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.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Next Round’s on Mott

If it’s Keeneland and if it’s Friday, it must be a Grade 1. Boutique meet, indeed.

But having said that, this isn’t one of the strongest renewals of the Maker’s Mark Mile. And it’s not easy, either.

The favorite Thorn Song (5-2) is probably the most effective miler. He likes the Keeneland course--unusual for a frontrunner--and he has run well fresh. And Robby Albarado really get s along with these types, this one trained by Dale Romans. He’s won 3 of 5 at the distance and his best Equiform figure came on this surface.

We don’t know how good Fluke (7-2) or whether his last race at Santa Anita was, you know, for real. But the Frankel trainee with Garrett Gomez on the re-ride, won his last at today’s distance in 1:33 3/5, on or near the pace throughout, racing each quarter-mile in :23-and-change. He’s showing excellent development.

The newly turned 4-year-old was Grade 1 placed in fast time in his native Brazil and still has some developing to do at his age. He’s interesting but the class hike despite the competition is still steep and there’s a world of difference between Santa Anita and Keeneland turf.

Mr. Sidney (4-1) turns back to a distance at which he’s 2-for-2 lifetime and hails from the hot team of Bill Mott and Kent Desormeaux. While the lightly raced 5 year old has yet to be tested at this level, but he’s unlikely to find a softer G1 group. Further, coming off a turf decline line, he projects to earn a figure competitive with Thorn Song’s best.

Taking Mr. Sidney to win at 7-2 or greater and keying him in exactas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (402) 123-85-53 Total Dollar Return: $840.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ventura Highway in the Blugrass

If it’s Keeneland and it’s Thursday, it must be a Grade 1. Today it’s the Vinery Madison Stakes for older fillies and mares at 7 furlongs. But the bad news is the top two choices look pretty invincible.

When last seen, Ventura (4-5) was getting beat a nose by the male Gio Ponti in the G1 Frank Kilroe at a mile on turf at Santa Anita after moving sooner than is optimal for her. Prior to that she won the G1 Santa Monica under today’s conditions on Pro-Ride. The filly sprint champion is 1-for-1 here and 3-for-3 at today’s distance. Garrett Gomez rides the Frankel trainee.

The thing is that Informed Decision (5-2) ran just as fast as the early line favorite as a three-year-old and now has 4-year-old maturity going for her. Similarly, this miss is 2-for-2 over the Keeneland Poly and likewise at 7 furlongs. She has the hot-riding Johnny Velazquez who tripled here opening day and Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard can get one ready off a long layup. And she gets two pounds from the choice. What’s not to like?

However, after she won the Breeders’ Cup Filly Sprint and I remember thinking how can she ever loose at 7 furlongs on a synthetic surface? And Frankel is 37 percent going sprint-route-sprint, today’s scenario.

Compelled to take Ventura, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Informed Decision.

Running Totals: (401) 123-84-53 Total Dollar Return: $840.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Plan to Cry for Argentina

Today’s feature at the Keeneland spring meet is the Grade 2 Beaumont for three-year-old fillies on the Beard Course which, if memory serves, is seven furlongs and 128 feet.

Two fillies seem to tower over the group, favorite Evita Argentina (2-1) and second choice on the early line, Selva (5-2).

I want to pick the SoCal invader. If you saw the recent San Vicente you’d understand. Given her position, she never had a chance--coming from last in a field of 10 to blow by her nine rivals.

Correct, the San Vicente is an open race, meaning she beat the boys. Trainer John Sadler, in a battle for leading trainer at Santa Anita, is effective with ship-ins and shows a profit when competing in graded stakes. Garrett Gomez will retain the mount on the filly who breaks from the rail.

Selva, meanwhile, prepped for this by winning a quickly run an overnight 5-½ furlong sprint stakes on the Fair Ground turf course, her second start of the year. Previously, she finished second in the seven furlong Tiffany Lass, her lone defeat in five career starts.

Her best weapon is speed, which she can use tactically if Robby Albarado wishes. She’s won from in front and from just off the pace, a useful advantage vs. her talented rival and gets a four-pound weight pull. In this match, we’ll make the percentage play.

Taking Selva to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Evita Argentina.

Running Totals: (400) 123-83-53 Total Dollar Return: $840.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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