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.

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


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Go, Canada

Today’s New York feature is a preliminary allowances for older state-bred fillies going a mile and 70 yards. Don’t think there’s any getting away from the fact that it looks like a battle of favorites; Imthequeenofqueens (2-1) and Bearursa (3-1).

Imthequeenofqueens has developmental potential as a newly turned four-year-old, comes from a live race that has produced one winner from two subsequent starters. She’s earned competitive figures with consistency but needs perfect handling to get the job done.

Bearursa, besides being a better price on the early line, hails from the Asmussen barn that has won with five of its last eight local starters, including three seconds. Ramon Dominguez leaves the favorite to take this ride, she’s had the benefit of a sprint prep over the track and is helped by today’s added ground.

Most of all, however, it’s her consistently higher figures vs. open company in Canada that rates her the call here. She might be more of a synthetics specialist but deserves a second chance against state-breds and what should prove the better distance.

Taking Bearursa to win at 2-1 or greater, and keying her in the multiples with Imthequeenofqueens and Kaffiend (5-1), who’s shown a fondness for the surface and owns the kind of speed that will have her in this one throughout.

Running Totals: (587) 184-119-80 Total Dollar Return: $1,284.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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