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, December 07, 2008

The Race Goes to the Swift

State-breds take the featured stage in the Damon Runyon for state-bred two-year-old colts and geldings going a two-turn mile and 70 yards. Lots of guessing involved here but we’ll keep it relatively simple, going with a colt that showed dramatic improvement in his second start and another that has experience and has been stakes toughened.

It’s not so much that Haynesfield’s (7-2) figures improved dramatically in start two, which it did, but it was more about the way he did it. It was as if he learned tons from his debut, distributing his energy much more efficiently. The Asmussen barn wisely gave him more than ample recovery time and has found a logical spot for his two-turn debut. Bred to handle added distance on the dam’s side; he has early speed, the pole and Ramon Dominguez, a formidable trio.

Tall Poppi (3-1) has raced five times, has experience going long and has met several hard hitters. While second in three starts, it might be too early to give up on the son of Intidab. In his most recent start, the Great White Way division of the NY Stallion, he ran into a colt, Lookin At Her, who gave a career best performance that afternoon. He’s worked thrice since that effort, including two recent bullets. His stalking style and Eibar Coa should insure a good trip, as several appear capable of pressing Haynesfield early.

Still, we’re playing the percentages, and the figures, and taking Haynesfield to win at 2-1 or greater, and boxing him in the exacta with Tall Poppi.

Running Totals: (323) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Taking Hertler and the Mig? That’s the Spirit!

Never thought I’d see the day in New York where the feature race on a Saturday didn’t have a name attached to it. But the featured eighth race today is your run of the mill preliminary allowances/optional claiming. In any event, it looks like a three-horse affair between Spanky Fischbein, a former Pletcher trainee, Flint River, the current one, and the streaking See More Spirit.

Leading rider Eibar Coa jumps off Spanky in favor of Flint, but that could be more a political decision as much as anything. Spanky Fischbein (3-1) has proven to be consistently faster than this group, is nicely drawn inside, comes from powerful new connections, one that’s profitable 30 percent efficient with horse making their third start off a layup. The problem is his early speed could get him in trouble here as there’s a lot of speed signed on.

Flint River (4-1) turns back to his best distance--his fastest on performance figures and site, has a pedigree that won’t quit, upside as a three-year-old and an extremely sharp work before leaving Churchill for his return to New York. Unlike Spanky, his late-run style fits the race shape here and Coa can work out a good trip, stalking battling leaders.

But the value is See More Spirit (5-1). Trainer John Hertler is on a roll at this meet and is profitable lifetime with horses seeking repeat wins. This five-year-old has been on a tear since uniting with Richard Migliore, a position conscious rider sure to take advantage of his inside draw. This gelding can finish from anywhere on the racetrack and will be suited by a lively pace. Owning a win on this track, at this distance, gives him an edge, as do excellent performance figures.

Taking See More Spirit to win at 4-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (322) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, December 05, 2008

Change Is Good; Value Is Better

Only on either Showcase Day or at this time of year is it possible for horses with good Finger Lakes form and/or success can dominate a race downstate, even one for state-breds. But that’s the case in this secondary allowances/optional claiming sprint at 5-½ furlongs. This appears to be a battle among Zipperoo, Scary Bob and Wolfson.

Returning from layups going long is one of trainer Jim Bond’s strengths; going short not so much. But Zipperoo (5-1) has run well in the past when fresh, the workouts are very steady, the performance figures excellent, he’s nicely drawn inside and attracts Rajiv Maragh’ all plusses. Further, he has a pace edge which should help at this trip.

Scary Bob (8-1) is a very fast old pro shipping south for the prolific Chris Englehart. We’re seen this act before as the 7-year-old gelding has had success on this surface and is reuniting with speed ace C C Lopez, who rode him effectively here last winter. He ships down sharp and it’s important to note that his trainer is 39 percent efficient with horses seeking to repeat. You can bet that Lopez will put his mount right off the right hip of the Bond entrant.

Will Gary Contessa work his magic with Wolfson (4-1)? It’s his time of year and the right scenario as the 3-year-old makes his debut for this barn, a profitable 22 percent occurrence. But of greater significance is that he fit’s the race shape here as there appears to be no shortage of early speed. Nicely positioned outside, Pablo Morales, who’s riding winners for this barn, particularly of late, is a strong finisher.

But we'll take the value to win on Scary Bob at 9-2 or more, keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (322) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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