Thursday, October 13, 2016
Tote Buster: Saturday’s Extremely Wide Open Pebbles at Belmont
This Analysis Brought to You by 123GAMING.com. For a comprehensive look at all races in today's Late Pick 4 from Belmont Park, click on http://www.123BET.com
RACE 8: PEBBLES STAKES 3YO Fillies 1 Mile WIDENER TURF
1-Enjoy Yourself (30-1)
Showed some promise early in turf career but really hasn’t developed since. Has won at the trip but not over the course and her figures are lacking. Pricci Energy Rating: 66. Thoro-Graph Top: 8.75. Very tall order.
2-Believe in Bertie (10-1)**
Turns back to winning distance (albeit one turn) and is on a bounce-rebound pattern. Appears best on firm footing and has excellent early speed with inside position. Three sharp blowouts for this following game placing in an Indiana listed stakes. PER: 79. TGT: 6. Exotics price potential.
3-Wild About Harry (15-1)*
PERs have been improving incrementally and is (3) 1-1-0 at the trip; (4) 2-1-0 on Belmont turf. Beat state-breds going a mile two back, followed by an open company sprint. Has excellent kick but this spot saltier than she’s used to. PER: 80. TGT: 6.5. Bottom of super perhaps?
4-Ancient Secret (3-1)***
Won G2 Lake George at Saratoga then shipped to WO for Grade 3 mile off a short break but lost all chance with very-wide turn rally. Can easily rebound to form that led to four straight scores; 3-for-3 at Belmont, Chad-Irad team but poor value on early line. PER: 78. TGT: 5.25.
5-Ultra Brat (12-1)***
Seeks her third straight win while moving up in class and distance and won her course and turf debut off a break last out. Motion’s old partner Edgar in for the assignment and barn's been white hot. Bullet blowout at Fair Hill base, bred for added ground, and three sibs have won on turf. PER: 82. TGT: 8. Excellent value at early line odds.
6-Baciama Piccola (30-1)
Figures have improved since adding Lasix but has not shown she’s up to this level of competition since winning a Grade 3 at Tampa last winter. Tyler G. shipping in to take the call. PER: 69. TGT: 8.25. Very tall order here.
Finished well too late vs. weaker in 7-furlong course return, showing some affinity for Belmont turf despite (3) 0-0-3 slate. Has competitive figures but this is a tough spot to break turf maiden after three failed attempts even with highly competitive figure. Franco lands here. PER: 82. TGT: 6. Some price shot potential.
8-Insta Emma (6-1)***
Comes off impressive win over the course--her second Belmont score--and now makes suitable stretch-out for Mott--21% effective in non-graded stakes and 24% with potential repeaters. Switch to Lezcano augurs well for this barn. PER: 81. TGT: 4.75. Solid contender.
9-Stella Rose (5-1)**
Fast-finish second and narrowly beaten in turf and course debut at this trip despite bobbling at the break. Chased the pace while wide throughout in G3 Commonwealth Oaks and stayed on very well late and now reunites with winning partner Rosario. PER: 79. TGT: 6.75
10-Louisville First (20-1)***
Earned field’s best last-out PER, grinding out a sprint score over state-breds in course return. Both lifetime wins on Belmont turf and talented New Yorker goes well for Cancel. May provide value on class rise into opens. PER: 84. TGT: 5.25. The value given early line odds.
11-Thundering Sky (8-1)**
Was unlucky to lose Wild Applause under today’s exact dynamics in June before racing wide in Lake George. She then returned with game third in a Canadian Grade 3 coming off a short break. Right back to NY with switch to Gallardo. PER: 76. TGT: 8.25.
12-She Doesn’t Mind (7-2)***
Regressed in last following career best when third here to On Leave—who subsequently beat her again. She returns fresh with strong and steady work-line for Chad and Javier sticks. Rebound potential for barn profitable with this spacing. PER: 81. TGT: 9.25.
13-AE-Mom’s On Strike (20-1)
Salty spot for winning turf debut. PER: [NA]. TGT: 6.
