Handicapper Tim Holland provides his North American free racing picks for Keeneland, Belmont Park, and Gulfstream Park West.
Maidens going 9 furlongs on the main track include #2 Tribulation (9-2), who comes off a fourth-place finish in an even effort over 6 1/2 furlongs in his debut at Churchill last month. Son of Medaglia d’Oro is out of a full sister to Commentator, who was a dual winner of the Whitney (G1), and trainer Stewart wins with 12% of his runners going from a sprint to a route. Gelding can be in good position throughout under Talamo, who has won with two of his last 12 rides for the barn.
Plenty of pace may set up for a closer such as #2 Power End (10-1), who flattened out after making progress from off the pace when third over 7 furlongs at Kentucky Downs last month. Son of Street Boss has a record of 4-2-1-1 on turf for trainer Asmussen, who has won with 19% of his runners this year. Colt can be along late with Santana retaining the mount.
A competitive field for the Valley View (G3) includes #4 Walk In Marrakesh (10-1), who weakened to finish sixth in the Edgewood (G2) over one mile at Churchill early last month. Chestnut was a close second in the Appalachian (G2) over this turf two back and narrowly missed when runner-up in the Florida Oaks (G3) at this distance earlier in the year. Trainer Correas wins with 14% of his runners in graded stakes and filly can be forwardly placed early. If the early pace is overly fast, one who could benefit is #5 Witez (8-1), who closed to finish third in the Lake George (G3) at Saratoga in her latest in August. Daughter of More Than Ready finished well when second in the Jessamine (G2) over the course and distance last fall and can be running late with Leparoux in the saddle.
Trainer DePaz wins with 22% of his first-time starters and saddles #7 Exfiltration (9-2), a debuting daughter of 18% first-out sire Twirling Candy from the family of Pioneerof the Nile. Filly has been working well and appears ready for a good first outing with Castellano riding.
Gulfstream Park West
#7 Lord Melbourne (7-2) has not been seen since finishing a well-beaten third in her debut over 6 furlongs at Gulfstream in July, from which race the winner returned to win a starter allowance easily at Churchill. Trainer Plesa wins with 21% of his second-time starters and with 18% of his runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Son of Curlin has worked well since his first outing and can be forwardly placed throughout with Arroyo retaining the mount.