Updated: Pedigree of the Day, Holiday Music, Wins & Claimed / Guess We Were Right

(Photo of Harlan’s Holiday / Courtesy of Starlight Racing)

Update: In the second race at the Fair Grounds today, Holiday Music, a 4YO filly dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time, came with a rush from just off the pace to win, pulling away at odds of $3.20-to-1.

As we suggested below, we thought that she may be worth a claim ticket. And, good friend and trainer Neil Pessin must have thought so, too. He picked up the Harlan’s Holiday filly for the $30,000 purchase price.

Good luck, Neil.  We thought we was a bargain, too.

There is a 4-year-old filly that will be dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time in her race career today at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans that may be worth taking a second look at, and worth considering for the $30,000 asking price.

Her name is Holiday Music, a daughter of Harlan’s Holiday who just turned 4 years old today. (I discuss her race chances today a bit more in the “McLean’s Picks” segment, as well.)

To date, Holiday Music has had a modest racing career. As a 2-year-old in 2016, she made just two starts. But they were credible ones. She ran a second and a third. In 2017, she moved up the bar a notch. She scored her first win and had two more seconds. In total, she has earned nearly $40,000.

But Holiday Music’s real value may not come on the racetrack. It may be her career to come, in the breeding shed. And, at today’s asking price, she may be worth the gamble as a broodmare prospect.

Just consider the following:

Her dam is Stage Magic, a daughter of Ghostzapper who had 3 wins at 3 and earned over $133,000. She was second in the New Orleans Stakes at the Fair Grounds, and third in the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs. But, more impressively, she was a game third — beaten 63/4 lengths after pressing the pace — against the great Champion Groupie Doll in the Grade 3 Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park.

Stage Magic hasn’t been a success (yet) as a broodmare. In her first five foals, she has had two to race and two winners. A colt by Street Sense, The Lieutenant, did win in 2017 and has earned over $108,000 so far. But she still has a chance, and her daughters certainly have the right to become producers — especially if you dig a bit deeper into the pedigree.

The second dam is Magical Illusion, who was Graded Stakes Placed, as well, and earned over $141,000 in her race career. John Gunther, who still owns Holiday Music, bought Magical Illusion for a whopping $425,000 in the Keeneland January Sale in 2005. In her race career, she won three of 6 starts and was third to the great Champion Ashado in the Grade 1 Coaching Club of America Stakes in New York.

Her best foal was Stage Magic, but Magical Illusion — who was sired by the great Pulpit (the sire of Tapit) — is the daughter of Voodoo Lily. The daughter of Baldski was a Graded Stakes winner, capturing the G3 Columbia Stakes at Laurel Park. Voodoo Lily produced GSP-winner Lily O’Gold, GSP-winner Shah Jehan, SP-winner Live Every Day and SP-winner Miss Primetime — all in addition to Magical Illusion.

And, to top things off, the family is very much alive today, as well. Voodoo Lily’s daughter Layreebelle, by Tale of the Cat, is the dam of Kid Cruz — who won nearly $800,000, including the G3 Dwyer Stakes — and Spellbound — who won $231,000, including the G2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.

If that isn’t enough pedigree power to light you up, just add in the fact that Holiday Music is by Harlan’s Holiday.

As you know by now if you have been watching and reading this column space, I’m a sucker for Harlan’s Holiday, who used to stand his stud career at Airdrie Stud in Midway for the family of Gov. Brereton C. Jones, his lovely wife, Libby, and his son, Bret.

Harlan’s Holiday, a grand-son of the great Storm Cat, was a great runner, in his own right. He won over $3.6 million and captured the Grade 1 Florida Derby along the way for his owners at the time, Jack and Laurie Wolf’s highly successful Starlight Stable.

The colt, who cost just $97,000 at the 2000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale, more than recouped his purchase price as a striking 2YO. He won 4 stakes that season, including the 2001 G3 Iroquois Stakes. At 3, he not only won the Florida Derby, but also captured the G1 Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland. And, at age 4, he won the G1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park and finished second in the Daubai World Cup.

But, truly, Harlan’s Holiday — who was only 14 years old when he passed in November of 2013 at Argentina’s Haras Firmamento Farm —  left a lasting impression on the history of the breed as a stallion. As a sire of 10 crops, Harlan’s Holiday produced 1110 starters out of just 1,332 foals. He had 91 stakes winners in that group — including 6 champions.

His best running son, arguably, was Shanghai Bobby — who I like, as well. Shanghai Bobby, who nows stands at stud at Coolmore/Ashford in Versailles, KY, was a remarkable runner, winning over $1.8 million — including the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for trainer Bob Baffert. He won the Eclipse Award as the 2YO champ, and now has a top 2YO son of his own in Gotta Go, who won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs this Fall and is now in Florida being prepped by trainer Ian Wilkes for the 2018 Triple Crown prelims.

(Into Mischief / Photo Courtesy of Spendthrift Farm)

His best son, to date, though, would have to be Into Mischief, who won the G1 Cash Call Futurity as a 2YO and was second in the G1 Malibu Stakes as a 3YO. Into Mischief is now one of the most successful young stallions in the world and has sired such grand runners as Goldencents, already, and has had another terrific year in 2017.

And, Harlan’s Holiday has continued to stamp his name and mark on the racing game — even into 2017.  His son, Good Samaritan, won his first try ever on the dirt when he won the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga this summer. Good Samaritan — who hails from Harlan’s Holiday’s last crop — ran impressively to finish third in the G1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs this Fall.

In Harlan’s Holiday’s first crop, he eventually produced nine stakes winners — 4 of whom won Graded events — from 96 foals.

And, as time passes, it certainly appears that the daughters of Harlan’s Holiday will have every chance to be just as good in the breeding shed as his sons — like Into Mischief — have already proven to be.

So, in short, there is plenty of sire power here to like the buy.

 

When we straightened for home, I felt like he started running. I put him in the clear, but when I hit him left-handed, he drifted out in the two or three path. But he was running. Inside the eighth pole to the wire, I was hoping I’d get there. It was so close, I didn’t know if I had it. He broke OK. He was very relaxed the whole time, and that’s the point, get your horse to relax. He kicked home very well.”

Jose Ortiz, Winning rider
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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