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, August 17, 2008

Take Sheppard, It’s Just As Well

Today’s sort-of feature, the 13-furlong overnight stakes honoring the Spa accomplishments of ultimate Horse for Course John’s Call, is a wide open field of eight. And although it seems Barclay Tagg seldom loses anyone, there’s an obligation to beat early line favorite Summer Patriot, a winner at 11 furlongs over the course but which is up in class and distance vs. a pretty salty group.

We’ll concentrate on three: Just as Well (3-1), Crown Point (6-1) and Biggerbadderbetter (7-2).

The latter, who also has a race over the course, will benefit from the added distance, having run very competitive in a Churchill Downs Grade 3 at 12 furlongs after having won a preliminary allowances at the same distance, earning highly competitive performance figures.

Crown Point clearly is getting some class relief here, having run in two Grade 1s and two Grade 2s in his last four attempts at a marathon route. Making a third start off a layup for turf ace David Donk, he reunites with leading rider Cornelio Velasquez. His best figures have been earned in marathons, including one of this course.

Just as Well’s figures jumped up in his first start on this course in which was was an untenable, wide-trip third. His pedigree is screaming for more distance, which he gets here, and no one might be more adept in marathons than Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard, who specializes in these events when his horses are not the ones leaving the ground. He drops five pounds, not insignificant here, draws inside and attracts Johnny V. He is a good percentage play at bettable odds.

Taking Just as Well to win at 3-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (255) 79-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $481.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Taking Value with Sword Dancer Repeater

With Red Rocks to be scratched because of a hock injury, picking the favorite in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer is a challenging as picking the winner. The course condition is an unknown at this point but the best it could be is yielding at post time.

The three logical horses are Grand Couturier (8-1) Better Talk Now (4-1) and Dancing Forever (5-2), the early lines not reflecting the anticipated scratch.

Grand Couturier is the defending champion in this race, which happens to coincide with the fact it was the best effort of his career. He likes it here, will be making his third start of the season, and his last was a breakthrough performance on the Equiform scale. He’s been pointed to this carefully by Bobby Ribaudo and the surging Alan Garcia picks up the mount.

Better Talk Now is a remarkable nine-year-old and throughout his career his best efforts have come either at the 12 distance, soft ground, or both, a scenario he likely will get here. Regular rider Ramon Dominguez has been on a recent tear and once again takes the reins on the Graham Motion veteran. Like Grand Couturier, he will need to run down likely loose leader, Presious Passion, beneath turf ace Eddie Castro.

Dancing Forever is another deep closer but one who has put his act together to enjoy a career season. Win or lose, everything Shug McGaughey is sending out is live and this late developer’s fortunes have improved since Rene Douglas has become his regular rider; interesting how some horses just respond better to certain riders.

We’ll take whatever value is offered on Grand Couturier to win, 4-1 or greater after the scratch of Red Rocks, and keying him in exactas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (254) 78-51-29 Total Dollar Return: $472.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, August 15, 2008

Giving Thanks for Talented Shippers

Today’s Grade 2 Lake Placid for three-year-old turf fillies at nine furlongs looks too easy--if, for one, it remains on the grass, and two, that one of the two speeds don’t scratch which, obviously, would leave the other loose on an uncontested lead.

Encanto Park might not class up to this bunch but she has enough gas to take the starch out of Raw Silk, a talented turf filly and one of the favorites by virtue of her score in the G2 Sands Point. If allowed to get loose in moderate fractions, the others would best concentrate on minor awards.

Don’t know what to make of the European filly in here because she did not class up in group events over there, which leaves I Lost My Choo (3-1), a very talented New York bred with a big late running engine, and Canadian filly Much Obliged.

The bad news is that no one knows, included trainer Phil Serpe, how she will act on very slow ground. The turf was soft yesterday and there’s an 80 percent chance of more rain today.

Much Obliged (4-1) came from extremely far back to be necked by a very genuine My Princess Jess in the G3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth following her impressive win in Chicago and has been given sufficient recovery time by Malcolm Pierce for this. She also is an unknown quantity on soft ground but, as a daughter of Kingmambo from a Strawberry Road mare, should appreciate some cut in the ground.

Taking Much Obliged to win at 5-2 or greater and an exacta box with I Lost My Choo.

Running Totals: (253) 78-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $472.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Page 818 of 822 pages « FirstP  <  816 817 818 819 820 >  Last »