With only a couple days till Derby, Tim Holland provides his North American racing picks for Churchill Downs, Gulfstream Park, and Saratoga.
Trainer Shirer has won with a recent first-time starters and saddles #3 Cabo Dorado (12-1), who has a good win early pedigree being by City Zip and out of a mare by Yonaguska. Chestnut is a half-sister to five winners and has worked well for Shirer, who has won with 24% of his runners this year. Filly can win at first asking with Bridgmohan riding.
#9 Candy Cornell (9-2) has not been seen since finishing second as the favorite after being involved from the start at Keeneland in July. Trainer Diodoro wins with 23% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and with 28% that were beaten as the favorite last time out. Son of Candy Ride can be running from just off a solid pace with Cohen remaining aboard.
A competitive field for the Pocahontas (G3) includes #11 Girl Daddy (8-1), who overcame a slow start when impressively winning her debut at Ellis in July. Daughter of Uncle Mo cost $500K as a yearling and has worked well since her first outing for trainer Romans, who wins with 16% of his runners that broke their maiden last time out. Gray can be in good position from the start with Talamo retaining the mount.
#2 Vinnie Van Go (3-1) was claimed by Victor Barboza when easily winning his latest over 6-furlongs here early last month. Barboza wins with a high 46% of his runners first time off the claim and gelding has a record of 22-7-3-3 on this track and won 1-of-4 previous starts at this distance. Bay can be on or near the early lead with Torres riding.
Jorge Abreu wins with 16% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days and saddles #6 My Sweet Wife (6-1), who was last seen when flattening out to finish fifth after making some progress from just off the paced at Belmont in June in her second outing. Daughter of Candy Ride is out of a mare by Arch and Abreu has won with 29% of his starters at this meet. Filly can be along from off the pace under Lezcano, who won with his latest ride for the barn.