Saturday’s TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Holding Aces is in better form than it appears

Aqueduct | Race 5 | Post Time 2:20 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs

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The two runners likely to take the most money are Holland Road (#1) and Special Story (#5). I think they both must be used in some capacity, but I’m not excited about the prospect of picking either one. Holland Road was the kind of horse you wanted last time, considering that his trainer, Michael Dilger, has awesome numbers with horses coming off a maiden win. Special Story had some minor trouble in his prior start at Del Mar, but Robertino Diodoro has just mediocre statistics off trainer switches like this.

The Pace Projector is predicting a situation that favors runners on or near the lead, and I think that could work to the advantage of HOLDING ACES (#6). I know that his recent form looks concerning, but he’s had excuses. Something obviously went wrong three back at Belmont, but his two more recent races at Aqueduct have not been all that bad. He hung on well until the late stages two back, but the seven furlongs proved to be just a bit too far for him. Then last time he completely missed the break, spotting the field by three or four lengths, and actually ran on reasonably well to close for fifth. He’s subtly rounding back into better form and his top effort gives him a real chance to beat the favorites.

I’ll use Holding Aces with the two favorites, but I also want to throw in Sir Alfred (#7) as he returns from an extended layoff. The best race that he had ever run back in April 2016 at Gulfstream also came off a very lengthy layoff, so there’s reason to believe he could be ready to put forth a top effort here.

THE PLAY

Win/Place: 6
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,5,7

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