Holland's North America Racing Picks for July 17
Handicapper Tim Holland has a couple of picks for Saratoga today, a well as spot plays for Gulfstream Park, Ellis Park, Woodbine, and Ruidoso Downs.
With several entrants from the Chad Brown barn likely to be well-bet, it may pay to take a chance with #4 Clara Peeters (5-1), who impressed when closing fast to win over 7-furlongs at Belmont last month in her second start for Brad Cox. 4-year-old had decent form in England before joining Cox, who wins with 28% of his runners that won last time out. Filly can be running late and Castellano remaining aboard adds appeal.
#10 Please Flatter Me (8-1) was no match for Guarana, who won the Madison (G1) next time out, when second at Churchill in early-June in her first start for trainer Asmussen and first outing since last August. Daughter of Munnings has won four of her eight career starts and Asmussen wins with 20% of his runners second off a layoff. Filly can be stalking a likely solid pace with Santana up.
Trainer Hamm wins with 15% of his first-time starters and saddles #1 Ahimelech (5-1), a debuting son of 14% first out sire, Flat Out. Gelding is a half-brother to two winners and works include a sharp 4-furlong move in :48 for Hamm, who won with two of his first nine runners at this meet. Gelding appears ready for a good first outing with Lebron in the saddle.
Maidens on turf include #8 Memory Moment (10-1), who has not been seen since fading to finish unplaced after showing early run in an off-the-turf event at Churchill in her debut in late-October. Daughter of Temple City is a full-sister to Bolo, who won the Shoemaker Mile (G1). Dark bay has been working well for Al Stall, who wins with 23% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days, and filly can show more here with Mena retaining the mount.
#4 Blue Forester (6-1) gets blinkers removed off a fading unplaced effort after showing early run facing better last month in his first start since his debut in December. Trainer Attard wins with 18% of his runners second off a layoff and son of Old Forester is a half-brother to six winners. Gelding can be forwardly placed from the star with Contreras remaining aboard.
Trainer Cappellucci wins with 21% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and saddles #5 Irish Polo (9-2), who was last seen when finishing fourth over the track and distance facing slightly better in late-May. Gelding has won five of his 20 career starts and can be in good early position under Juarez, who has won with one of his last 13 rides for the barn.