14-Mo d’Amour (8-5)
MAIN TRACK ONLY PER: [NA]. TGT: 3.75.
For on-the-record selections, see Saturday's Feature Race Analysis
Written by John Pricci
Sunday, October 02, 2016
Potent Prep Performances from Coast to Coast
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 2, 2016—If Saturday's first salvo in a series of “Super Saturday” Breeders' Cup prep programs is any indication, the seminal events figure to be something truly special.
And it all started with the latest embodiment of what “America’s Horse” should look like. Or, as race caller Michael Wrona described it: “California Chrome was awesome again in the Awesome Again.”
Never has the brilliant five-year-old chestnut been better than he is right now. The same can no longer be said of champion mare Beholder. The six-year-old mare is still extremely competitive and someday might even benefit from her preferred stalking trip.
But make no mistake: Four-year-old Stellar Wind is for real. And as for Songbird making it a three-way in the Distaff? Well, she’s Songbird after all.
In New York, the glitz was less shiny. In some cases, a lot less.
It was clear on the final turn of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic that the mighty Flintshire was struggling on the wet ground. His fans and backers now must wait until his feet hit Santa Anita's new billiard-table turf carpet at Santa Anita. Thus far it looks and acts as advertised; a great surface
In the Grade 1 Vosburgh, speedy longshot Green Gratto took the rapid X Y Jet by the throatlatch early and set the table for late runners on a sealed wet track that did the favorite no favors. Still, we thought he should have hung in there a little bit longer.
While European turf runners routinely clean the clock of their American rivals, it will take their best to handle impressive juvenile Oscar Performance, who appears all set for an Eclipse Award leading role in the Juvenile Turf.
As for older dirt mares, It might not have been the most sterling edition of the G1 Personal Ensign ever staged. Either that or goo-loving Forever Unbridled made the competition look ineffectually outclassed. She was brilliant, taking the lead entering the stretch while Joel Rosario sat motionless.
Out West, Klimt made his pre-race notices seem hyperbolic when measured against his Forerunner performance. In fairness, his tardy beginning did him no favors, nor did the wide rally to follow. And it’s very possible that 2-for-2 Gromley is the better prospect five weeks from now, and in 2017. John Sheriffs’ charge is certainly interesting in that context.
Can’t say the same about the Chandelier fillies, however. It was a two-speed number all the way around as chaser Noted and Quoted got the best of rail-running pacesetter With Honors in deep stretch.
The result was a lot like the Awesome Again and Zenyatta as frontrunners dominated the order of finish. Yes, they were the best horses on paper, but the Chandelier fillies were 7-1 and 9-1, respectively, needing a final sixteenth in a breathless 07.15 to get their jobs done.
Aside from the benefit of a race over the BC track, nothing in the Grade 1 mile and a sixteenth should scare away any would-be challengers.
As for G1 turf fillies and mares in California, the same can be said of uber sharp, superbly prepared Avenge. She was life and death to get the final sixteenth of the 1-1/4 mile Rodeo Drive.
At Churchill Downs, it’s hard to imagine even the much maligned and racing’s favorite PC punching bag, Maria Borell, doing less to prepare champion Runhappy to run a flat mile in his first start since last year’s BC Sprint.
Admittedly, the Churchill surface was wet fast and demanding, and Runhappy was pressed much of the way from the inside by Mr. Z. Approaching the 3/8s, Edgar Prado let out a notch of rein and Runhappy responded but never shook clear.
Ridden hard in deep stretch, he could not hold third after the well prepped Tom’s Ready, loaded on the backside throughout beneath B.J. Hernandez, took command from the 4-path soon after entering the straight.
Iron Fist finished very well late to secure the place and galloped out with good energy. He can go forward off the effort. But as far as stretching Runhappy out, or even returning in the Dirt Mile, the inclination off Saturday’s performance is to not bother.
Of course, there could have been some mental rust at play and the trip would indicate that Runhappy did enough to get fit to make a defense of his Sprint title. Whether he’s the same horse, however, is anyone’s guess at this point.
