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.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

Today’s feature is the listed Xtra Heat Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 & up on the inner turf course at six furlongs. Talented group of turf sprinters headed by Diamondrella (7-2), Mohegan Sky (3-1) and Smart And Fancy (7-2).

On performances figures, the latter is fastest, consistently and by a considerable margin. The bad news is that most of those efforts were at shorter distances and she should high weight of 121 pounds from an outside post. Not easy.

Mohegan Sky returns fresh for Linda Rice as part of an uncoupled entry. The last time this filly raced fresh, she won, and she’s been training purposefully for her return. She loves Belmont grass, first or second in five of eight starts, including two wins at the distance. Javier Castellano fits her wide late-rally style.

But Angel Penna Jr. has returned with a vengeance this year and is profitable for a career in all relevant categories. The one that stands out is that he is a very worthy 47 percent efficient with repeaters. And Diamondrella is seeking her fourth straight score. She worked well since her latest and Rajiv Maragh rides her like he owns her. A repeat of her most recent effort wins this contentious sprint.

Taking Diamondrella to win at 5-2 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas and trifectas.

Running Totals: (292) 87-61-35 Total Dollar Return: $578.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shug Likely to Continue Roll

And yet another turf feature, only this one has a name, the Athenia, a Grade 3 for fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth on the Widener course. As usual at this time of year, it’s all about the ground, and it’s always about the trip. The bad news is that all this points to the favorite, Criminologist (6-5).

The form in the rest of the field is spotty. Of the in-form group, most of them are either long on early speed or become rank when not given their head. This plays to Criminologist’s strength. Further, she is drawn inside, the anticipated slower pace due to the course will have her in better position early. Who better at working out an inside-out turf trip than Edgar Prado?

Taking Criminologist to win at even money or greater, boxing her in the exacta with Waquoit’s Love (9-2), pacesetting runnerup to the Phipps filly last out. Not the most interesting feature this week.

Running Totals: (291) 87-61-34 Total Dollar Return: $578.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, October 10, 2008

Viva La Re-Claim

The feature race turf theme continues at Belmont Park with a “non-winners of 3/$75,000 claiming allowances” at a mile and a sixteenth for fillies and mares, 3 & up.

The interesting filly in her is Jeux de Danse, entered for $75,000 after being re-claimed recently by Gary Contessa. In fact, the five-year-old has been very popular at the claim box, haltered in three of her last five starts.

The attraction here, other than her 9-2 early odds, is her liking for off ground, something virtually assured at this time of year in the Northeast. She’s won her of her four starts on Belmont turf and three of eight at the distance with three other ITM finishes.

Her figures are competitive with the high-connection, somewhat slower, younger rivals and he tactical speed might allow a comfortable trip despite her outside draw, albeit in a short field.

Taking Jeux De Danse to win at 3-1 or greater and keying her first and second in exotics with Sea Chanter (9-5), Polar Circle (2-1) and Leap of the Sun (8-1).

Running Totals: (290) 87-61-33. Total Dollar Return: $578.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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