Fawkes Holds Strong Hand for Harlan’s Holiday
Sr. Quisqueyano Working Toward Gulfstream Park Derby

Fawkes Holds Strong Hand for Harlan’s Holiday

Trainer David Fawkes plans to run both Alex and Joann Lieblong and partners’ 6-year-old Duke of Mischief and Larry Fugate’s 5-year-old gelding Cash Rules in the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes on Sunday, December 16 at Gulfstream Park.

Duke of Mischief will be making his first start since finishing second behind Caixa Eletronica in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) in West Virginia April 14. The son of Graeme Hall is a career winner of more than $1.9 million and bids to add to a resume that includes a victory in the 2011 edition of the rich Charles Town Classic.

“We stopped on him after the Charles Town race with some minor problems,” said Fawkes Friday afternoon. “It was nothing serious. Then we did something a little different. We took him to Niall Brennan’s place in Ocala for therapy where he exercised on a walking machine set underwater in a pool. They have to walk against the weight of the water. It obviously did him a lot of good as well as he’s come back. This race is just a starting point for him.”

Cash Rules will also get his share of attention in the Harlan’s Holiday. The son of Peace Rules bids for a fifth consecutive stakes victory during a campaign that began here with a fifth-place finish in an allowance sprint on March 11. It was his first start in 15 months since December of 2010.

“He was out with a knee injury and it took a lot longer than we thought to get him back,” said Fawkes. “He had shown ability early in his career and now he’s living up to what we hoped he could become, improving steadily with each start.”

Cash Rules won three of six starts at Calder to begin his career and was sent off the favorite in the first five before going to the sidelines. Jockey Luis Saez has ridden Cash Rules in all nine of his starts this year, including his first Graded stakes score in the Spend a Buck Handicap (G3) on October 13 and the Carl Rose Classic last out on November 10.

As for expectations after the Harlan’s Holiday if all goes well, Fawkes said: “We’ll probably stay with Florida-breds for the ($400,000) Sunshine Million Classic (January. 19) as the next step with the Charles Town Classic a possibility for both of them. You hate to run them against each other, but it’s the best schedule for them.”

The purse for Charles Town Classic has been raised to $1.5 million and will be run on Saturday, April 20.

Sr. Quisqueyano Working Toward Gulfstream Park Derby

Rosa Stephany Tavares’ 2-year-old Sr. Quisqueyano worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 Saturday morning at Calder Race Course for trainer Luis Olivares in preparation for a start next in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Derby to be run at 1 1/16 miles on New Year’s Day.

Olivares nominated Sr. Quisqueyano for next Saturday’s $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes (G3) at one mile on turf, but will pass that one. “He’s a dirt horse,” said Olivares. “He’s doing well and we’ll wait for the race on January 1. I think he’ll like the Gulfstream track and the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance.”

A son of Exclusive Quality, Sr. Quisqueyano was among the leading juveniles developed at Calder this year, winning his first there starts by big margins, including the Seacliff Stakes by nearly 14 lengths going one mile in late August. He has finished second in each of his three starts since then, most recently beaten a length in the seven-furlong Jack Price Juvenile on November 10.

Olivares also reported that his 5-year-old gelding Tackleberry, one of the most popular horses to run in South Florida in recent years, is on the comeback trail.

“He’s training on the farm in Ocala and he’ll come back to me pretty soon. He pulled a muscle and needed some time,” explained Olivares of a layoff since finishing fourth as the favorite last out in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) in West Virginia back in April.

A Florida-bred son of Montbrook, Tackleberry was last seen at Gulfstream finishing second to Mucho Macho Man in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) in March in his start before the Charles Town race. The year before, he swept to three consecutive stakes victories over the track in the Sunshine Millions Classic, Gulfstream Sprint Championship (G2) and Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2).

Tackleberry will resume his career with a 16-8-3-0 record and earnings of $914,000.