by Tim Holland

Holland has a heavy focus upon an outstanding 11-race program at Churchill Downs on Saturday, and also provides picks for Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, and Ruidoso Downs.

Churchill Downs

Race 3:

Blinkers are added to #12 Flying the Colors (5-1), who was last seen when closing to finish second over a mile at Tampa in late-March in her third career outing. 4-year-old should be suited to the added distance being by War Front and out of a mare by Galileo and trainer Motion wins with 18% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Bay can be along from off the pace with Castellano in the saddle.

Race 5:

#2 Magic Mo (12-1) gets blinkers added while dropping in class off a sixth-place finish in his debut over the track and distance last September. Son of Uncle Mo is a half-brother to three winners and recent works include a 5-furlong move in 1:00 1/5 this month for trainer Foley, who won with two of her last 10 runners that had not raced for 90+ days. Bay can be forwardly placed early with Cohen riding.

Race 7:

After being tried in many different situations, #3 Princess Causeway (12-1) produced a career best effort in her latest, when rallying to win from off the pace at Gulfstream in her first try going this distance on dirt. Daughter of Giant’s Causeway won one of her four previous starts on this oval for trainer Wilkes, who wins with 13% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Filly has been working well and should find a solid pace to be closing into with Landeros retaining the mount.

Race 8:

A couple of second-time starters catch the eye in this maiden event. #3 Mau Mau (10-1) is by Empire Maker and out of a half-sister to Hungry Island, who won the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2). Dark bay was not a threat when fourth in his debut at this distance at Gulfstream early last month but has been working well for trainer McGaughey, who wins with 15% of his runners in their second outing. Trainer Jordan wins with 16% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and saddles #8 Oceanic (15-1), who has not been seen since finishing second over 6-furlongs in his debut at Tampa in early-April. Son of excellent young sire Constitution worked 4-furlongs in :48 1/5 and should improve at this longer distance.

Race 9:

#8 Cardamon (8-1) tries turf for the first time and was prominent from the start when winning a competitive allowance on a sloppy surface at Oaklawn in her latest early last month. Daughter of 12% grass sire Pioneerof the Nile has been working forwardly and is a half-sister to two turf winners including Emollient, who won the American Oaks (G1) on turf. Trainer Mott wins with 18% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and filly can be in good position throughout with Garcia remaining aboard.

Race 11:

A highly competitive field for the Mint Julep (G3) includes #6 Nay Lady Nay (4-1), who has not been seen since rallying from off the pace to win the Mrs Revere (G2) over the course and distance in November. Trainer Chad Brown wins with a solid 30% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days and daughter of excellent young European turf sire No Nay Never has won 3-of-5 career starts on grass. Dark bay can be along from off the pace with Jose Ortiz up.

Gulfstream Park

Race 4:

#3 North Broadway (3-1) has not raced since flattening out after making early progress to finish fourth behind subsequent stakes winner Elizabeth Bay in her debut in January. Daughter of Quality Road is out of a half-sister to Hootenanny, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and trainer Brown wins with 29% of his second time starters. 4-year-old has been working well and can be along from off the pace with Juarez up.

Santa Anita

Race 2:

Trainer Alvarado wins with 22% of runners in maiden claiming events and saddles #5 Italian Fighter (15-1), a debuting son of 16% first out sire Clubhouse Ride. Barn failed to win with last six first-time starters, but gelding’s works include a solid 5-furlong move in 1:01 1/5 earlier this month. Bay could be ready for a decent first outing with Eswan Flores riding.

Race 7:

A field of nine for the Honeymoon (G3) includes #9 Stela Star (2-1), who finished well for second after a slow start in the China Doll S. in her first North American outing. 3-year-old won the Killavullan (G2) at Leopardstown in October two back before joining trainer Sadler, who wins with 21% of his runners in graded stakes. Bay should appreciate the added distance and can get a trouble-free trip from an outside post with Prat in the saddle.

Ruidoso Downs

Race 8:

#5 Samoken Up a Storm (5-1) debuts for trainer Marr, who wins with 16% of his first-time starters and at a 19% clip this meet. Filly has a good win early pedigree being by Attila’s Storm and has worked well, and gray can be ready to win at first asking with Fuentes in the irons.