Holland's North American free racing picks for Aug. 20
Handicapper Tim Holland has picks for Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, Indiana Grand, Woodbine, and Presque Isle Downs on Thursday.
Mike Stidham wins with 21% of his second-time starters and saddles #5 Pago Querido (6-1), who comes off a weakening fourth-place finish after showing early run in her debut over 6-furlongs at Delaware last month. Daughter of Competitive Edge is a half-sister to one winner and Stidham wins with 25% of his runners going a route distance for the first time. Dark bay can be on or near the lead from the start with Jose Ortiz taking the mount.
#2 We the Clouds (6-1) won her debut at Keeneland at this distance and was last seen finishing a well-beaten fourth over a mile at Tampa in early-March. Daughter of excellent young sire Constitution has been working well for trainer Hamm, who wins with 15% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days. Bay can be running from off the pace under Prado, who won with his latest ride for the barn.
Fillies and mares on turf include #2 Queen Medb (7-2), who finished a closed fifth despite being blocked in the stretch in her latest at Keeneland last month. That was her second start after a lengthy break, and trainer Walsh wins with 20% of his runners third time off a layoff. 4-year-old can be in good position throughout with Parker up.
Trainer Halden wins with 29% of her runners second time off a layoff and saddles #5 Samarian (20-1), who finished a laboring fifth on yielding turf last month in her first outing since September. Daughter of Giant’s Causeway is out of Lomaki, who won the Endeavour (G3), and Halden wins with 14% of her starters on grass. Filly takes on males but is worth a shot with Fukumoto retaining the mount.
Presque Isle Downs
Maidens on the Tapeta include #7 Fudge (5-1), who debuts for trainer Stokes, who has won from a limited sample of first-time starters. Gelding has a good win-early pedigree being by Twirling Candy and out of a mare by Forest Wildcat, and works include a sharp 5-furlong move in :59 from the gate a week ago. Barn has won with 5-of-8 runners at this meet and bay can win at first asking under Martinez, who won with his last two rides for Stokes.