Pricci's Free Daily Feature Race Analysis

Five days per week and every racing day during the Saratoga meet, John Pricci will provide horse racing selections of that day's feature race. When the racing schedule dictates otherwise, there will be analysis from other major thoroughbred Tracks. Check back here 5 days a week for free horse racing selections.

In addition to his race analysis, John will provide commentary in a weekly "On the Line" column and daily blogs under the "Pricci's Morning Line" banner.

Friday, February 12, 2010

There’s No Speed Like SoCal Speed

Given its $51,000 purse, today’s fifth race at Gulfstream, a money allowances-optional claiming for older fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs, has attracted a competitive field of nine.

Quick Empress, the early line favorite (5-2), is turning back from the Sixty Sails Handicap, a race that produced two next out winners, turns back to her best distance, being 3-for-5 at six furlongs and 1-for-10 at any other trip. But the thinking is that this group might be a little too quick for her.

Even without any main track experience, we believe that Pinkarella (3-1) is a more deserving favorite. Trainer Doug O’Neill has sent many of hi horses East to get off the synthetics out West, with most going to Philadelphia Park. Not this girl; he shipped her into the SoFla big time.

When last seen, Pinkarella was chasing a hot pace in the Grade 1 LaBrea, won by the talented Evita Argentina. But that was at 7 furlongs and today’s turn-back suits her late-running sprint style.

The three losses on her card came in graded stakes; her two wins came in maiden-allowance and allowance company, the conditions here. She’s worked purposefully at her SoCal base before shipping here and attracts Jesus Castanon, who gets along nicely with this type of runner.

Owning versatile style, the newly turned four year old appears set for a career best try. Taking Pinkarella to win at 2-1 or greater and keying her in the multiples with fast working Bhangaloo Lady (5-1), sharp key race winning and fast working Wyatt’s Women (6-1), and Ivory Empress (6-1), from winning connections and sitting on a big effort.

Running Totals: (592) 186-120-81 Total Dollar Return: $1,293.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, February 11, 2010

There’s a Lot to Like About Warrior’s Reward

Don’t let the conditions of the eighth race from Gulfstream Park fool you; it’s really a small stakes masquerading as a non-winners of 2 money allowances.

It marks the return of more than a few classy animals, the classiest of them all is Warrior’s Reward (7-2), who I thought would run very well in the Travers until we all learned that 10 furlongs wasn’t his thing. Perhaps this year at 4.

Anyway, there’s much to like here despite the fact he hasn’t run since November 21st at Churchill, a race, incidentally, that has produced four next-out winners.

Until proven otherwise, he appears best as a stretch-running sprinter. He has run well fresh, fit’s the shape of this speedy contest, and his one-minute breeze at Palm Meadows for this was the second fastest of 53 at the distance for that week.

He loves 7 furlongs, broke his maiden on this track, and the team of Ian Wilkes and Julien Leparoux are a profitable tandem--and that’s from a sizable sample. This race is so contentious that getting early line odds is possible, although unlikely.

Taking Warrior’s Reward to win at 5-2 or greater and keying him first and second in the multiples with very sharp Presto Change O (5-1), and the returning speedster Snapshot (8-1), working purposefully for Mott, who’s 23 percent efficient with layups of 90 days or more.

Running Totals: (591) 185-120-81 Total Dollar Return: $1,287.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shabaab, Must Be Arabic for Fast

With a possible blizzard forecast for New York today, we’ll shift or focus south where at Gulfstream Park, a 5-furlong turf sprint looms as the days featured event for secondary allowance runners.

In grass races containing solid turf form do we reach out for horses making their first start on grass. The only exception to this rule is in turf sprints where ability to run fast often trumps preference for the footing.

Enter Shabaab (2-1). Making his second start off a layup and turf debut, Shabaab set an extremely strong pace (:44 2/5) before tiring in a 6-furlong dirt sprint here January 16.

By definition, he is the fastest horse on the Equiform scale, has run well on synthetics, a favorable turf indicator, and also happens to be bred for the ground on both sides of his pedigree.

When you consider that trainer Michael Pino is a profitable 30 percent efficient when going dirt to turf and worked a super sharp half mile in :46 4/5, it seals the deal. Rajiv Maragh takes the mount.

Taking Shabaab to win, no price restrictions, and boxing the exacta with Whodidntknowthat (4-1), a late running turf-sprint specialist that gets in light with seven-pound apprentice Jose Garcia.

Running Totals: (590) 185-120-81 Total Dollar Return: $1,287.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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