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.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stormin’ From Gate to Wire

It’s only fitting that as the temperatures plummet this weekend the featured Itaka for state-breds 3 & Up going a flat mile will come down to a battle between the Rick Dutrow trained Stormin Normandy (8-5), Barclay Tagg’s Big Truck (7-2), who began to serve notice at this time last year, and old pro Gold and Roses (6-1), a natural at the distance on this track.

The question with Stormin Normandy is how effective will he be stretching out here. He’s faster sprinting, but owns a competitive figure score under these conditions last spring--the only time he’s gone a mile on the Aqueduct main track. Super sharp, he’s had two maintenance works over his home track and Edgar Prado takes the re-ride on the recent Hudson winner. Dutrow’s 38 percent efficient when seeking to repeat.

Big Truck, scratched from yesterday’s open, graded Discovery for this, finds a better spot, not only for the class relief but for the one-turn mile scenario. His most effective game seems as a middle-distance closing sprinter, he gained conditioning from recent turf routes and now returns to dirt, a profitable scenario for these connections.

Gold And Roses is 4-for-7 at the distance and 3-for-7 over this track but of greater significance is going in the right direction again following a recent barn change. The major issue, however, is that he finished behind the favorite in each of their last three meetings. But today’s distance might prove the great equalizer; might, the operative word.

Taking Stormin Normandy to win, no price restrictions, keying him first and second in the exotics with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (316) 95-65-43. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, November 21, 2008

Lieutenant Ron Seeks Promotion

Today’s featured Grade 3 Discovery Handicap can be an interesting betting race depending on how you view the chance of Lieutenant Ron, the 6-5 early line choice. The question is how he handles the nine furlong distance. Proven distance runners with competitive performance figures, or on good lines, are too many to name. Either you take the short price, or take a very long one.

Lieutenant Ron is coming off a new pace top and has run much, much faster figures than these are several occasions. The bad news is that his pedigree is on the short side; the good news is that trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is profitable off this kind off layoff, going long for the first time, and in graded stakes. Love to take a shot against but in these situations against McLaughlin, he’s been right a lot more often than I have. Alan Garcia won’t hurt his chances.

A handful of others could pull the upset. Wishful Tomcat and Premium Gold are both proven at the distance, are both 12-1, but both are most effective in front. Only one horse can lead at a time. Web Gem (9-2) handles the trip and on occasion is faster than the two aforementioned rivals. His late kick is suited by their speed.

That’srightofficer, also at 12-1, is nicely posted, has position speed and attracts Edgar Prado. Ready Set (4-1) is consistently fastest of the remainder and drops a significant five pounds. A repeat of his recent narrow loss in a Meadowlands G3 makes him extremely formidable.

Lieutenant Ron is the most probable winner. Even-money would be fair, but unlikely. I would take 4-1 on Ready Set not to regress but that, too, is iffy. I’ll key the favorite first and second in tris and supers and look for north of 12-1 on That’srightofficer.

Running Totals: (315) 95-65-42. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Getting the Impression Shug Will Take NYRA Feature

If performance figures are the measure, and they are, five of these horses would fit neatly under one blanket in today’s featured seventh race, a secondary allowances/optional claimer for fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth on what figures to be “good” going.

Those having better than a puncher’s chance in here are the first three favorites: Shake The Moon (5-2), According To Plan (7-2) and Impressionism (4-1).

Shake The Moon raced one-paced while making her U. S. debut in a G3 Marathon on this course three weeks ago now goes first time for Chris Clement and also getting Lasix for the first time. Her figures are steady, highly competitive and moving forward incrementally, a positive sign. She draws the fence with Jose Lezcano on the re-ride.

Flibberjibit, an exotics contender, is attempting to win her sixth straight, her fourth since Oct. 5, while taking another step up. She’s 3-for-3 at this trip and 1-for-1 on this course. The problem is she’s been performing at a high level for such a long time and seems due for a dull performance. But that’s just a guess.

According To Plan is one of the fastest fillies in here, comes up to the added distance nicely off graduating distances with good, five-week- spacing. Her pedigree says no worries vis a vis the longer trip but she does have the look of a sprinter. Another guess.

Always For Love, another exotics filler, ships in sharp with good figure for longtime ship-in ace Guadalupe Preciado, who’s bringing along regular rider Angel Arroyo. She hits hard, has been laudably consistent and could prove a bargain if held at double-digit odds. Given the company and her outside draw, you’d want somewhere north of 10-1.

Impressionism seems the most likely suspect. A late developing four-year-old filly, she’s been improving incrementally for Shug McGaughey, has tactical speed and kick, assuring a good trip here despite her wide draw. Johnny Velazquez on the re-ride should put her in a position to win right from the jump. Trips, always the difference on turf, is particularly applicable in open races like this.

Taking Impressionism to win at 4-1 or greater, keying her in exactas with Shake The Moon and According To Plan, adding Flibberjibit, Always For Love and Mpensi to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (314) 95-64-42. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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