Harlan's Holiday's Willcox Inn collected his third graded stakes victory with a thrilling nose victory over Gallant Eagle in Saturday's $150,000 Washington Park H. (G3) at Arlington Park (VIDEO
Harlan's Holiday, who stood the 2013 season at WinStar Farm for $35,000, has had another banner year with his progeny on the racetrack. With 18 stakes wins in just over $5.7 million, Harlan's Holiday is ninth on the 2013 General Sire list.
Settled by jockey James Graham off modest early splits of :24.69 and :49.81, Willcox Inn was some four lengths off the pace set by Gallant Eagle (IRE). Willcox Inn began make up ground around the far turn while out wide. Within a head at the eighth pole, Willcox Inn battled Gallant Eagle and late-closing Hattaash to the wire, prevailing over that duo in a three-horse photo.
The final time for the nine furlongs was an excellent 1:49.62, less than a half-second off the track record.
“He’s very tough when he gets into a fight,” said Graham. “He loves it more than just sprinting away from them. He ran by (Gallant Eagle) and then started to wait a little bit on him. The other horse came back on him and he fought all the way to the wire – head down and he threw his nose down on it in front.”
With the win, the Mike Stidham-trained Willcox Inn boosted his career earnings to $939,543 for co-owner Lael Stable and All In Stable.
Trainer Michael Stidham added, “If there was ever a photo we needed to win – this was the one. This little horse, he tries hard every time. We’ve put him in some tough spots all year long. He got the job done and James did a great job.”
In addition to Saturday's victory, 5-year-old Willcox Inn has graded stakes victories in the American Derby (G2) and Hawthorne Derby (G3) during his 3-year-old season.