Holland’s North American Spot Plays for Apr. 29
by Tim Holland
Handicapper Tim Holland has some strong opinions at Tampa Bay Downs on Wednesday, touting some price plays and a promising maiden winner over the turf course. He’s also recommending a couple of horses at Will Rogers Downs and Fonner Park.
Tampa Bay Downs
Claimers going 6-furlongs in the opener include #3 Solitary Jack (15-1), who may have needed his latest when fading to finish unplaced over the track and distance in his first outing since last July. Trainer Reardon wins with just 4% of his runners in claiming events, but the 6-year-old has won 4-of-13 career starts. Solitary Jack figures to be fastest early and may be tough to catch.
With a record of 5-3-1-1, #4 Bramble Queen (8-1) has shown an affinity for this turf and was last seen closing from off the pace to win a small stakes at Hawthorne in October. Daughter of 15% grass sire Silent Name has been working forwardly for trainer Dini, who wins with 16% of his runners that have not raced for 90 days or more. Dark bay should find a solid pace to close into under Mejia, who has won with 10% of his rides for the barn in the last two months.
Trainer Chad Brown wins with 30% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days and saddles #3 Assiduously (4-1), who has not been seen since breaking his maiden over the course and distance in December in his second outing. English-bred is from a good turf family and has been working well for Brown, who has won with 5-of-15 runners shipping to Tampa this meet. 3-year-old can be in good position throughout with Centeno taking the mount.
An interesting group on grass includes #10 North Dakota (6-1), who impressively closed from off the pace to break his maiden in his latest over the course and distance last month. Son of Medaglia d’Oro is a half-brother to the exceptional turf sire War Front, and trainer McGaughey wins with 14% of his runners that broke their maiden last time out. #9 That Quality (6-1) has not been seen since losing chances early over a mile here in early-January in his first start since winning his debut at Monmouth in August, defeating two next out winners. Trainer Thomas wins with 31% of runners that have not raced for 90 days or more, and gelding may provide some value with Centeno taking the mount.
Maiden fillies go a mile on the turf in the finale with McGaughey saddling #4 Stolen Holiday (9-2), a debuting daughter of War Front who is a half-sister to Minorette, the winner of the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1). 3-year-old cost $750K as a yearling and has been working well for a barn that is 4-for-12 this meet. Bay appears ready for a good first outing under Gallardo, who has won with three of his last seven rides for McGaughey.
Will Rogers Downs
Plenty of early pace may set up for a closer, such as #3 Totally Tiger (9-2), who rallied from off the pace to break his maiden over 6-furlongs in his latest here this month. Son of Smiling Tiger makes his second outing for trainer Silva, who won with nine of his last 22 runners exiting a maiden win. Gelding can be along in time with Bermudez in the irons.
Trainer Diodoro is having a good meet winning with 30% of his runners and saddles #8 Spirit of Caledon (8-1). 6-year-old flattened out to finish fourth after making progress in his latest over the track and distance, but was facing slightly better in his first try on this oval and after a short break. Diodoro wins with 27% of his runners in claiming events, and bay should find a solid pace to close into under Kennedy, who takes this mount opposed to the barn’s more fancied entrant.
A competitive field for this stakes includes #4 Sleepy Head Todd (5-1), who has not raced since fading to finish unplaced in the Mineshaft (G3) at Fair Grounds in mid-February. Gray finished a good second at long odds in the Oklahoma Derby (G3) last year and has run well fresh in the past for trainer Silva. Son of Paddy O’Prado has tactical speed and can be in good position throughout with Quincy Hamilton adding to the appeal.
#3 Ted W (2-1) lost his unbeaten record on this oval when fading to an unplaced finish in a one-mile stakes most recently, but 9-year-old should be tough at this level. Trainer Arceo has won 19% of his starts this meet, and gelding will employ front-running tactics Wood remaining aboard.