Updated on 09/17/2011 10:58AM

Whitney next for Harlan's Holiday

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Harlan's Holiday, runner-up in Sunday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, is scheduled to return from California on Tuesday and will be pointed to the $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 2.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher caught the red-eye back from California and was at work Monday morning at Belmont Park, plotting the next race for Harlan's Holiday, the runner-up in Sunday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup.

Harlan's Holiday finished second in the Gold Cup, beaten three lengths by the favorite, Congaree, and was two lengths clear of the third-place finisher, Kudos.

Pletcher said Harlan's Holiday was scheduled to return from California on Tuesday and will be pointed to the $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 2.

"I thought he ran a good race," Pletcher said. "Congaree kind of had the perfect trip and had his day. Our horse put in a nice, long sustained run. Some nice horses finished behind him."

The Gold Cup was Harlan's Holiday's second start since he finished second to Moon Ballad in the Dubai World Cup in March. In his first race after Dubai, Harlan's Holiday was fifth as the favorite in the Brooklyn Handicap, which was run in the slop. In the Brooklyn, he got off to a slow start when he turned his head at the same time the starting gate opened.

Pletcher, who trains Harlan's Holiday for Starlight Stables, felt confident going into the Gold Cup that the Brooklyn was a throw-out because of the bad start, and that the horse was not suffering any ill effects from his Middle East journey.

"To me the whole Dubai theory has been blown out of proportion," Pletcher said. "This horse is a good shipper and I was confident that the Brooklyn was just a fluke."

Last year, Pletcher won the Whitney with the brilliant Left Bank, who posthumously was named champion handicap horse of 2002. After winning the Whitney, Left Bank suffered from a severe case of colic and later died.

The Grade 1 Whitney is shaping up to be a terrific race. Among the horses under consideration for the Whitney are Suburban winner Mineshaft, Volponi, Medaglia d'Oro, Milwaukee Brew, Evening Attire and Saarland. Volponi, the Suburban runner-up, is also being considered for the $150,000 Bernard Baruch on July 25.

Medaglia d'Oro sizzled in a six-furlong work in a bullet 1:11.71 seconds on Sunday at Belmont. The work was two seconds faster than the next-best move.

The Bobby Frankel-trained Medaglia d'Oro won the Oaklawn Handicap in his last start on April 5.

"He's ready to take on Mineshaft," Frankel said. "He went his last quarter in 23 or less."

On Monday, Frankel worked Milwaukee Brew, who covered six furlongs in 1:12.89.

Also on Monday, Evening Attire worked for the first time since finishing fifth in the Suburban. He worked five furlongs in 1:01.53 on the training track. Pat Kelly, Evening Attire's trainer, hasn't settled on a race for the gelding's next start. Among the possibilities are the Whitney, the $200,000 Iselin Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park Aug. 23, and the $300,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Aug. 16, a race Evening Attire won last year.

Strong Hope likely to go in Jim Dandy

Pletcher said he is leaning toward running Dwyer winner Strong Hope in the $500,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga Aug. 3, rather than the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth the same day.

On July 6, Strong Hope set the pace in the Dwyer and hung on for a neck win over the late-charging Nacheezmo, who is expected to run in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.

"We're leaning strongly toward the Jim Dandy, unless the complexion of the Haskell changes," said Pletcher, who trains Strong Hope for Eugene and Laura Melnyk. "The pace scenario should be more favorable in the Jim Dandy, but we don't know all the players yet. But if Peace Rules and Funny Cide show up in the Haskell, there should be a pretty good pace."

The Jim Dandy is Empire Maker's next start. Winner of the Belmont, Empire Maker is scheduled to work on Wednesday, according to Frankel.

Bullet from Sky Mesa

Sky Mesa, who will run in either the Jim Dandy or Haskell, worked five furlongs in 59.89 seconds, the fastest of 30 works at the distance over Belmont's main track on Monday.

Sky Mesa finished third in the Dwyer, his first start since winning the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last fall.

Exercise rider Danny Ramsey rode Sky Mesa in the work.

"Some horses broke out of the gate behind Sky Mesa as he was getting ready to work," said assistant trainer Donna Ward. "He just went as he pleased and didn't get excited. I was very pleased."

John Ward, Sky Mesa's trainer, said he hasn't decided between the Jim Dandy and the Haskell and wants to see the weights for the Haskell, which is a handicap, before making a decision. The Haskell weights are due out Friday. Sky Mesa is expected to ship to Saratoga later in the week with the rest of Ward's stable.

Gander has work for Shipman

Gander, scheduled to run in Sunday's $100,000-added Evan Shipman on closing day of the meet, worked five furlongs in 1:00.16 on the main track Monday.

In his last start June 1, Gander finished a well-beaten third in a classified allowance run in the slop.

"He was just struggling with the track," said Gander's trainer, John Terranova, noting that jockey John Velazquez told him Gander "was slipping and couldn't grab it.

"We never thought he was that great in the mud. He's definitely better on a fast track."

Gander will have a new rider, Eibar Coa, in the Evan Shipman. Velazquez is scheduled to ride Summer Colony in Sunday's Delaware Handicap.

A large field is taking shape for the Evan Shipman, a race restricted to New York-breds. In addition to Gander, the probables are Ahpo Here, Compelling World, Gratiaen, Mr. Determined, No Parole, Salute Him, Sherpa Guide, Stellianos, Thebigapple, and Well Fancied.

Weights for the Evan Shipman were due out Tuesday.