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, 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


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Asphalt Will Be Hard to Beat

Today’s Hallandale Beach for three year olds going a mile and a sixteenth on the Gulfstream turf course is a highly competitive event with six of the eight entered having a chance to win it.

If the early line is any indication, the play will be Asphalt at anything resembling early line odds (6-1).

He was talented enough to earn an excellent performance figure in his turf debut at seven furlongs, then came back to match his career best going today’s distance in his juvenile finale at Churchill Downs.

He parlayed that excellent try into winning his three year and course debut four weeks ago. Subsequently, he worked a strong half mile at Palm Meadows in :47 4/5, the second fastest half mile by a sophomore that week from a sample of 151 horses.

Clearly, he appreciates the firmer footing here, trainer Eddie Kenneally has a profitable record in non-graded stakes and he’ll be saving ground until ready beneath Rajiv Maragh.

Taking Asphalt to win and place at 4-1 or greater.

Running Totals: (589) 185-120-80 Total Dollar Return: $1,287.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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