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, 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


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Viva La France!

A pair of Grade 1s at Gulfstream Park where it was expected to have rained Friday night but promises to be clearing by the afternoon. We could talk about Quality Road and his considerable ability to take the Donn Handicap, but what fun would that be.

In the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, however, there’s another very talented runner. As in the Donn, it won’t make you rich, but you might get a little value here. We think that Court Vision, the 8-5 early line favorite, is the wrong favorite. It’s the French import Never On Sunday (2-1) who deserves that distinction.

If we’re right, can’t take all the credit. Spoke with noted European turf writer and handicapper, Nick Mordin yesterday morning, and he had only nice things to say about the five year old making his U. S. debut for trainer Patrick Biancone, who’s 30 percent effective in that role.

Even though the course will be less than firm (Rated good on Friday), off ground in the U.S. is not like off ground in Europe, where, on balance, the going is much heavier.

The difference here is class. Last year, our Grade 1 horses, Gio Ponti notwithstanding, were not world class G1. Mordin, who appears with Cary Fotias and myself on our Breeders’ Cup Tele Clinics, promises that this is one of the most talented French horses brought to these shores.

He owns a tremendous turn of foot, likes firmer going, and has excelled on many tight courses in Europe. Even if this nine furlongs is contested on the Gulfstream wide course, it should suit the five year old perfectly. Turf ace Joe Bravo, a popular rider with Biancone, takes the call.

Taking Never On Sunday to win at 7-5 or greater.

Running Totals: (588) 185-119-80 Total Dollar Return: $1,287.70 [win selections only

Written by John Pricci


Friday, February 05, 2010

What a Wake-Up Call

Today’s New York Feature, the Personal Girl Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs, features an enigmatic filly that deserves absolutely one last chance.

Yes, the connections got a little too aggressive with What A Pear (8-1) after she went on a tear over this track last year. Ever since she was thrown to the tigresses, she just hasn’t been the same filly.

Frustrated, the owners changed trainers and Pat Reynolds will saddle her for the second time today, with some notable changes. First, Reynolds adds blinkers, a profitable move for the barn although only winning at a 12% rate in that scenario--so he’s getting horses to outrun odds after adding the hood.

Second, her recent work, presumably wearing those new blinkers, was sensational, going a half mile from the gate in :48-flat, termed breezing. It was the third fastest of 135 older fillies to work the distance that week.

Getting Migliore on the re-ride, presuming he’s fully recovered from a recent concussion, What a Pear turns back into a sprint; she’s 1-for-1 at the distance and 4-for-5 over the surface.

Finally, she earned an internal six furlong Equiform figure in her recent route that would blow this field away.

Taking What A Pear to wake up at 9-2 or greater, keying her first and second in multiple pools with potential trip-sitters Silvercup Baby (4-1) and Afleet Alexandra (7-2), and the consistently speedy Meese Rocks (3-), whose been a revelation since winding up under the Ed Barker shed.

Running Totals: (588) 185-119-80 Total Dollar Return: $1,287.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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