08/02/2001 12:00AM

River Downs: Hoover Stakes


Harlan's Holiday, a dominant winner of the Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes last month, will be a strong favorite to win his second consecutive stakes in the $40,000 Hoover at River Downs. The six-furlong Hoover is restricted to Ohio-bred 2-year-olds.

Harlan's Holiday could have a great year in Ohio if his first two starts are any indication. Though beaten in his debut at Churchill in June, Harlan's Holiday was second best in a field that included next-out winner Pass Rush. Fans at Thistledown made him the even-money favorite in the Kindergarten in his next start and he graduated with authority by 5 1/4 lengths.

With several of his Hoover rivals having finished well behind him at Thistledown, Harlan's Holiday appears to hold a winning hand. Tony D'Amico will be in to ride Harlan's Holiday for trainer Ken McPeek.

Truth Matters, the runner-up in the Cleveland Kindergarten, would appear to have the best chance of upsetting the favorite. A winner first-time out at Thistledown, Truth Matters ran evenly throughout in the Thistledown stakes but might close the gap with the addition of Lasix and a nine-pound pull from Harlan's Holiday.