11/01/2013 9:27PM

Harlan's Holiday euthanized in Argentina

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Harlan's Holiday, a Grade 1 winner on the track and a leading juvenile sire, was euthanized Friday in Argentina.

Harlan’s Holiday, a multiple Grade 1 winner and sire of champion Shanghai Bobby, was euthanized on Friday at Haras Firmamento Farm in Mar de Plata, Argentina, where he was standing the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.

The 14-year-old son of Harlan suddenly collapsed after returning to his stall from a routine breeding session, having suddenly lost use of his hind end. He prolapsed intestine from his rectum and went into shock. After multiple attempts to repair the prolapse, the horse was euthanized.

Harlan’s Holiday stood the Northern Hemisphere season at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., where he was advertised in 2013 for a fee of $35,000.

“This is a horrible tragedy,” said Chris Baker, general manager of WinStar Farm. “There is some comfort in knowing that I was at Firmamento just two weeks ago and found Harlan’s Holiday to be the picture of health receiving the highest standard of care. In the end, we are greatly saddened by this loss, not only for the shareholders but also for the breed.”

Bred in Ohio by Double D. Farm Corp, Harlan’s Holiday, originally trained by Ken McPeek, broke his maiden in his second start in a listed stakes race at Thistledown. He continued on the Ohio stakes circuit through the summer of his 2-year-old season, highlighted by a win in the then-ungraded Cradle Stakes at River Downs, then jumped to graded competition, finishing second in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and finishing his campaign with a win in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Harlan’s Holiday then established himself as one of North America’s top 3-year-olds of 2002, winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes, helping make him the post time favorite in the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished seventh. Later transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher, he returned in the fall to win the Grade 3 Pennsylvania Derby and finish third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Harlan’s Holiday scored another Grade 1 win as a 4-year-old in the Donn Handicap, which led to a second place finish in the 2003 Dubai World Cup.

In total, Harlan’s Holiday retired with nine wins in 22 starts for earnings of $3,632,664 for Jack Wolf’s Starlight Racing.

“It was an honor and a privilege to own Harlan’s Holiday throughout his racing career,” Wolf said. “He gave my family and our partners many thrills, and helped deepen our appreciation of the equine industry. It is a sad day for all involved.”

Harlan’s Holiday was retired to stud for the 2004 breeding season, beginning his career at Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky. He was transferred to WinStar for the 2011 season after the farm acquired a significant interest in the stallion.

Shanghai Bobby, the champion 2-year-old of 2012 who was also campaigned by Starlight Stables, is the centerpiece of Harlan’s Holiday’s seven crops of racing age. The colt's three graded stakes victories that season helped propel his sire to the top of North America's juvenile sires list. In all, the sire's progeny have won 1,069 races for earnings totaling more than $35 million.

Other leading runners by Harlan’s Holiday include Grade 1 winner and young sires Into Mischief and Majesticperfection, Grade/Group 2 winners Willcox Inn, Mendip, and Summer Applause and Grade/Group 3 winners Riley Tucker, Denis of Cork, Notacatbutallama, and Tasha’s Miracle, and Turkish champion Agresivo.

Into Mischief was represented by a Breeders’ Cup winner from his first crop on Friday when Goldencents captured the Dirt Mile at Santa Anita Park.

Correction: A previous version of this article omitted Ken McPeek's name as prior trainer of Harlan's Holiday.

laura ban More than 1 year ago
Very sad day, a fine stallion. He will be missed.
SaratogaBob More than 1 year ago
A sad day for all who loved Harlans Holiday. He was a winner on and off the track.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
RIP, HH. You had many, many fans. Best wishes to all..
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
More sad news for the champions of racing. RIP, Harlan's Holiday. Your sons will carry on.
Barbara Bowen More than 1 year ago
Very sad news and very unusual cause of death. DRF Breeding: I know you primarily use press release info, but Ken McPeek trained the horse through the Derby, before he was transferred to Pletcher.