Malibu Moon's graded stakes-winning millionaire Stanford looked very sharp in his three-length score in Saturday's $100,000 Harlan's Holiday S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park, his first race since the Metropolitan H. (G1) six months ago.
With his natural speed, Stanford was in front right from the break and was able to set some fairly comfortable fractions with relatively little pressure. Despite the presence of graded stakes winners Madefromlucky and Keen Ice, Stanford was able to pull away in the stretch to get the 1 1/16-miles in 1:42.10.
“It looked pretty clear on paper that [Stanford] was the main speed of the race,” trainer Todd Pletcher remarked. “When he drew the rail, it was a pretty straightforward strategy. We wanted to come out running and hopefully, secure the lead going into the first turn. He was able to do that, and on top of that, the fractions were well within his comfort zone. So I thought it was terrific for him.”
The Harlan's Holiday win sets Stanford up for a run in the newly-created $12 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) January 28 at Gulfstream. Co-owned by Stonestreet Stables and Coolmore, Stanford is now 5-4-0 in 13 starts and has earned $1,197,560.
Stanford is Malibu Moon's leading earner of 2016 and is one of five millionaires by his sire, whose runners have made $9.2 million this year.
Pedigree Notes from the TDN:
Stanford traces his lineage back to European and American champion Johannesburg (Hennessy); English and Irish Highweight Minardi (Boundary); GSW and MGISP top sire Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat); and MGSW and GISP Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway). His 3-year-old half-sister Save a Rose (Super Saver), purchased by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong for $150,000 at last year’s OBS April sale, recently broke her maiden in her third start at Parx for trainer Tony Dutrow Nov. 21. Stanford’s 2-year-old half-brother Hedge Fund (Super Saver), owned by breeder WinStar Farm in partnership with China Horse Club and SF Racing, debuted at Gulfstream earlier this week, finishing fifth after being brushed at the start Dec. 14. Their dam Rosy Humor failed to get in foal to Take Charge Indy after producing Hedge Fund in 2014 and was bred back to that sire the following year, but aborted the foal. She was bred to Flatter earlier this term.