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, December 31, 2009

Nighty Nite 2009

The final stakes race for 2009 in New York is the venerable Gallant Fox Handicap, a race that used to be much sought after and now, an ungraded curtain closer. Nevertheless, it has drawn a full field of older horses over the marathon route of 13 furlongs--that’s a mile and five-eighths, a long way indeed.

The temptation is to throw deep on the last day of the year, especially in a large field on this somewhat narrow oval. But we cannot in good conscience. You can play this one over and over and it still comes up Nite Light, the 8-5 overnight choice. Let’s count the ways.

The first thing that stands out is that he won this race by 10 lengths as a 3-year-old of 2007, his only start at the distance. He’s not tasted defeat in two winner-track starts, drops down out of the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, and has been freshened and reserved for this by a barn, Todd Pletcher’s, that’s a worthy 37% at this meet.

Add Ramon Dominguez to the mix and he’s very formidable indeed but don‘t expect to make a fortune to close out the year.

Taking Nite Light to win at 3-2 or greater and keying him first and second in multiple with two uncoupled stablemates; fast working Tiger’s Rock (12-1), with the hot David Cohen in the boot, and Atoned (4-1), making his third start off a layup for an outfit that’s a profitable 28% in that role. Further, add game old pro Lord Kipling (12-1) to the mix, who will dictate the pace as far as C. C. Lopez and the 6-year-old’s heart will take him.

Running Totals: (567) 178-114-78 Total Dollar Return: $1,227.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Smokin From the Start

Today’s feature race in New York is a non-winners of 3 other than-optional claimer for three-year-olds and Up at six furlongs has drawn a pretty salty group.

And while we’re not thrilled to be carrying highweight in this situation, we like the idea of possibly being loose on the early lead.

And who better to engineer a frontrunning winter track score than C. C. Lopez, the best speed rider this side of Hall of Famers Earlie Fires and Bobby Ussery.

Not only has the gelded three-year-old Smokin Hero (3-1) won half his eight starts at the distance, but he earned his best performance figure on a wet inner track last season, so you know he likes the surface. His mid-pack draw should help him dictate the proceedings.

Taking Smokin Hero to win at 3-1 or greater and keying him first and second in the multiples with Carbonite (5-2) from the ever dangerous Tony Dutrow/Ramon Dominguez team and fast-working Mt. Glittermore (4-1).

Running Totals: (566) 178-113-78 Total Dollar Return: $1,227.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, December 27, 2009

LAVA MAN: Great story, Bad bet

Our return from the Christmas break brings us to Santa Anita Park for the Grade 2 San Gabriel at nine furlongs on the turf. It marks the return of Lava Man (7-2); great story, bad bet.

Actually, it’s the remarkably consistent Proudinsky (5-2), trained by Humberto Ascanio, a good story himself. His charge loves the route, arguably is racing in career form, loves the distance and reunites with Raffy Bejarano, a winner aboard the five year old several starts back.

The main danger in fact is the early line favorite, Loup Breton, who was most impressive winning her U.S debut at Hollywood Park, a big figure performance and his second win in four starts at the trip. Garrett Gomez takes the re-ride for Julio Canani.

Taking Proudinsky to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta and trifecta part wheel using the favorite first with our choice, with Lava Man in the second and third slot. An extra exacta box of our choice and the early favorite.
Running Totals: (565) 177-113-78 Total Dollar Return: $1,221.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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