Handicapper Tim Holland has an opinion in three races at Keeneland Thursday, including an upset pick in the Sycamore S. (G3), and offers a couple of selections for Laurel Park and Presque Isle Downs.
Trainer Brisset won with a newcomer here last week and saddles #4 Abundant (10-1), a debuting 3-year-old by 16% first-out sire Speightstown. Out of Baruta, winner of the Ken Maddy (G3) sprinting on turf at Santa Anita, the chestnut cost $175K as a yearling and works include a bullet 4-furlong move in :47 from the gate for Brisset, who wins with 15% of his runners overall in maiden special weight events. Colt appears ready for a good first outing with Franco riding.
#5 So Gracious (6-1) finished fast when winning her latest at this distance at Saratoga last month in her first start since January. Trainer Russell wins with 26% of her runners that won last time out and daughter of Speightstown has won two of her nine career starts. 4-year-old should find a solid pace to close into with Gaffalione taking the mount.
A competitive field for the Sycamore (G3) includes #7 North Dakota (10-1), who has shown improvement throughout the year and was last seen when overcoming slow fractions to win from off the pace at Colonial Downs in late-July. Son of Medaglia d’Oro is a half-brother to excellent sire War Front and has been working well for trainer McGaughey, who wins with 19% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Dark bay can be closing late with Lanerie riding.
Some well-bred maiden fillies include #11 Carbis Bay (6-1), who debuts for a 17% first-out trainer, Mike Stidham. Daughter of Curlin is out of Penwith, who won the Royal Delta (G2), and the filly has been working well for Stidham, who won with four of his first 10 runners at this meet. Bay appears ready to win at first asking with Cintron in the irons.
Stidham wins with 21% of his second-time starters and saddles #2 Rumpus (6-1), who weakened to finish unplaced in her debut over 6 1/2 furlongs at Woodbine last month. Stidham has won with 20% of his runners since the beginning of the year and daughter of speedy sire Kantharos is a half-sister to three winners. $175K purchase earlier this year has worked well since her first outing and can be near the front from the start with Hernandez riding.