in sixth. The 4-year-old War Front colt led wire to wire in the Fourstardave H. (G1) at Saratoga two starts back, and he easily captured both attempts at Gulfstream earlier this season.

Todd Pletcher trains the gray front-runner, and Luis Saez retains the mount. Halladay heads a 10-horse field.

Somelikeithotbrown enters in good form for Mike Maker, leading all the way when posting a comfortable tally over state-bred rivals in the Oct. 24 Mohawk S. at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old Big Brown colt has repeatedly shown his class against open stakes foes, winning the Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga this summer and finishing second in the Dinner Party (G2) at Pimlico two starts back, and he should be prominent from the break with Tyler Gaffalione.

Dinner Party winner Factor This, a three-time Grade 2 winner this season and eighth most recently in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, does his best running on the front end for Brad Cox. By The Factor, the classy 5-year-old has won six stakes over the past two seasons, equaling or establishing three course records, and the millionaire will make his first attempt over Gulfstream’s turf. Jose Ortiz picks up assignment.

French Group 3 winner Delaware will remove blinkers following a neck third in the Nov. 14 Artie Schiller S. at Aqueduct. Winless from four U.S. starts, the Chad Brown-trained late runner should receive a favorable setup beneath Irad Ortiz Jr.

Pletcher will also send out multiple restricted stakes victor Largent, and Maker is double-barreled with Tide of Sea, who tries stakes rivals following a pair of convincing allowance wins at Kentucky Downs and Keeneland. Doswell will bring a two-race win streak to his stakes debut for Barclay Tagg. Breaking the Rules, Channel Cat, and Spooky Channel complete the lineup.

One race earlier to the Ft. Lauderdale, multiple graded stakes winner Tax will return from a six-month layoff against six rivals in the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday S. (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Last seen finishing sixth in the Oaklawn H. (G2), Tax posted top Brisnet Speed ratings during his 3-year-old season, including wins in the Jim Dandy (G2) and Withers (G3). The 4-year-old Arch gelding experience rough trips in both starts earlier this year, stumbling out of the gate in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and drawing a wide post in the Oaklawn, and he shows a couple of bullet works in preparation for Danny Gargan. Saez rides.

Phat Man has shown an affinity for Gulfstream. Second at 28-1 odds in last year’s Harlan’s Holiday, the gelding opened his 6-year-old season with a victory in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) a month later. Phat Man likely needed his last start, an unplaced effort at 7-furlongs, following a seven-month freshening, and Irad Ortiz guides the late runner for Kent Sweezy.

Tatweej, who has raced exclusively at Gulfstream, brings a three-race win streak into his initial stakes appearance. Pletcher trains the 4-year-old Tapit colt, and Edgard Zayas will be back up on the front-runner.

Grade 1 winner Math Wizard will try to snap a six-race losing skid. Grade 3 upsetter Identifier, Eye of a Jedi, and Royal Urn are also entered.