Dec 19, 2014
Liam's Map fights for victory in Harlan's Holiday
By: SPORTS NETWORK
Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Even-money favorite Liam's Map proved a little too tough down the stretch and won Saturday's $100,000 Harlan's Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Liam's Map had to overcome rival Valid's physical stretch drive to win the 1 1/16-mile stakes in just his fourth career start.
Liam's Map pressed the early pace of Csaba until he went to the lead on the far turn. Valid, the 7-2 third pick in the eight-horse field, engaged Liam's Map around the turn and the two battled through the stretch, banging against each other to the wire.
Liam's Map held on for a half-length victory over Valid with 2-1 second choice Pants On Fire finishing third.
"We had a really good trip and he put in a really good fight with the other horse," Velazquez said. "He hasn't run in a lot of really tough races, but he ran really good. He's inexperienced, but he put in a really good fight and that's what counts. The other horse came to him and he fought all the way down to the wire."
Schivarelli was fourth followed by Rose to Gold, Hy Kodiak Warrior and Hampstead Heath. Csaba was eased down the stretch.
The time for the Harlan's Holiday was 1:42.51 on a fast track.
Liam's Map, owned by Teresa Viola racing Stables, added $60,000 to his bankroll which now stands at $164,800. The 3-year-old colt notched his first stakes win and his third victory overall.
"We knew he had a lot of natural ability," Pletcher said. "What I like is a good horse looked him in the eye and he responded. He's still a horse that's learning to run and with a race like that it could do him a lot of good because his last two wins have been pretty effortless."
Liam's Map paid $4.20, $2.80 and $2.20. Valid returned $4.20 and $2.40, and Pants On Fire paid $2.20 to show.
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