Sunday morning at Chantilly made for great racing on TV, four races including the lynchpin Prix de L’arc de Triomphe. The early card featured two noteworthy performances.
National Defense, Criquette Head’s “best two-year-old,” was impressive. He was a relaxed leader that in the end showed a sharp turn of foot and more than enough stamina for the trip.
Arc winner Found is a special mare. Last year’s defending BC champion burst through a narrow seam and powered home, continuing her history of success over male rivals.
While no Arc winner ever repeated in the Breeders’ Cup, she could be over the top and still handle American fillies, unless some of her European peers have something to say about that.
Back home, the Florida Sires Stakes series continues to grow in both stature and box office. Saturday’s Final Sire Stakes card was up 53% year over year. The day’s all-sources handle was $9.4 million.
Commerce for the entire 3-day series, launched on August 6, represented a 41% increase for the combined trio.
Additionally, total handle for the Summer Meet that began April 4 and ended Saturday was up 14% year over year. Gulfstream Summer booked nearly $557 million in bets.
Beyond that, Saturday’s nominal feature had national implications. Three Rules remained undefeated becoming the fourth male to sweep the Sires Stakes series since the 1984 inaugural. He won the three races by a combined 22-1/2 lengths, taking his two turn In Reality debut by 10 dominating lengths.
Thirty two years ago, Smile was the first juvenile colt to sweep the series and two years later won the BC Sprint. There’s a chance that Three Rules won’t have to take that long. Think five weeks hence.
: Racing Rules Need Amending; Officials Need to Do Their Job
Sires Stakes Notable Finishes from Saturday October 1
RACE 10 MY DEAR GIRL STAKES 2YO Fillies 1-1/16 Miles
5-Dude Fantasy (6-1): Earned competitive PER in MSW debut, has two-turn pedigree, and returned in nine days for first of three works for this; Tyler on re-ride for top juvenile connects. (won, 9.80)
6-Surprise Wedding (10-1): Trainer Fawkes took complete base on balls vs. maiden claimers in very educational winning debut; ears pricking and geared down at finish. Way up in class and distance but showed high promise. Check replay for yourself. (2nd, $2 ex.133.60)
11-Fleet Dude (12-1): Snatched victory from defeat’s jaws in two-turn maiden breaker on turf in Indiana last out. Super trainer Cox has  2-1-0 slate shipping here and is field’s lone starter with two two-turn runs. Attracts Cornelio; very interesting. (3rd, $1 Tri 617.60)
RACE 11 PANAMA CITY STAKES F&M 1 Mile TURF
4-Jodesanimaux (15-1): And yet another course lover—3-for-4 here, 1-for-7 anywhere else--and last win was at this trip. Ships in off two WO preps for Casse and Panici has been riding this course well recently. Appears well intended and at a square price, too. (won, 17.80)
11-Dad’s Princess (12-1): Uncoupled Biancone runner showed marked improvement in last after removal of blinkers. A course winner, mini-turnback suits her well; owns two sharp breezes and Cornelio sticks. Things to like. (2nd, $2 ex. 207.60)
RACE 12 IN REALITY STAKES 2YO 1-1/16 Miles
2-Three Rules (3-5): Four-for-four lifetime with Cornelio, overcoming hoof issues, a fever, and a popped abscess winning his last. Has more than enough speed and pedigree for this. Blowout fastest of 57 peers last week. Nicely drawn and Pinchin barn profitable first-time long and in non-graded stakes. (won, 2.60)
3-Thegreatcollection (12-1): After beating maiden claimers here, went to Evangeline and won a wet-track sprint stakes, remaining undefeated. Barn 33% profitable with potential repeaters but not known for ability with stretch-outs. (2nd, $2 ex. 20.40)
RACE 13 MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT 2YO F 7-1/2 Furlongs TURF
3-Bella Vincenza (3-1): Showed improvement in last two starts after adding first-Lasix then blinkers subsequently. Strong half mile breeze for this since recent tough trip, his style suits the dynamics and is drawn favorably for Gold and Panici. (won, 5.60)
5-Aquemini (9-2): Suffered through wide journey when second in 5F debut on grass vs 10 rivals. Nicks 24% profitable with second-timers and a worthy 32% with second-timers on turf. Gaffalione sticks, good energy distribution in debut and bottom side goes long. Value at early line odds. (2nd, $2 ex. 17.40)
6-Pachamanca (20-1): Finished well when third to Aquemini in 5F turf debut then lost all chance on first turn in subsequent two-turner at this trip vs. males, a race producing a next out winner from as many starters. Back with fillies with switch to apprentice and first-Lasix. Exotic prospects. (3rd, 18-1. $1 Tri 82.00)
