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.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Saving Grace

Two full gates tomorrow and one full gate today for the distaff version of Derby 138, the Kentucky Oaks and a field of 14 well matched fillies, where as many as six have a serious chance.

Just like tomorrow, there is a lot of speed signed on to compete at today’s 9 furlong trip, and the post position gods were with the early line choice, Grace Hall (5-2), nicely drawn inside in slip number two.

After showing too much freshness in her season’s debut, Grace Hall relaxed nicely from close range, bided her time under new rider Javier Castellano, took the lead soon after entering the stretch and drew off impressively to win the Gulfstream Park Oaks by 6-1/2 lengths.

In her only start over the surface, she finished second to eventual undefeated champion, My Miss Aurelia, so there are no worries in terms of handling the surface. After Grace Hall, things open considering.

But we're Grace Hall to win, no price restrictions, and keying her first and second in exactas with the speedy Broadway’s Alibi (4-1) and price shot Summer Applause (15-1).

Running Totals: (1072) 329-210-160 Total Dollar Return: $2,262.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, May 03, 2012

Have a Safe Trip

Interesting sprint feature at Churchill Downs, today’s 10th, a non-winners of 3 allowances/optional claiming featuring a very sharp and fast favorite in Riley Tucker (5-2), a hard-hitting old pro that owns a pair of victories over the surface for trainer Steve Asmussen.

What makes him so tough is the fact he can win with the lead or without it, giving his rider lots of options.

But it’s Safe Trip (3-1) that intrigues us more. He comes off an excellent comeback effort in his first start off a very lengthy layoff—fast, but not too fast, and a good race to build on.

Not only does he also own two victories on this surface but has earned some of his best performance figures here.

The 5-year-old gelding makes his second start for trainer Bret Calhoun, Miguel Mena takes a return call and returns to his favorite venue seven weeks fresh.

Taking Safe Trip to win at 5-2 or greater and an exacta box with the favorite.

Running Totals: (1071) 329-210-160 Total Dollar Return: $2,262.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

There’s Gold In Belmont Feature

Today’s Belmont Park feature is the $90,000 Heatherten overnight Stakes for older fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth and while we’re admittedly splitting hairs here, we don’t believe Cash For Clunkers (2-1) is the appropriate early line favorite.

Clearly, the Rick Violette-trained filly is coming off two very sharp efforts, including a New Pace Top pattern in her last and the spacing seems just right. The daughter of Tiznow is 3-for-5, never off the board, a record that includes a (2) 1-1-0 slate at the trip.

But since the early favorite lacks Belmont Park experience, the preference for favoritism—and a winners’ circle appearance—is R Gypsy Gold (5-2), a Bernardini filly who not only gets back to Big Sandy, where she owns a worthy (4) 2-0-2 slate, but a distance at which she’s also a dominating (4) 2-1-1 record.

When last seen this filly was narrowly defeated in the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, Now back home and reuniting with Johnny Velazquez, she returns with perfect spacing and is ideally spotted by Todd Pletcher. She packs a good stretch punch and is tactical enough if needed.

Taking R Gypsy Gold to win, with no price restrictions, and boxing her in exactas with the early line favorite. Should the track come up wet, Nefertini, for a barn that’s a profitable 28% with third-off-layup starters, is a worthy inclusion.

Running Totals: (1071) 329-210-160 Total Dollar Return: $2,262.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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