Tim Holland provides his expert picks for this day in racing. Tracks covered include Kentucky Downs, Parx Racing, and Presque Isle Downs.
Several well-bred newcomers include #10 Risky Reward (10-1), a debuting daughter of promising young turf sire Mshawish who is out of a daughter of Changing Skies, winner of The Very One (G3). Trainer Walsh wins with a slightly low 7% of his first-time starters but filly has posted two recent bullet 4-furlong works at Ellis. Bay appears ready for a good first outing under Gaffalione, who has won with three of his first nine rides at this meet.
Mike Maker wins with 17% of his runners making their turf debut and saddles #1 Well Connected (6-1), who makes his first start on grass off a weakening second-place finish at Ellis in early August. Chestnut should take to the surface being by Distorted Humor and Maker has won with 20% of his starters since the beginning of the year. Colt can be on or near the lead from the start with Irad Ortiz taking the mount.
#10 Born Great (6-1) made late progress when third in his debut over 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill in mid-June, from which the runner-up returned to break his maiden at Saratoga in his next outing. Son of excellent turf sire Scat Daddy is a half-brother to Four Wheel Drive, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) and trainer Walsh wins with 15% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Gelding can be along from off the pace with Gaffalione up.
A competitive field for the Tapit includes #9 Empire of War (8-1), who comes off an easy win in an off-the-turf event at Saratoga last month. Son of Declaration of War won the Awad S. as a juvenile when trained by Todd Pletcher and disappointed in first few outings for Mike Maker, but has signaled a return to form winning his last two starts. 4-year-old is a half-brother to Test (G1) winner, Separationofpowers and can be stalking the early leaders with Gaffalione remaining aboard.
Lasix is added to #4 Missing Hoover (7-2), who gave way badly after vying for the early lead facing better in her debut here early last month. Daughter of Jump Start is a half-sister to one winner and has worked well since his first outing for trainer Blane Servis. Filly figures to be the one to catch with Rosado retaining the mount.
#1 Speedy Vanessa (4-1) is a half-sister to Karlovy Vary, who won the Ashland (G1) and has not been seen since rallying from just off the pace to break her maiden at Tampa in December. Daughter of American Pharoah tries an all-weather surface for the first time for trainer Motion, who wins with 20% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days. Bay can be in good position from the start with Pino up.