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.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bond Filly Ready for Today’s Engagement

Today’s Belmont Park feature is a secondary allowances, optional claimer for New York bred fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf course, and a competitive event it is.

There seems to be sufficient speed signed out to make the shape advantageous to a trip sitting late runner. Cagey Girl (5-2) has proved consistently fastest--although her best runs have come at the Spa--and makes her debut for the Asmussen barn.

Of the late runners and trip sitters, this route boils down to Triple Tax Exempt (4-1), Smart Engagement (4-1), Exonerated (5-1) and the Tom Bush entry, headed by Ambidaxtrous (7-2).

Of these, we’re looking most closely at Smart Engagement, who has the greatest chance to provide wagering value. She is not as fast as her tougher rivals but never has taken a backward step in three career starts.

She makes her second start following a layup for a barn, Jimmy Bond’s, that’s a profitable 25 percent in that scenario, and Rajiv Maragh takes he re-ride. Hindered by a slow pace yet earning her best performance figure to date, she figures to benefit from a much more lively tempo here.

Taking Smart Engagement to win at 7-2 or greater and keying her first and second in trifectas with her four rivals here.

Running Totals: (656) 206-132-93 Total Dollar Return: $1,438.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Belle Of The Feature

In today’s Belmont Park allowance feature for fillies and mares 3 & up non-winners of 2 lifetime, there is great temptation to pick against early line favorite Belle Of The Hall (6-5). After all, she spots most of her rivals experience as the winner of her only lifetime start, at six furlongs, not today’s seven, and there has been a change of venue, from Gulfstream Park to Big Sandy.

The most likely alternative would be Muhaawara (5-2), who’s competitive on performance figures, has experience--five starts and three at today’s trip--coming off a soft win figure wise and given plenty of spacing, almost six weeks. And the team of Kiaran McLaughlin and Johnny Velazquez certainly doesn’t hurt.

And there’s Jersey Shore Girl (6-1), who’s also competitive figure-wise, has conditioning turning back from one mile, was totally eliminated at the break in her last race, switching to Rajiv Maragh and likely to fall between the parimutuel cracks.

But aside from the top connections, Tom Albertrani and Ramon Dominguez, the manner of her win was indicative of a filly who will have no problem with the added furlong, given excellent energy distribution in her debut and the manner of her totally comprehensive victory. Even though Muhaawara has the pedigree to be special, too, this filly has an extremely high upside.

Taking Belle Of The Hall, no price restrictions, and keying her first and second in both multiples with her formidable rivals here.

Running Totals: (655) 205-132-93 Total Dollar Return: $1,434.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fly South Headed in the Right Direction

Today’s nominal feature at Delaware Park is a $50,000 claiming event for three-year-olds sprinting six furlongs and it has attracted a competitive field of eight.

The early line favorite clearly is the most accomplished. Don’t Blame the Cat (5-2) has won three starts, including a small stakes and has the performance figures that gives him an edge in this matchup.

However, as accomplished as he is, he’s dropping into a straight claimer off a brief layup and has been training very well at Monmouth Park for his return. So why is he shipping to Delaware instead of running for the rich purses at the Shore.

Now King Rock (9-2) has won two of his last three and is realistically placed at this level but lacks the figures to place with his the fastest members of this group. But Fly South (7-2).

From the barn of Cody Autry, who has gotten off quickly at the young meet, he has the kind of tactical speed and inside position that plays nicely at this venue and the talented position-conscious Shane Sellers--who’s done a lot of winning for this barn of late--is more than capable of working out a favorable inside trip.

Taking Fly South to win at 3-1 or greater and boxing him in the exacta with King Rock.

Running Totals: (654) 205-132-93 Total Dollar Return: $1,434.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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