Rising from Setbacks: Fearless and Mighty Heart Chase Redemption in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes

Fearless vs. Mighty Heart: An Epic Duel at Harlan’s Holiday

On what is typically a quiet weekend for graded stakes races, the horse racing world eagerly anticipates the thrilling showdown between Fearless and Mighty Heart at the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday at Gulfstream Park. This 1 1/16-mile race serves as a key prep for the prestigious Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, adding to the excitement of the event. Join us as we explore the stories behind these two formidable contenders and the anticipation surrounding their clash.

Fearless: A Force to be Reckoned with at Gulfstream Park

The spotlight shines brightly on Fearless, trained by the renowned Todd Pletcher, as he enters the Harlan’s Holiday off a runner-up finish in the Miami Gardens Handicap. Despite being the even-money favorite, Fearless fell short by a length to Girolamo’s Attack, ending his impressive three-race winning streak at Gulfstream. This setback came in his second start following a six-month layoff, adding an extra layer of intrigue to his upcoming performance.

Pletcher expressed confidence in Fearless, noting his affinity for the track and the positive signs displayed in his previous race. The 5-year-old gelding has consistently displayed his talent, never finishing worse than third in his last five races. Even his sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs in June 2020 showcased his resilience and determination.

It’s worth noting that Fearless boasts an impressive 4-3-1 record in 10 starts, an indication of his capabilities. However, his journey hasn’t been without challenges. Fearless’s towering size proved to be a hurdle, both in terms of training and temperament. Pletcher reminisces about his initial concerns regarding the gelding’s towering stature, but once he was gelded and manageable, Fearless found his rhythm and consistency.

Mighty Heart: Ontario’s One-Eyed Wonder

The Harlan’s Holiday also features the Canadian invader Mighty Heart, trained by Josie Carroll. Mighty Heart captured the hearts of his native country with his incredible performance in the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. Despite his one-eyed vision, he showcased immense talent and determination. Unfortunately, his turf endeavors in the third leg, the Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine, resulted in a disappointing seventh-place finish.

Mighty Heart, however, didn’t let that setback define him. In his last seven races, the 4-year-old son of Dramedy rarely found himself outside of the top spots, only missing the board once with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Durham Cup at Woodbine. His redemption came in the form of a victory in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes on November 14.

Mighty Heart’s consistency shines through his recent performances, with an impressive record of 3-2-1 in his last eight races. His ability to consistently clock triple-digit Equibase Speed Figures is a testament to his prowess on both synthetic and dirt surfaces. His most recent workout, a solid 1:00.90 over five furlongs at Palm Meadows on December 10, further fuels the anticipation surrounding his performance at the Harlan’s Holiday.

Anticipation Builds: Fearless vs. Mighty Heart

The stage is set for an electrifying clash between Fearless and Mighty Heart at the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday. These two contenders carry their own narratives and aspirations, ready to leave a mark on the racing world. As the race day approaches, the excitement builds, with fans and experts eagerly awaiting the outcome of this epic duel.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is the trainer of Fearless and Mighty Heart?

Todd Pletcher trains Fearless, while Josie Carroll is responsible for preparing Mighty Heart.

2. How has Fearless performed in his previous races?

Before his runner-up finish in the Miami Gardens Handicap, Fearless had won three consecutive races at Gulfstream, establishing himself as a formidable competitor.

3. Has Mighty Heart overcome his one-eyed vision?

Despite his one-eyed visual impairment, Mighty Heart has proven that he possesses exceptional talent and determination, capturing the Canadian Triple Crown’s first two legs.

4. Does Fearless have a winning record at Gulfstream Park?

Yes, Fearless boasts an impressive record at Gulfstream Park, winning three out of his last four races at the renowned track.

5. What makes the Harlan’s Holiday a significant race?

The Harlan’s Holiday serves as a crucial preparatory race for the prestigious Pegasus World Cup Invitational, adding to its significance and attracting top-class competitors.


As the Fearless vs. Mighty Heart duel at the Grade 3 Harlan’s Holiday approaches, the anticipation reaches a crescendo. Both horses exhibit immense talent and determination, each with their own unique stories to tell. Fearless, known for his consistency and affinity for Gulfstream Park, aims to bounce back from a second-place finish. Meanwhile, Mighty Heart, Ontario’s one-eyed wonder, seeks to continue his redemption arc after capturing the hearts of his native country. The racing world eagerly awaits the outcome of this epic showdown, where these two powerhouses will leave it all on the track.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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