Holland's North American free racing picks for Oct. 2
Handicapper Tim Holland has a few plays for Keeneland's opening-day program, as well as selections for Belmont Park and Pimlico on Friday.
Al Stall wins with 21% of his first-time starters and saddles #8 Naughty Rendezvous (9-2), a debuting daughter of 16% first-out sire Into Mischief and a half-sister to three winners. Filly cost $400K earlier this year and has worked steadily since July for Stall, who has won with 18% of his runners this year. Bay could be ready to win her first outing under Hernandez, who has won with three of his last nine rides for the barn.
Maidens going 6-furlongs include #9 Sun Path (7-2), who debuts for 18% first-out trainer Brad Cox. Daughter of Munnings is a full-sister to Bonny South, who won the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and has been working forwardly for Cox. Chestnut appears ready for a good effort with Geroux in the saddle.
A fast pace is likely in the Phoenix (G2) which may benefit #9 Lexitonian (4-1). 4-year-old weakened on a sloppy surface when fifth over 7-furlongs in the Forego (G1) in his latest at Saratoga in August, but finished well on a fast track at this distance when narrowly missing in the Bing Crosby (G1) at Del Mar last month. Son of Speightstown finished a good third in this event last year and can be running late with Gaffalione riding.
#5 Lady Commissioner (8-1) was unlucky when a close second in a maiden special weight event at Finger Lakes in her latest in August. Daughter of young sire Commissioner is a half-sister to four winners and trainer Englehart wins with 20% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Bay can be along from just off the pace under Cancel, who has won with one of his last eight rides for the barn.
A competitive field for the Pimlico Special (G3) includes #2 Monongahela (15-1), who trailed the field when last of four in his latest at Delaware in August but was prominent throughout when winning the Iselin (G3) last year. 6-year-old has been working well for his second start for trainer Russell, who is having a good year winning with 24% of her runners. With a lack of early pace, bay could be the one to catch at long odds breaking from near the inside with Sheldon Russell up.