(Harlan’s Holiday / Photo Courtesy of Airdrie Stud)
Back on Oct. 8, 2017, the crew at Motley Crew Stables decided to plunk down $30,000 and claim a 3-year-old filly racing in the slop that day at Keeneland. The filly, by the late, great Harlan’s Holiday and out of the Include mare Pious Ashley, faced a field of 10 on the rainy fall day, and she beat half of them. But she really ran a rather dull, flat, non-threatening 5th, beaten a little over 4 lengths.
Ho hum. Couldn’t get too down about the buy. Couldn’t get terribly excited, either. The question was then, as it is today, was and is very simple:
Did the Motley Crew Stables, who have the veteran trainer Angel Montano now in charge of the filly, make a good purchase that day?
Well, as the headline suggests, only time will tell. And, the clock will begin today when the filly will make her first start for the new connections at the Fair Grounds, when she runs in the 4th race today — a maiden special weight event going a mile on the grass in New Orleans.
But, in my not-so-humble opinion, I think they did.
And, here’s why:
First of all, 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.
But that isn’t all to like in this pedigree. Lovemelikeyoudo’s dam is Pious Ashley, who is by another former Airdrie stallion, Include. Pious Ashley won 4 times at ages 3 and 4 and earned over $251,500 in purses. She won the Valid Expectations Stakes at Lone Star and ran second in the Grade 3 Endine Stakes at Delaware Park.
Pious Ashley is also a half-sister to the Graded-Stakes winning mare Hello Liberty, who won the G2 Nassau County Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Belmont Park. Her daughter, Liberty’s Lyric, by Unbridled’s Song, is the dam of Sutton’s Smile, who was third in the G1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos and third in the G3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar.
But the page really gets interesting is in the third and fourth dams, where you see the Graded Stakes Placed winner Most Likely, who was by the great broodmare sire Fappiano, and the Stakes Placed winner Classy Twist, who was by the fabulous sire Twist the Axe.
In short, if Loveyoulikeyoudo can go ahead and run well enough to put some money under her name, and, perhaps, show up on the board in a stakes race somewhere, some how, sometime? Then, she has a chance to be a real steal in the claiming game for the Motley Crew.
Today, the story begins, as she gets back on the grass where she ran a game and closing third at Kentucky Downs back in September. If she can duplicate that effort, she may have a chance today — with the hot Joe Bravo getting the call.
At the very least, it will add some intrigue to a Thursday race card.