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Pricci's Free Daily Feature Race Analysis

Five days per week and every racing day during the Saratoga meet, John Pricci will provide horse racing selections of that day's feature race. When the racing schedule dictates otherwise, there will be analysis from other major thoroughbred Tracks. Check back here 5 days a week for free horse racing selections.

In addition to his race analysis, John will provide commentary in a weekly "On the Line" column and daily blogs under the "Pricci's Morning Line" banner.



Monday, August 20, 2007


Steal Magnolia In Union Avenue


Today’s feature is the restricted Union Avenue Stakes for New York-bred fillies, three-year-olds and up, sprinting six furlongs. The favorite will be a very tough out here. Magnolia Jackson (8-5) just has too much speed, too much class.

Two interesting fillies with a puncher’s chance are Stolen Star (4-1) and Precise Lady (6-1).

Stolen Star has some back figures at three that could compete with the favorite here. Given the improved early speed she showed last time (new pace top) in the Dancin Renee, she rates to move forward this afternoon. She likes the surface, finishing a competitive second in both lifetime Spa starts. The John Kimmel barn has come alive here recently.

Precise Lady, meanwhile, loves it here. Never off the board in three lifetime Spa starts including two victories, she also earned her best performance figure on this surface. The Dancin Renee winner continues to work purposefully and she’s 2-for-2 beneath Javier Castellano, who rides her back for Pat Kelly, having another good Spa meet.

But as stated, Magnolia Jackson is simply too fast on figures, and she runs them consistently. Grade 2 placed in open company, she returns fresh for Gary Contessa, who goes back to Ramon Dominguez this afternoon. She can lead throughout, or stalk and pounce, from her outside slip and does not concede all that much weight under the allowance restrictions.

Taking Magnolia Jackson to win at even money or greater and exacta boxes with the other two fillies, an extra ticket with her on top and another in a trifecta key as well.

Running Totals: (85) 37-18-10. Dollar Return: $222.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, August 19, 2007


Don’t Get Too Revved Up for John’s Call


Today’s feature is named for the redoubtable Spa fixture, John’s Call, appropriately enough a 13-furlong turf marathon for older horses. On paper, it’s a two horse race between the classy veteran, Revved Up (2-1), and another marathon specialist Rousing Victory (4-1).

Revved Up is by far the most accomplished member of this group and is coming off a useful prep in a Grade 3 at Arlington Park. He is more suited to today’s marathon route and attracts Kent Desormeaux, who’s riding the Spa course like he owns it. But the 9-year-old’s lost several steps and is the probably heavy favorite.

Rousing Victory likes this trip and had a useful recent prep over the course, a wide rally fourth at a mile while coming off a layup. Ramon Dominguez rode him that day and will ride him back as this veteran has been carefully pointed to this race, having won it two years ago. His performance figures put him right on the middle of this.

Taking the value offered on Rousing Victory as the likely second choice, 5-2 or greater, an exacta box with Revved Up and will include the stoutly bred General Jumbo (6-1) underneath.

Running Totals: (83) 36-18-10. Dollar Return: $211.30 [win selections only] {Saturday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Stars Rise On Alabama Tonight


In our mind’s eye, admittedly bleary at this stage, the Alabama is usually dominated by an alpha mare, one that stands out and leads the herd on a merry 10 furlong chase. But the 128th renewal is quite interesting, with solid but not invulnerable favorites. In short, the Grade 1 for three-year-old fillies is a good betting race.

The three most likely win candidates are, from the inside, out, Panty Raid (4-1), Octave (5-2) and Lady Joanne (3-1).

Panty Raid, like Octave, is a Todd Pletcher trainee. After taking the storied Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico, she was given six weeks to prepare for the G1 American Oaks at 10 furlongs on the Hollywood turf course. She won it in a game performance, turning back late challengers with a final quarter-mile of :23 4/5. She’s 4-for-6 lifetime, including a G1 grass debut that speaks to her class. Edgar Prado, aboard for three of them, rides her back here. Again, she is six weeks fresh.

Octave is a deserving favorite. She never has finished worse than second in six Grade 1 events, winning two, her last two starts, the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, the latter at 10 furlongs. She is the only10-furlong dirt winner in the group, and it’s useful to note she won the Adirondack at 2 over this track. Last time she was used early, not wanting to allow the leader to steal away. This time she won’t have to be, as there appears to be enough pace signed on here.

Lady Joanne (pronounced Joan-ie) has the benefit of a recent winning race over the track, the Banshee Breeze overnight stakes at 9 furlongs in what was a dominating performance. She steps way up here but handled her rivals with energy in reserve and came back to train brilliantly. Worth noting, however, she was only a half-length behind the favorite in the Mother Goose. While her pedigree is light on the top side, she has a strong broodmare influence for the added distance. Carl Nafzger and Calvin Borel. Can they do wrong?

Taking Lady Joanne to win at 5-2 or greater, key her in exacta and trifecta boxes with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (83) 36-18-10. Dollar Return: $211.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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