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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You’ll Need to Awaken Early in the Morning to Beat This One

An interesting turf feature at Tampa Bay, a second allowances optional claiming that goes as today’s third race. We won’t get too fancy here and side with the connections; Late Day Sun (2-1) for the team of Chris Clement and Leandro Goncalves.

Late Day Sun had one start in this country in a similar condition but at Gulfstream and off the layup tried to stalking the pace throughout going 11 furlongs and, quite naturally, got a little late.

This is a completely different scenario with the turnback to 1-1/16th miles where the faster pace should find the 4-year-old filly farther back so that she’s be forced to make one run here, likely her preferred style having beaten 13rivals going a mile as a European juvenile.

Since her U.S. debut, she’s been tightened at Clement’s Payson Park base now ships father north partnered with the strong finishing Goncalves. There seems to be enough speed signed on to ensure a realistic pace at minimum.

Taking Late Day Sun to win with no price restrictions, and keying her in two spots in exotics with sharp stretchout Island Time (3-1), Calder shipper Petite Riviere, getting class relief here, and freshened Nightmare Night (4-1), from a return outfit that’s profitable with its 90 days-plus returnees.

Running Totals: (1051) 325-205-154 Total Dollar Return: $2,239.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, March 24, 2012

A New Mexico Hero Is Something To Be

Say this about the Sunland Derby; it might turn out to be a good betting race.

Five of the eight entered, including an uncoupled pair from the Bob Baffert barn, can win this. The most probable winners are, however, the Baffert trained Southwest division winner and early favorite Castaway (2-1), and the local hero Isn’t He Clever.

Castaway won the slower division of the Southwest but appeared the more dominant visually; his mate Secret Circle, well, everyone knows how good he turned out to be. Rafael Bejarano comes with the package and they break from the pole position.

But we’ll take any valued offered on Isn’t He Clever (4-1), who’s won both of his Sunland starts. Actually, only he and Justanoldsong, a maiden breaker going a mile, are the only horses with any experience over the surface at all.

Isn’t He Clever is the fastest by definition, given his Equiform figure sprinting on Dec. 30, but in his prep for this, the Smarty Jones gelding distributed his energy more efficiently, the sign of a maturing animal.

Trained by local here Henry Dominguez, who’s 26% efficient with his repeaters, the altered horse worked a bullet for this and gets a switch to Luis Contreras, whose confidence got a boost with a stakes victory on the Spiral undercard Saturday at Turfway.

Taking Isn’t He Clever to win at 3-1 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with both Bafferts—the other being Stirred Up (8-1)—and adding Todd Pletcher’s Ender Knieval and El Camino Real winner Daddy’s Nose Best to the exotics mix. Post time for the Derby, the 12th at Sunland Park, is 7:45 EST.

Running Totals: (1050) 325-204-154 Total Dollar Return: $2,239.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


And, in the 2012 Role of Animal Kingdom Is…

Three solid favorites on ability but only one with synthetics experience. Heavy Breathing (3-1) is undefeated in two starts for Pletcher, winning both by impressive margins, one at today’s 9F trip, and pedigree looks very suitable for transition to the AW surface.

Went The Day Well (4-1) also has 9F experience and appears to be a natural router with turf experience in Britain before shipping over for Team Valor. Karma fans will appreciate the fact that this colt gets a switch to Animal Kingdom's partner, Johnny Velazquez

But it's Handsome Mike (4-1) who owns consistently fastest figures on Equiform scale and he's been toughened in four graded stakes. He'ss compromised by a wide draw--the extreme outside in a field of 12--but not the presence of Joel Rosario, Santa Anita's leading rider shipping in to ride the Doug O'Neill trainee.

Taking Handsome Mike to win at 3-1 or greater and key boxing him first and second in multiples, adding Mr. Prankster (12-1) off a bounce-rebound pattern switching to Rosie, and Ill Conceived (8-1), who stayed very gamely after pace battle in the Battaglia Memorial prep, to the super-exotic mix.

Running Totals: (1049) 325-204-154 Total Dollar Return: $2,239.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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