Written by John Pricci
Friday, September 30, 2016
54 Entrants in Gulfstream Late Pick 4 + Free Square Too?
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 1, 2016
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RACE 10 MY DEAR GIRL STAKES 2YO Fillies 1-1/16 Miles
Authoritative debut winner at Mountaineer over even money rival is bred to go long and gets confident placement from barn that’s 31% first-time going long. Long pedigree and pole position; consider exotics slot only at huge odds.
2-Sweet Tooth Haven (5-1):
Trainer Gold said taking her out of her best speed game in Susan’s Girl was a mistake. Fastest on Pricci Energy and Thoro-Graph scales and will be on engine from inside post. Improvement expected.
Had no excuses when second vs. maidens last out, albeit colts, and barn is profitable with stretch-outs. Dynamics put her between a rock and hard place.
4-Hello Juliet (20-1):
Finished well too late for 4th in bulky Desert Vixen matchup behind undefeated favorite here. Owns stretchout pedigree, good spacing, and solid works at GPW base.
5-Dude Fantasy (6-1):
Earned competitive PER in MSW debut, has two-turn pedigree, and returned in nine days for first of three works for this; Tyler on re-ride for top juvenile connects.
6-Surprise Wedding (10-1):
Trainer Fawkes took complete base on balls vs. maiden claimers in very educational winning debut; ears pricking and geared down at finish. Way up in class and distance but showed high promise. Check replay; exotics potential.
Finished evenly in both lifetime starts while never threatening to break maiden. Good connects but extremely tall task here.
8-Stormy Embrace (12-1):
Placed gamely behind today’s favorite despite racing greenly while wide in deep stretch in sloppy 7-furlongs last out. Had purposeful and solid mile breeze for this at GPW base.
9-Grandma Maria (30-1):
Beat 11 rivals while making two moves on the lead, proving much the best before coming back with very sharp breeze 7 days later. Win came at $16K maiden-claiming level, however.
10-U S Diva (8-1):
Had tough trip on sealed wet surface in Susan’s Girl going 7 furlongs following game placing behind favorite in Desert Vixen prior. Has the right style but a little light on two-turn family.
11-Fleet Dude (12-1):
Snatched victory from defeat’s jaws in two-turn maiden breaker on turf in Indiana last out. Super trainer Cox has  2-1-0 slate shipping here and is field’s lone starter with two two-turn runs. Attracts Cornelio; very interesting.
12-Stop the Drama (30-1)
: Stretches out from two turf sprints for low profile outfit that’s 4-for-12 making route debuts and also is 2-for-5 with second-Lasix runners. But unable to handle maiden claimers last out.
13-Cajun Delta Dawn (2-1):
Four-for-four lifetime, has versatility and a bulldog refuse-to-lose heart. Seeking to become only second filly to sweep filly series [Awesome Feather]. Has top connects but post an absolute killer here. Need closer to 3-1 for straight play.
RACE 11 PANAMA CITY STAKES F&M 1 Mile TURF
1-Kiss to Remember (5-1):
Lamentable seconditis tendency but last two on turf here were good, now gets mini-turnback to most effective trip. Pole sitting and picking up Juarez. Wolfson profitable at non-graded-stakes level.
2-Susie Bee (9-2):
In from KY for turf ace Maker and 4YO loves it here; 3-for-9, 1-for-6 elsewhere, and is a three-time winner at the trip. Recent breeze fastest among peers that week over CD’s training track. Valdivia suits her style.
