HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Nine months after winning the Grade 3 Skip Away here in impressive fashion, Fear the Cowboy returned to Gulfstream Park and repeated the performance, rallying from far back under Javier Castellano to register a 2 1/4-length decision over a determined Mr. Jordan in Saturday's Grade 3 Harlan's Holiday.
The effort could earn Fear the Cowboy a berth in the $16 million Pegasus Cup Invitational on Jan. 27.
Fear the Cowboy had competed at six different racetracks in as many starts since winning the Skip Away in late March, with his best outing a two-length triumph in Mountaineer's West Virginia Governors Stakes. Trainer Effren Loza Jr. had also entered Fear the Cowboy on Saturday in Fair Ground's Tenacious Stakes before opting to bring him back to south Florida for the Harlan's Holiday.
With Castellano aboard for the first time, Fear the Cowboy was eased back near the rear of the pack, off a rapid early pace set by Conquest Big E and forced by Mr. Jordan. The latter took control on the second turn and edged clear while drifting a bit wide into the stretch, but by that time Fear the Cowboy was in full flight, circling wide leaving the final turn before readily wearing down the leader to win going away.
Mr. Jordan held on determinedly despite prompting such a quick pace, fending off Richard the Great to finish second. Destin, the 7-5 favorite in a field of nine older horses, weakened late to be fourth.
Fear the Cowboy, a 5-year-old son of Cowboy Cal owned by Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti, has now won four times while never off the board in six starts at Gulfstream Park. He covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.23 on a fast track and paid $9.00.
"We thought about sending him to New Orleans, but he loves Gulfstream," Loza said. "This was the first time riding him for Javier and he did a very good job."
Loza called Fear the Cowboy "an amazing horse" when asked about all the success he's had while barnstorming the country during his career.
"He has a big heart, he always tries hard, and we're very happy to have a horse like him in the barn," Loza said. "He doesn't really have any conditions left so we try to catch the right races for him, at the right distance, all the time, which is why we ship him around so much."
As for running Fear the Cowboy in the Pegasus, Loza said, "we're open for the race, he loves this track, and we're willing to take a chance. We'll just wait and see if someone calls."