07/05/2003 12:00AM

Harlan's Holiday aims for Gold Cup


ELMONT, N.Y. - Harlan's Holiday was scratched from Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park and instead will run in the Grade 1, $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park July 13.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he felt the Gold Cup was a better fit for Harlan's Holiday because it is a true two-turn race - the Suburban started on the clubhouse turn of Belmont Park - and the field will not be quite as tough. Only eight horses were nominated to the Gold Cup, led by Congaree. Of the others nominated, neither Western Pride nor Perfect Drift are expected to start, leaving at most a field of six. In the Suburban, Harlan's Holiday would have had to face Grade 1 winners Mineshaft, Volponi, and Evening Attire.

"It's a short field, you can make a case it's not quite as tough, though it's still tough," Pletcher said. "I think he's a better two-turn horse and this is not a real two-turn race. [Owner] Jack Wolf liked the idea and we felt like we'd give it a shot.''

Pletcher plans to breeze Harlan's Holiday either Sunday or Monday at Belmont and the horse will ship to California Thursday.

Pletcher said e still believes Harlan's Holiday could make his following start in the Whitney Handicap Aug. 2 at Saratoga.