12/10/2011 1:42PM

Gulfstream: Dania Beach looking stronger than Harlan's Holiday next weekend

Michael Burns
Finale (left) beats Excaper in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine in September. Both ran in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, and they will likely meet again next Sunday in the Dania Beach at Gulfstream.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Naming a stakes at Gulfstream Park for Harlan’s Holiday was a long time coming considering he won both the 2002 Florida Derby and 2003 Donn Handicap at this track during a racing career that ended with more than $3.6 million in the bank. But one would think Harlan’s Holiday himself was running here Saturday, the way the racing office is scrambling just to fill the event.

The nominations list for the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday is an attractive one and includes such major players in the handicap division as Mucho Macho Man, Soaring Empire, Duke of Mischief, and the Rick Dutrow-trained trio of Boys At Tosconova, Redeemed and Trickmeister. But with most of those pointing for graded stakes after the turn of the year, a small field is expected for the race. Among those still under consideration for the race are Decaf Again, I’m Steppin’ It Up, Nacho Friend, Not Abroad, Sky Venture, and perhaps one of the Dutrow runners.

In contrast to the Harlan’s Holiday, Sunday’s $100,000 Dania Beach for 2-year-old turf runners figures to come up extremely strong and is expected to lure Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Excaper, the Juvenile Turf favorite Finale, Coalport, Empire Builder, State of Play, Csaba, and Summer Front.

Csaba worked four furlongs in 50.20 over a wet-fast track Saturday at Calder.