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 13, 2010

No Snow, But It Looks Cold in SoCal

There are significant Kentucky Derby preps on both coasts today, and while the logical winner in each won’t make you rich, one could prove some value since the main contender is the early line favorite.

The race is the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes. The early favorite is American Lion. But how he reels in Tiz Chrome through the Arcadia stretch in his first start this year, I have no idea.

Of the two, American Lion is the more accomplished by definition as the winner of the G3 Hollywood Prevue at 7 furlongs following an eye opening maiden score in which he beat 10 rivals by nearly seven lengths at the same distance.

For his part, Tiz Chrome won the restricted Stuka Stakes at 6-½ furlongs over the same Inglewood track. While both are bred for success at longer distances, the difference today is in the men who are bringing their colts up to this mile and a sixteenth.

While Eoin Harty is more than capable of winning off this kind of short layup, it is the colt’s three year old debut, the first of three likely preps for the big dance. He’ll be fit, certainly, but how serious is the question.

Meanwhile Bob Baffert, who’s doing little wrong at the meet, has been drilling Tiz Chrome strongly for his first start of the year. Appearing the controlling speed in this short lineup, he has worked a total of 39 furlongs since the Stuka, a blend of rapid five-furlong moves sprinkled with some stamina inducing trials.

Further, when this race was originally drawn last week, it included stablemate Domonation, which will now run in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Monday. Why not make two owners happy? Why not try to win two races instead of one, right?

We’re taking Tiz Chrome to win, no price restrictions, and the favorite American Lion to complete a one-way exacta.

Running Totals: (592) 186-120-81 Total Dollar Return: $1,293.30 [win selections only] {Friday results not included}

Written by John Pricci


Friday, February 12, 2010

There’s No Speed Like SoCal Speed

Given its $51,000 purse, today’s fifth race at Gulfstream, a money allowances-optional claiming for older fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs, has attracted a competitive field of nine.

Quick Empress, the early line favorite (5-2), is turning back from the Sixty Sails Handicap, a race that produced two next out winners, turns back to her best distance, being 3-for-5 at six furlongs and 1-for-10 at any other trip. But the thinking is that this group might be a little too quick for her.

Even without any main track experience, we believe that Pinkarella (3-1) is a more deserving favorite. Trainer Doug O’Neill has sent many of hi horses East to get off the synthetics out West, with most going to Philadelphia Park. Not this girl; he shipped her into the SoFla big time.

When last seen, Pinkarella was chasing a hot pace in the Grade 1 LaBrea, won by the talented Evita Argentina. But that was at 7 furlongs and today’s turn-back suits her late-running sprint style.

The three losses on her card came in graded stakes; her two wins came in maiden-allowance and allowance company, the conditions here. She’s worked purposefully at her SoCal base before shipping here and attracts Jesus Castanon, who gets along nicely with this type of runner.

Owning versatile style, the newly turned four year old appears set for a career best try. Taking Pinkarella to win at 2-1 or greater and keying her in the multiples with fast working Bhangaloo Lady (5-1), sharp key race winning and fast working Wyatt’s Women (6-1), and Ivory Empress (6-1), from winning connections and sitting on a big effort.

Running Totals: (592) 186-120-81 Total Dollar Return: $1,293.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, February 11, 2010

There’s a Lot to Like About Warrior’s Reward

Don’t let the conditions of the eighth race from Gulfstream Park fool you; it’s really a small stakes masquerading as a non-winners of 2 money allowances.

It marks the return of more than a few classy animals, the classiest of them all is Warrior’s Reward (7-2), who I thought would run very well in the Travers until we all learned that 10 furlongs wasn’t his thing. Perhaps this year at 4.

Anyway, there’s much to like here despite the fact he hasn’t run since November 21st at Churchill, a race, incidentally, that has produced four next-out winners.

Until proven otherwise, he appears best as a stretch-running sprinter. He has run well fresh, fit’s the shape of this speedy contest, and his one-minute breeze at Palm Meadows for this was the second fastest of 53 at the distance for that week.

He loves 7 furlongs, broke his maiden on this track, and the team of Ian Wilkes and Julien Leparoux are a profitable tandem--and that’s from a sizable sample. This race is so contentious that getting early line odds is possible, although unlikely.

Taking Warrior’s Reward to win at 5-2 or greater and keying him first and second in the multiples with very sharp Presto Change O (5-1), and the returning speedster Snapshot (8-1), working purposefully for Mott, who’s 23 percent efficient with layups of 90 days or more.

Running Totals: (591) 185-120-81 Total Dollar Return: $1,287.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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