3-Pink Poppy (7-2):
Another course lover that won at slightly longer trip with Zayas at this level SEP 3. Breezed sharply since with Edgard on the re-ride for owner-trainer tandem having very solid 2016.
And yet another course lover—3-for-4 here, 1-for-7 anywhere else--and last win was at this trip. Ships in off two WO preps for Casse and Panici has been riding this course well recently. Appears well intended and at a square price, too.
5-Coboclo do Rio (30-1):
Low profile connect is 8-for-27 most recently with second-time newcomers. Second-Lasix here also and, while winless, has three exacta finishes in seven grass starts, two at the trip. In-the-money prospect at huge odds.
6-Determined Lady (8-1):
Extremely sharp right now, is 4-for-14 lifetime, all on this course, including two wins at the trip. Castro/Fawkes effective team here and 3YO gets five to seven pounds from older rivals. Strong upside potential.
Two-for-11 lifetime--both wins this course and distance. Biancone has been live this summer, profitable in 2016 and with repeaters overall. Young Lane Luzzi is 8-for-19 through Wednesday. Certainly not impossible, and a price.
8-Sweetie Girl (20-1):
Lone win in two years came at optional level at the trip in July but has shown no real course affinity--or for this level of competition.
9-Daring Kathy (4-1)
: Has earned nearly a half-million the hard way and is a course  4-2-0 and a trip lover  4-0-1, but has had better seasons. Winner two back a tough read in this spot and looms possible underlay.
10-Killer Bird (20-1):
Simon’s horses have been outrunning odds all year, is 4-for-12 in non-graded stakes and profitable when going dirt to turf. Rispoli aboard for both recent wins.
11-Dad’s Princess (12-1):
Uncoupled Biancone runner showed marked improvement in last after removal of blinkers. A course winner, mini-turnback suits her well; owns two sharp breezes and Cornelio sticks. Things to like.
Late developing 3YO was second here last winter for Chad now goes first-time Wolfson (20% effective) after chasing pace throughout Spa’s Riskaverse following maiden win prior. Two sharp local works and this appears easier; interesting.
MAIN TRACK ONLY
RACE 12 IN REALITY STAKES 2YO 1-1/16 Miles
1-Don’t Come Knockin (30-1):
Hard pressed to break maiden at 30K level last out.
2-Three Rules (3-5):
Four-for-four lifetime with Cornelio, overcoming hoof issues, a fever, and a popped abscess winning his last. Has more than enough speed and pedigree for this. Blowout fastest of 57 peers last week. Nicely drawn and Pinchin barn profitable first-time long and in non-graded stakes.
After beating maiden claimers here, went to Evangeline and won a wet-track sprint stakes, remaining undefeated. Barn 33% profitable with potential repeaters but not known for ability with stretch-outs.
4-Front Loaded (6-1):
Three Rules’ stablemate was third then second to him in first two legs of the series. Finished length behind mate in recent company work and picks up Tyler. Likely will try trip-sitting from inside here.
Still a maiden but just missed with game, grinding finish in 7F debut. Running action connotes potential ability to go long; Nicks 24% profitable with second-time starters. Loses Tyler but picks up Juarez. Money prospects but need early odds +.
6-He’s the One (30-1):
Goes turf to dirt for barn that historically has done well with youngsters. Twice received two-turn experience and is among the most stoutly bred runners in the group. Another in-the-money consideration at huge price.
7-Western Journey (20-1):
Was extremely well schooled in debut; going outside, inside, out and back in again, making rail rally win at 7 furlongs over maiden claimers. Valdivia suits this long-strider’s late run style. Energy Rating indicates exacta finish potential.
8-El Cacique (50-1):
Beaten combined 32 lengths at huge odds in two lifetime starts.
9-Mr. Pinocchio (20-1)
: Broke maiden at special-weights level on turf but that was rounding two turns and has come back to work with purpose twice for Biancone since, including solid 5/8s from gate. Picks up young Luzzi.
