Pricci's Free Daily Feature Race Analysis

Whenever his daily work schedule permits, HorseRaceInsider executive editor John Pricci will analyze that day's feature race from a major thoroughbred-racing jurisdiction.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

To Honor And Serve Too Much Race Horse

Back to the Big Ballpark; Big Sandy, hard by the Cross Island Parkway, opened yesterday but really gets started to today with the one mile Westchester Stakes.

Parenthetically, it’s really a Grade 1 but it’s masquerading today as a Grade 3. There is no telling how good this field is or will be. And that’s not including three already proven G1 performers.

Clearly, To Honor And Serve (7-5) is a deserving early line favorite who figures to be the public’s ante-post choice. When last seen, he was showing his class taking the G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last fall earning a career best figure on the Equiform scale.

But it wasn’t aberrantly fast, showing incremental development the way most of Bill Mott’s charges do. At 4, he is just now coming into his own. Mott has intimated he may need this run as the Met Mile is his major spring goal; we shall see.

Since returning from injury, Rick Dutrow has been very careful picking out spots, not wanting to demand too much while at the same time boosting the confidence of Boys At Tosconova.

Also 4, he’s won three straight without entering a race with a proper name attached to it. It’s time to find out where he fits relative to this country’s best runners. Ramon Dominguez leaves from the rail with the 5-2 second favorite.

It easy to make a case that Jersey Town (3-1) just hasn’t been the same horse since he won the 2010 Cigar Mile, going winless since. That notion has validity but he’s been unlucky, too, with ill-timed handling, wrong setups, or both.

In our view, even at 85 percent, To Honor And Serve has too much class, speed, position and connections for this group.

Taking the Mott runner to win, no price restrictions, key boxing him in two positions with his rivals here and keying him first in super exotics, adding Bold Deed (12-1) and Marilyn’s Guy (6-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (1069) 328-210-160 Total Dollar Return: $2,259.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, April 27, 2012

Let’s Make Amends at Keeneland

A wise betting man once said “the place you lose it is the place you get it back.”

Well, it’s another graded mile and a half turf race for older horses at Keeneland, this one for males.

Yesterday, we might have been on to something with 6-1 chance Senada but believe Javier Castellano might have made a premature love to the lead.

Well, there may be some value available with Simmard (3-1) in today’s G2 Elkhorn at 12 furlongs.

You want need a road map to find the correct favorite in Newsdad (9-5) who beat Simmard under similar conditions at Gulfstream Park. He’s improving with every start and at 4 is just now developing.

But this is Keeneland, where Simmard has done some of his best racing and figure earning; Castellano gets a chance to make amends and of greatest significance, a 6-pound weight switch with the favorite making his course debut.

Taking Simmard to win at 3-1 or greater, an exacta box with Newsday, and adding uncoupled mate Musketier (4-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (1068) 328-210-159 Total Dollar Return: $2,259.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Senada; It All Fits

Today’s Keeneland feature on the penultimate day of the spring meet is the Grade 3 Bewitch for older fillies and mares going a mile and a half on turf. These are, of course, “rider’s races.”

You need timing, and the trip, and the ability to get the trip and it never hurts, especially on the Lexington green, to have shown an affinity for the course.

Enter Senada (4-1) who not only fits all the parameters as detailed above but has been sent through her paces three times—13 furlongs--in the past 11 days, an indication that Barclay Tagg means business today.

Yes, she earned an excellent performance figure on the Equiform scale at the distance and over the course, and a switch to Castellano and an inside post and likely ground-saving run can seal this deal in an otherwise open spot.

Taking Senada to win at 3-1 or greater and keying her first and second in multiples with Here To Here (5-2), a G3 winner last out, and Woodford Belle (3-1), who draws the meet’s leading rider in Leparoux for the very live and productive Michelle Nihei.

Running Totals: (1067) 328-210-158 Total Dollar Return: $2,259.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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