Holland's North American picks for Saturday, Apr. 18
by Tim Holland
Maidens going one mile include #9 Smirk (6-1), who gets Lasix and blinkers added off an unplaced effort in early January here in his second career start. Son of 15% grass sire Blame is a half-brother to Alabama (G1) winner Elate and trainer Mott wins with 17% of his runners that have not raced for 90 days or more. Bay has been working well and can show improvement with Meneses in the saddle.
Trainer Maker wins with 18% of his runners on turf and sends out #6 Turn of Events (6-1). Son of Hard Spun flatted out to finish fourth in his latest and has hit the board in one of four starts on turf. 3-year-old was not disgraced when sixth in the Palm Beach (G3) two back and can graduate here with Juarez in the irons.
#7 Mintd (10-1) made her North American debut for trainer Walsh a winning one when rallying from off the pace at this distance at Tampa last month. 4-year-old kept good company in Ireland before joining Walsh, who wins with 18% of his runners second off a layoff. Daughter of Olympic Glory has been working well since her last outing and can be along from off the pace with Gaffalione riding.
Maiden claimers in the finale include #8 Party Dress (9-2), who has not been seen since being claimed by Jose Gallegos when weakening to finish fourth over the track and distance last August. Gallegos won with one of last 10 runners that had not raced for 90 days or more and daughter of speedy sire Khozan is a half-sister to eight winners. Filly figures to be sent early with Jaramillo taking the mount.
A couple of first-time starters catch the eye in his low-level maiden claimer. Trainer Fawkes wins with 15% of his first-time starters and saddles #7 Begin the Begin (15-1), a son of Congrats who posted a sharp 5-furlong work in 1:01 from the gate a week ago. Fawkes has won with 15% of runners this meet and chestnut may be ready for a good first outing with apprentice Roberts up. #8 Fast Recovery (15-1) debuts for trainer Williamson who wins with 13% of his maiden claimers. Gelding has posted some good works and is worth a look with Lara in the saddle.
Plenty of early speed in the Count Fleet (G3) could set-up well for a closer. #3 Hog Creek Hustle (15-1) cuts back in distance off a third-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) in late February. 4-year-old was not disgraced when closing to finish sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) last November and can be running late with Van Dyke taking the mount. Trainer Asmussen wins with 14% of runners that have not raced for 90 days or more and saddles #11 Nitrous (20-1). Son of Tapit has won one of two previous starts on this oval and narrowly missed defeating rival Hog Creek Hustle, when second in the Woody Stephens (G1) last year. Gray has been working well for his return and gets Santana in the irons.
A full and competitive field lines up for the Apple Blossom (G1) and #5 Point of Honor (10-1) may have just needed her latest when second over 7 furlongs at Tampa last month, being her first start since last August. Daughter of Curlin finished second to talented runners Dunbar Road and Guarana in her last two outings last year and trainer Weaver wins with a solid 23% of his second-time starters. Chestnut can be running from off what should be a solid pace with Van Dyke taking the mount.
#3 Curlin Rules (8-1) weakened late after leading early when second over a mile in his latest here early last month. Son of Curlin has won one of six starts at this distance and recent works include a fast 5-furlong move in :59 3/5 for trainer Sadler who wins with 17% of his claimers. 7-year-old figures to be sent to the early lead again with Baze remaining aboard.
Some well-bred maidens go on turf here including #7 Big Dreaming (6-1), who debuts for trainer Stidham who wins with 15% of his first-time starters. Son of good turf sire Declaration of War is out of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Dreaming of Anna, who is the dam of two stake winners. Colt’s works include a sharp 5-furlong move in :59 2/5 from the gate at Fair Grounds last month and 3-year-old appears ready for a good first outing under Camacho, who has won with two of his last five rides for Stidham.