Fawkes Holds Strong Hand in Harlan’s Holiday Sunday
Larry Fugate’s 5-year-old Florida homebred gelding Cash Rules has won four straight stakes races and Joann and Alex Lieblong and partners’ 6-year-old Duke of Mischief has posted career earnings for more than $1.9 million for trainer David Fawkes, who is slated to send out both older stars in Sunday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Javier Castellano will have the mount on Cash Rules in the 1 1/16-mile test. The son of Peace Rules went on a streak this season at Calder, capturing the Spend a Buck Handicap (G3) by three-quarters of a length on Oct. 13 and the Carl Rose Classic wire-to-wire by a length-and-half on Nov. 10 as the 3-to-10 favorite.
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,” said Fawkes. “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, and will be making his first start since finishing second to Caixa Eletronica in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G3), a race he won in 2011, at Mountaineer Park on Apr. 14.
Jockey Joe Bravo rides Duke of Mischief in a field of nine 3-year-olds and up drawn for the Harlan’s Holiday. The Florida homebred chestnut son of Graeme Hall won the 2009 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows as a 3-year-old and the 2010 Oaklawn Park Handicap (G2) and Philip H. Iselin Handicap (G3) at Monmouth Park as a 4-year-old, among other major successes.
“Sunday’s race is a starting point to get him going again,” said Fawkes of Duke of Mischief. “If all goes well this race will set both horses up to run in the ($400,000) Sunshine Millions Classic (Jan. 19) and possibly the ($1.5 million) Charles Town Classic (G2) as well.”
Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s 3-year-old Csaba will attract support Sunday 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 Fred Hooper Handicap (G3) on Nov. 24.
Csaba was on the road over the summer, finishing a game second in the off-the turf Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) and ninth on turf in the Equalize Stakes at Saratoga in August. (Gleaves saddled the Miami Cat for a victory in the Equalize.) He disappointed again when seventh in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx 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.”
Two other contenders in a solid field set for Sunday are Gary and Cecil Barber’s 3-year-old gelding, Delegation, and JEOG Racing LLC’s 3-year-old Scatman.
The Mark Casse-trained Delegation, scheduled to be ridden by John Velazquez, finished a good third last out behind Tapizar in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. The lightly-raced son of Speightstown has been on the board in all seven career starts and won the Durham Cup (G3) at Woodbine on Polytrack in his final start prior to the Breeders’ Cup. The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile was his first on a dirt surface.
The Mill Mott-trained Scatman enters the Harlan's Holiday off a pair of allowance tallies going seven furlongs over Keeneland's Polytrack and the main track at Churchill Downs, where he won an off-the-turf race by 5 ¾ lengths on Nov. 5. The son of Scat Daddy, who'll be ridden by Joel Rosario, made a brief bid to jump on the Triple Crown trail in the spring when placing in the Southwest Stakes (G3) and Rebel Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
Lisa Parbhoo Racing’s 6-year-old Ducduc will be a longshot with a chance with jockey Orlando Bocachica in the saddle for owner-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.
Completing the field for the Harlan’s Holiday are Golden Goose Enterprises and James Covell’s Citrus Kid ( Joe Rocco, Jr.); Roman Hill Farm’s I’m Steppin’It up (David Cohen); and Rose Family Stable’s Decaf Again (Jesus Rios).