Holland's North American free picks for Dec. 19
Tim Holland brings his expert picks for North American Racing at Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, and Tampa Bay Downs.
#7 On a Spree (5-1) last raced when making some progress to finish fourth at this distance at Churchill in September in his third start for trainer Maker. Son of Speightstown has a record of 15-5-4-2 on grass and Maker wins with 17% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Gelding has posted two solid 5-furlong works recently and can be in good position from the start with Colby Hernandez up.
Sprinters on turf include #2 Guildsman (10-1), who did not get the best of runs when fifth in the Nearctic (G2) in his latest at Woodbine in October. Gelding won the Franklin Simpson (G3) at Kentucky Downs in one of his two wins since joining trainer Walsh, who has won with three of his first 11 runners at this meet. Bay should find a solid pace to close into with Geroux taking the mount.
Brad Cox wins with 18% of his first-time starters and saddles #9 Prate (6-1), a debuting son of 16% first-out sire Into Mischief who is out of a mare by Exchange Rate, whose offspring win 18% of their first outings. Recent works include a fast 4-furlong move in :46 3/5 from the gate at Keeneland for Cox, who has won with 30% of his starters at this meet. Gray is likely ready to win at first asking under Geroux, who has won with 22% of his rides for the barn in the past 60 days.
A competitive field for the Mr. Prospector (G3) includes #6 Last Judgement (20-1), who was claimed by Mike Maker when rallying from off the pace to win his latest over 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont in October. Son of Congrats has won two of his five previous starts on this oval and Maker wins with 16% of his runners first time off the claim. Gelding can be running late under Vasquez, who has won with 20% of his rides for Maker in the last two months.
Lasix is added to #5 Reticent (4-1), who made progress to finish fourth after being bumped and steadied at the start in his debut at Parx over 6 furlongs last month. Trainer Englehart wins with 15% of his second-time starters and son of Wicked Strong is a half-brother to two winners. Gelding can be closer to the early pace with a better start under Carrasco, who has won with one of his last two rides for the barn.
Tampa Bay Downs
Maidens going 6 furlongs include #5 Packin (9-2), a debuting daughter of Wicked Strong who is out of a mare by More Than Ready. Dark bay has been working well here and Potts has won with four of his first 13 runners at this meet. Filly is likely ready to win at first asking with Gallardo in the saddle.