07/24/2008 11:00PM

Holy Harem looks strong in Tah Dah


Holy Harem will be the prohibitive favorite when she faces nine other Ohio-bred 2-year-old fillies in the $50,000 Tah Dah at River Downs.

In her first race, which came May 30 on the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs, Holy Harem ran third, beaten only three-quarters of a length in a maiden special weight race. She came back to win a maiden special weight race at Presque Isle on June 25 by 1 1/4 lengths.

"It is the fastest 2-year-old filly maiden race of the meet," trainer Tim Hamm said.

Holy Harem signaled her readiness for the 5 1/2-furlong Tah Dah with a best-of-47 work at Thistledown on Monday. She will be ridden by Luis Gonzalez. Holy Harem is a daughter of Holy Bull and a half-sister to Oh So Easy, a Hamm trainee who was the Ohio handicap mare of the year two years in a row.

Hamm had Holy Harem entered in the $50,000 Hoover two weeks ago, but he opted to scratch and run Holy Harem in the Tah Dah.

"I thought about it, and we decided to not run her back with only two weeks between races because of the heat," Hamm said. "We thought we would have a chance to win the Hoover with our other entrants and we wanted to do what was best for her in the long term."

Hamm's trainees, Raise the Reward and Astronaut, ran first and second in the Hoover.

Hamm also sends out the only other winner in the Tah Dah, X's and O's, as he tries to win his eighth Tah Dah in the last 12 years. In her debut, X's and O's won a maiden special weight race by three lengths at River on June 13. She went off as the favorite in the Hoover, but finished sixth. Cesar Camaque will get the mount.

Due to a change in Ohio Racing Commission rules, Hamm's entrants will race as separate betting interests, although they have common ownership.

Trainer Miguel Feliciano sends out two first-time starters who also will not be coupled.