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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yet Another Pletcher-trained Favorite? Afraid So

Today’s feature at Gulfstream Park is another exercise in trying to beat a Todd Pletcher trained favorite and yet another exercise in futility. One could make something up but then you’d have to take a look in your handicapping mirror.

Of course, no one wants to take a short price on a horse that’s been away since the last Gulfstream meet, but Ice Cream Man (5-2) not only won that race after being pressured from the pole throughout but did so in fast time with excellent energy distribution.

The colt has been in steady, serious training since early November 3, a total of 38 furlongs, with three five furlong trials and some sharp, speed sharpeners at shorter distances. His outside slip at this distance and presence of Johnny Velazquez seals this deal.

Taking Ice Cream Man to win at 7-5 or greater and keying him first and second in multiples with uncoupled mate Simba’s Story (7-2) and potential fast finisher Depeche Chat (5-1).

Running Totals: (993) 307-200-142 Total Dollar Return: $2,107.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Awaassif: Arabic for Value?

Given that Backstage Magic (5-2) likely will be a much shorter price at post time of today’s featured second race at Tampa, a preliminary allowance/optional claimer for juvenile fillies, it’s worth taking a chance at securing value with Awaassif (3-1).

Backstage Magic is clearly faster on the Equiform scale, given a strong internal 6 furlong figure in his Tampa debut at 6-1/2 furlongs, back he regressed having run that fast in his second lifetime start at Calder.

While slower on figures, Awaassif’s last was a lifetime best, it came over today’s racetrack, and the filly never has taken a backward step when given fast footing.

Leandro Goncalves gets off this filly in favor of another but Awaassif picks up Ronnie Allen, last year’s leading rider at this session.

Taking Awaassif to win at 5-2 or greater and boxing her in the exacta with Backstage Magic.

Running Totals: (992) 307-200-142 Total Dollar Return: $2,107.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Monday, December 26, 2011

Asmussen’s Gang to Upset Baffert’s Mob

The feature race of the day at one of the two premiere winter tracks takes place at Santa Anita, the Grade 1 Malibu at 7 furlongs, the last G1 of the year for 3-year-olds.

Who wants it more, Bob Baffert, who’s entered four runners, or Steve Asmussen, who will tighten the girth on three. While that might be an impossible call, it certainly appears that the winner will come from one of these powerhouses. Today, we’ll favor Asmussen.

Rothko (9-2) has just been on a tear. Developing rapidly this fall, he’s seeking his fourth straight and although he’s not been this distance, he owns the right style for the stretchout, is nicely drawn and fits the race shape. Corey Nakatani returns to SoCal for today’s ride.

Taking Rothko to win at 7-2 or great and boxing him in the exacta with Smash in a wide open and opening renewal of the always entertaining Malibu.

Running Totals: (991) 307-199-142 Total Dollar Return: $2,107.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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