Updated on 09/16/2011 8:10AM

Here's your Derby favorite

Harlan's Holiday, under Edgar Prado, solidifies his position as the Kentucky Derby favorite by scoring a 4 1/2-length victory in the Blue Grass.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Harlan's Holiday raced right into the Kentucky Derby favorite's role Saturday by posting an emphatic 4 1/2-length victory in the $750,000 at Keeneland.

Ridden by Edgar Prado, the Ohio-bred Harlan's Holiday went up to challenge his longtime rival Booklet entering the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass, then ran off to finish in 1:51.51, the slowest Blue Grass in 14 years. Booklet finished second, a neck before Ocean Sound, who was followed by Straight Gin, Bob's Image, and Azillion.

Harlan's Holiday, winner of the Florida Derby in his previous start, returned $3.40 as the heavy favorite in a field of six 3-year-olds. Winning trainer Ken McPeek, who grew up in Lexington, said afterward: "I got one for my hometown. Time to get one for Jack's," referring to co-owner Jack Wolf, who was born and raised in Louisville, where the May 4 Derby will be run at Churchill Downs. Wolf and his wife, Laurie, race Harlan's Holiday in the name of Starlight Stable.

Before a crowd of 28,270, Bob's Image led early, followed closely by Booklet. With a half-mile to go, Harlan's Holiday had crept within striking distance, and he proceeded to his sixth win from 10 career starts and his second straight Grade 1 victory.

Prado said he did not really care about the final clocking, since the Keeneland surface, although rated fast, had been drying out all day after absorbing a heavy overnight rain.

"Time only means something when you're in jail," said Prado.

Harlan's Holiday will return to Churchill, where he is based, to prepare for the Derby. Meanwhile, John T. Ward Jr., trainer of Booklet, said he doubted his colt would run back in the Derby unless attrition took a toll on the field.

Bob's Image had to be vanned off after the race after pulling up about a furlong past the finish. He was diagnosed with a pulled suspensory ligament in his left front leg.

Earlier on the program:

* Morluc ($3.60) was up in the final strides to win a three-horse photo in the $85,050 Shakertown Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race for older horses.

Ridden by Robby Albarado, Morluc appeared destined to finish second behind 69-1 shot Mighty Beau, who led from the start. But in the final jumps, Morluc pushed past by a head, finishing in 1:03.25 over a firm course. Grangeville was another nose back in third.

Morluc, trained by Randy Morse, now has earned over $900,000 and likely will run next in the May 3 Aegon Turf Dash.

* Owner John Oxley and trainer Ward unveiled a nice-looking colt in the second race, when Bold Truth ($3.80), a 3-year-old by Seattle Slew, easily won a maiden sprint.

* Fiercely had to be euthanized following the sixth race after breaking down in the stretch. A 4-year-old gelding trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Fiercely won once in 10 starts and earned $56,000.