Holland's North American free racing picks for Sep. 1
With the Kentucky Derby just a few days away, Tim Holland provides his expert picks to start off the month of September at Churchill Downs, Indiana Grand, and Presque Isle Downs.
#5 Allege (3-1) gets blinkers added off a flattening-out fifth-place finish going a mile in the mud at Ellis Park early last month. Son of Uncle Mo is out of a mare by Bernardini, who has produced two winners. Purchased for $375,000 as a 2-year-old, Allege has worked well since his latest for trainer Steve Asmussen, who wins with 17% of runners wearing blinkers on for the first time. Bay colt can be in good position from the start with Santana in the saddle.
Mike Maker has won with 20% of his runners since the beginning of the year and saddles #6 Hay Dakota (4-1), who faded to finish unplaced when very wide in his latest going a mile on soft turf at Ellis last month. 7-year-old has a record of 4-2-1-0 on this turf and makes his third start off the claim for Maker, who wins with 17% of his starters on turf. Gelding can be along from off the pace under Tyler Gaffalione, who has won with 26% of his rides for the barn in the last two months.
Plenty of early pace could help a closer, such as #6 Hey Negrita (8-1), who closed late to finish second as the favorite at this distance her latest in mid-July. Daughter of Langfuhr has won one of 13 starts on turf, and trainer Contreras wins with 23% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days, and with 23% that were beaten as the favorite last time out. Chestnut can be along late with Emmanuel Esquivel in the saddle.
Maidens going 6 furlongs include #4 Reign Showers (15-1), who has not been seen since fading to finish unplaced in her debut over 7 furlongs on regular dirt at Tampa Bay Downs in May. Daughter of Empire Maker is a half-sister to seven winners, and trainer Timothy Hamm wins with 15% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days. Filly has been working well and may show more here with Israel Rodriguez riding.