07/31/2017 9:32AM

Sparkman: Good Samaritan a reminder of Harlan's Holiday's quality as a stallion

Debra A. Roma
Good Samaritan, a son of the deceased Harlan's Holiday, wins the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga.

Although he was a three-time Grade 1 winner, the racing career of Harlan’s Holiday was defined more by the races he did not win than by those he did. Favored for the 2002 Kentucky Derby after consecutive wins in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, Harlan’s Holiday finished seventh behind 20.50-1 winner War Emblem. After winning the Grade 1 Donn Handicap the following spring, he was the only proven dirt horse in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup, but could never threaten the front-running Moon Ballad and finished second, beaten five lengths.

Harlan’s Holiday may have come up short as a racehorse when he faced truly first-rate opposition, but only one other colt of his generation (Medaglia d’Oro) has become a better stallion, and the victory of his son Good Samaritan in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 29 once again gives us reason to regret Harlan’s Holiday’s premature death in 2013.

A handsome, balanced, very muscular epitome of the American miler type, Harlan’s Holiday has sired 97 stakes winners, 47 group or graded winners, and four Grade 1 or Group 1 winners, and if his resume lacks the Rachel Alexandras and Songbirds that grace Medaglia d’Oro’s curriculum vitae, it is admirably consistent. His 7.6% stakes winners to foals ratio is almost on a par with Medaglia d’Oro’s 8.3%, and has won him the respect of both breeders and racehorse owners who know an honest workman when they see one.

Harlan’s Holiday’s best son, Shanghai Bobby (out of Steelin’, by Orientate), earned champion 2-year-old male honors in 2012 after an undefeated campaign that included victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Grade 1 Champagne, and Grade 2 Hopeful Stakes. Shanghai Bobby has already sired stakes horse Bobby Ax in his first crop of 2-year-old runners this year.

Shanghai Bobby will have to go some, though, to match the burgeoning stud record of Harlan’s Holiday’s son Into Mischief (Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek). Winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity, the half-brother to multiple champion Beholder has made a sensational start at stud from limited opportunity, with dual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents and current Grade 1-winning 3-year-old Practical Joke in his first few crops.

Harlan’s Holiday was noted for his versatility as a sire, and he was equally successful during shuttle seasons to Argentina, where he died at Haras Firmamento during the 2013 Southern Hemisphere breeding season. Harlan’s Holiday sired Group 1 winner Pretty Girl (Piba Como Vos, by Candy Stripes) and nine other group-level winners during his South American sojourns.

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Good Samaritan is from Harlan’s Holiday’s final American crop. Bred by WinStar Farm, he is the third foal out of Pull Dancer, by Pulpit, a talented filly WinStar purchased for $150,000 as a filly out of training at the 2010 Keeneland November sale. A $220,000 Keeneland September purchase three years earlier by John McCormack Bloodstock, Pull Dancer won 3 of 11 starts, all for owner Cam Allard and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Beaten only a nose in the Alywow Stakes at Woodbine, Pull Dancer also ran second, beaten a neck in a blanket finish, in the Pebbles Stakes at Belmont Park.

Pull Dancer was one of three winners out of the unraced Arch mare Mayhavebeentheone, a half-sister to multiple graded winner and sire Wiseman’s Ferry, by Hennessy. Mayhavebeentheone’s unraced dam, Emmaus, by Silver Deputy, was half-sister to graded winners Caress, by Storm Cat (dam of Grade 1 winner and good sire Sky Mesa, by Pulpit); Country Cat, by Storm Cat; Della Francesca, by Danzig; and Bernstein, by Storm Cat, a good international sire who led the Argentine sire list twice. The pedigree gets even better in more distant generations, since Good Samaritan’s seventh dam, the top-class but moody racemare Busanda, by War Admiral, was the dam of the great Buckpasser, and tail-female ancestor of Polish Navy, Outstandingly, Outdoors, and Splendid Spruce.

The Jim Dandy was Good Samaritan’s first start on dirt, but there was little reason on pedigree to assume that he would be restricted to the grass, despite the fact that his dam raced mostly on turf. Harlan’s Holiday raced only on dirt, as did Good Samaritan’s broodmare sire, Pulpit, though both have sired good turf runners. Good Samaritan is inbred 3x5 to Affirmed and 4x5 to Honest Pleasure, both unusual duplications, but his further pedigree includes more conventional repeats of Northern Dancer, Secretariat, and Hail to Reason.

Pull Dancer has since produced the unraced 2-year-old colt Brave Nation, by Pioneerof the Nile, a yearling filly by Tiznow, and a colt by Bodemeister this year.