Holland's North American Racing Picks for May 17
by Tim Holland
Trainer Rodriguez wins with 15% of his first-time starters in maiden claiming events and saddles #5 Night Orchid (12-1), a debuting son of 18% first-out sire New Year’s Day. A half-sister to four winners, chestnut has been working forwardly at Belmont for Rodriguez, who is winning at a 20% clip this year. Filly appears ready for a good first outing with Manny Franco up.
Blinkers are added to #9 Honoring Major (8-1), who made some belated progress at Oaklawn last month in his first start since being claimed by John Ortiz. Chestnut has won 1-of-3 starts on this oval and posted a decent 4-furlong work in :48 2/5 at Keeneland six days ago. Son of Sky Mesa may be closer to the early pace with Jose Ortiz in the saddle.
#9 Uncle Kick (12-1) has a good win early pedigree being by Uncle Mo and out of a mare by Tapit. Gelding has been working well at Calumet Farm for trainer Fernandez, who has won with a firster, and newcomer appears to be worth consideration at long-odds with Pedroza in the irons.
Trainer Nicks wins with 16% of his second-time starters and saddles #3 Rocket Blast (20-1), who faded to finish sixth on the main track in his but last month. Son of Curlin is out of a daughter of Society Selection, who won the Alabama (G1) and is a half-brother to two winners on turf. Chestnut has worked well since his first outing and should show more here with Zayas riding.
A lack of early pace could give #5 Red Fog (3-1) an advantage in this one-mile event. 4-year-old comes off a weakening fourth place finish facing better last month in his first start for trainer Garoffalo, who wins with 17% of his runners dropping two classes. Gelding passed the post first after leading from the start two back at this level and distance, and will likely be in front early with Irad Ortiz taking the mount.
#1 Wind of Change (9-2) led from the start to win and allowance in his latest over a mile in late-March when making his second start for trainer Loza. Son of Forestry has won 7-of-12 career outings, and Loza wins with 24% of his runners that won last time out. Bay figures to be the one to catch again breaking from the rail with Zayas remaining aboard.
Santa Anita Park
Don Chatlos saddles #5 Madison Parc (7-2), who has not been seen since finishing fourth in an even effort in her debut on grass in March. Daughter of Curlin is out of a stakes-winning mare and has posted three solid 5-furlong works recently for Chatlos, who has won with 2-of-12 starters this year. Bay cost $420K as a weanling and can be in good position throughout with Prat again in the saddle.
Golden Gate Fields
#5 Exclusive Speaker (4-1) tries turf for the first time after an even third-place finish on the all-weather in mid-March the second time out. Gelding should take to the surface being by Mr Speaker and out of a mare by Quality Road, and trainer DeLima wins with 13% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. 3-year-old can be forwardly placed throughout with Couton in the irons.
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