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.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pletcher On a Mission in Pimlico Special

Today’s feature is the Pimlico Special from Pimlico Race Course, the first half of the Special-Preakness double. Be warned, it ain’t easy.

The most accomplished runners are almost dead even figure-wise on the Equiform scale, and most carry highweight of 124 pounds. Alternation, the most accomplished this year, is using this as a prep for the G1 Stephen Foster next month.

Among the most accomplished, Alternation (4-1), Mission Impazible (7-2) and Hymn Book (9-2) loom as the most likely winners based on company lines, two-turn ability, favorable distance dynamics and current form. Alternation and Hymn Book seem up against it beneath 124 pounds; Mission Impazible, if this were a handicap, would be considered as getting a tremendous break in the weights.

Mission Impazible earns among the fastest figures in this field on a consistent basis and owns a running style nicely suited to today's race shape. Javier Castellano has just the right amount of aggressiveness to attain position; Mission Impaziable the versatile style and kick to put himself in the best position to win

As for price shots Toby’s Corner (6-1) and Yawanna Twist (12-1) are interesting. Toby’s Corner comes back in his third start off the layoff for Graham Motion, who owns profitable stats in today’s time frame.

Yawanna Twist (12-1), tentatively ridden when third to Alternation in Hot Springs, earned his career best, and a competitive figure here, in last year’s Preakness.

Taking Mission Impazible to win at 3-1 or greater and keying him in money positions in super-exotics with all runners noted here.

Running Totals: (1079) 332-210-161 Total Dollar Return: $2,285.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Betting Stay Thirsty Could Prove Tricky

Today’s Belmont Park feature is really an interesting one, the Vanlandingham overnight stakes featuring the return of Jim Dandy and Travers winning Stay Thirsty (7-5). The 4-year-old hasn’t run since finishing off the board in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Given the winter off at Jim Crupi’s Ocala Farm, he returned to trainer Todd Pletcher at the Palm Meadows training center in March and has been working with purpose since.

But this is no “gimme” spot to take a short price, not that the best alternative offers a lot of value, either. This is especially true for Stay Thirsty, that is winless in three starts over the local ground.

(Value, of course, means betting price relative to chances for success—not some horse that pays a big price).

For his part, the formerly undefeated speedster Trickmeister (8-5) has not been seen since setting a pressured pace while rank in the Donn Handicap. Certainly not without his issues, the lightly raced 5-year-old has been training strongly for his Belmont debut.

There appears only one horse capable of pressing the Rick Dutrow trainee’s pace here but Joan’s Choice, stepping up big time here, would compromise his chances by doing so. Besides, Trickmeister edge a solid edge on pace figures.

Taking Trickmeister to win at early line odds, preferably greater, keying him with his two rivals here and the price shot Swag Daddy, his uncoupled stablemate switching to Rosie.

Running Totals: (1078) 331-210-161 Total Dollar Return: $2,281.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Taking the Fresh Fiddler

Today’s Belmont Park feature is a good one, the Cannon Shell Stakes run at 6-furlong on turf, going as the second half of the early double.

We’ll not try to explain the positioning of this interesting stakes but rather look at the contenders. They are many and all have a license. We’ll concentrate our play around Fiddlers Patriot, Noble’s Promise and Bergerac.

Noble’s Promise finally gets back on grass, where he’s 1-for-2 lifetime, and turns back to this trip while reuniting with Julien Leparoux. Trainer McPeek is profitable lifetime in third-off-layoff scenarios.

Bergerac is the now horse, turning back from the 7-furlong Grade 2 Commonwealth on Keeneland Polytrack returning to his preferred surface on which have come three of his four lifetime scores. Javier Castellano takes the return call.

But it’s the fresh gelding Fiddlers Patriot that looks most interesting but virtue of the fact that he does his best racing when fresh. Not only have two of his three most recent wins come off layups, but the third was on this course, his only try over this ground.

Versatile 6-year-old can either front-run to victory or stalk, his workline has gotten more aggressive since he left his Palm Beach winter base, George Weaver is having a banner 2012, knows how to get one ready and taps Johnny V. for the assignment.

We’re taking course loving Fiddlers Patriot to win 7-2 or greater and key boxing him in multiples with Noble’s Promise and Bergerac.

Running Totals: (1078) 331-210-161 Total Dollar Return: $2,281.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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