10-Sunshine N Shadow (12-1):
Set reasonably moderate pace to win debut at 7 furlongs over Illmatic. Top connects and a bullet half mile for this but figures to be chasing and gets a wide draw; very tough dynamics.
11-Legacy Azteca (10-1):
Has been 7/8s twice and was third with wide rally behind ‘Rules’ in the Affirmed. PERs improving incrementally, has the style and owns strong, bottom-side pedigree for the trip. Another solid exacta player.
12-Love My Cotton (20-1):
Uncoupled O’Connell entrant raced very wide chasing Three Rules in the Dr. Fager but never threatened. Has been clearly pointed here but is another that’s been killed by wide draw.
RACE 13 MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT 2YO F 7-1/2 Furlongs TURF
1-Dar Motivos (30-1):
Turf pedigree both sides and bred to run up a mountainside but connections not known for early developing types. Jock riding at 6% this year.
2-Ballyhoo Moon (6-1):
Sat a good trip in longer turf debut then finished one-paced through lane thereafter. Should benefit from the effort and the turnback, Nicks 32% effective second-time turf, gets Juarez, but this is a salty group. Looks up against it.
3-Bella Vincenza (3-1):
Showed improvement in last two starts after adding first-Lasix then blinkers subsequently. Strong half mile breeze for this since recent tough trip, his style suits the dynamics and is drawn favorably for Gold and Panici; Castro jumped off.
4-Ready to Zap (4-1):
Goes second-time turf for Casse (19%), also 22% profitable with second-timers in all categories. Made strong, wide rally from far back going 5/8s in course debut SEP 10 and is bred both sides for longer, as are barn and Cornelio.
Suffered through wide journey when second in 5F debut on grass vs 10 rivals. Nicks 24% profitable with second-timers and a worthy 32% with second-timers on turf. Gaffalione sticks, good energy distribution in debut and bottom side goes long. Value at early line odds.
Finished well when third to Aquemini in 5F turf debut then lost all chance on first turn in subsequent two-turner at this trip vs. males, a race producing a next out winner from as many starters. Back with fillies with switch to apprentice ad first-Lasix. Exotic prospects.
7-Debbies Cute Ghost (10-1):
Raced won paced vs. five rivals in debut going 1-1/16 miles on turf behind repeat winner. Loses Cornelio but attracts Leyva for hot Dwoskin outfit—four for last 10 through Wednesday’s races. Has worked thrice for this since.
8-Check Out Gilda (8-1):
is a well-bred newcomer for top connections (Calabrese/Biancone) and attracts hot apprentice for barn that’s two for its last six with turf-debut types. Purposeful and solid workline at PMM base, including turf bullet around dogs AUG 24.
9-Spring for More (20-1):
Is bred well enough for turf on top side but mare has had six winners from as many starters, including a stakes winner, but those sibs are winless on turf.
10-Silvera (15-1): Showed improvement when stretched to this distance in last despite tough trip. Has been working strongly with blinkers but meets much tougher set here.
11-Cotton Tooyah (30-1):
Gets blinkers for second start but lacks both nature and nurture for winning turf debut.
12-Bionsway (30-1): Was eliminated on second turn at this trip in debut but was tiring at that juncture and meets much tougher group here.
13-AE-Ivy Lovely (5-2):
Just missed with strong, wide rally in turf-sprint debut now stretches out with suitable bottom-side pedigree for barn that’s profitable with second-time turfers and three of her four sibs have won on grass. Post will hurt if draws in.
14-AE-Starship Tribbles (15-1):
Never made an impression racing last of 10 throughout turf-sprint debut. But Castro sticks with hot Dwoskin shed adding blinkers. Three winning sibs have all won on turf; interests at a price.
15-AE-Sweet Abdication (5-1):
Set pace going a mile on turf in last two starts, holding fairly well. Meets tougher and dynamics hurt badly given potential wide draw.
Gets positive rider switch and Bates turfers outrun their odds but this is hardly the spot to turn things around.
See Saturday's Feature Race Analysis section for On-the-Record Selections
Florida Sires Stakes Handicapping Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSbA4vszR6Y&feature=youtu.be
Written by John Pricci