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.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Don’t Cave In, Take the Emperor

Three-year-olds are in the spotlight in today’s mile and a sixteenth Whirlaway on what could be a wet winter surface given Friday’s rains.

The race has attracted a field of seven, including an uncoupled stable entry from Todd Pletcher. The logical contenders are, from the rail out; Roman Emperor (7-2), Cave’s Valley (5-2) and Texas Wildcatter (9-2).

Roman Emperor finished third as the Count Fleet favorite, likely reacting to his lifetime best effort in his prior start. He simply was flat in that inner-track debut and some horses just need a run over this sometimes quirky ground. He finished determinedly while never a serious threat, but showed a glimpse of versatility. With a race over the track, the pole, and a race shape that seems to fit his style nicely, he’ll likely be very hard to beat. He has a bullet work following his Count Fleet third and Jeremy Rose takes the re-ride.

Cave’s Valley has been somewhat in and out from a performance figure perspective, but the good news is that today looks like in day. He won two starts going long at his Delaware base at 2 then finished unplaced in the Delta Jackpot to conclude his freshman year, earning a lifetime best pace figure. The son of Stephen Got Even will have little problem with the trip and he’s been working well for Mike Trombetta. Mario Pino ships in to take the call.

Texas Wildcatter is the longer and more interesting of the two Pletchers. His late-run style suits today’s conditions more than does the speedy style of his more accomplished mate, Spanky Fischbein. Most impressive winning a Philly Park allowance race by over 10 lengths, he worked a bullet five-eighths on the Belmont training track in preparation for his surface debut. Strong finishing Norberto Arroyo Jr. accepts the mount.

Logic is as logic does: Taking Roman Emperor to win at 5-2 or more, boxing him in the exacta with Cave’s Valley, and making a trifecta part-wheel of those two in the top slot, with all three runners second and third.

Running Totals: (169) 62-36-18. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Sorry, Can’t Beat This Favorite

Today’s feature is the Squan Song for fillies and mares going a mile and seventy yards. It has drawn but five betting interests, and a short-priced runner that will be a very tough out.

When last seen, Aliysa (7-5) was a very game second in the Affectionately Handicap, by a much tougher rival than she’s face here. She was pressed hard and just didn’t last in the final strides. She will be in this throughout, especially with Ramon Dominguez taking the re-ride.

Homerette (4-1) has some excellent back performance figures over this surface and her most recent showed a good return to form. She was flying after entering the stretch far behind Aliysa but came charging and was beaten less than two lengths. Pat Kelly had an excellent 2007 and there’s no reason to expect less this year. Jean Luc Samyn rides the filly back.

Taking Aliysa, likely odds-on, with no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Homerette.

Running Totals: (168) 61-36-18. Total Dollar Return: $384.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bounce Or No Bounce, That Is The Question

When the winds die down we’ll be back on the track this afternoon with really quick three-year-old fillies in an overnight stakes going six furlongs. There’s an uncoupled favored entry from Gary Contessa headed by Dill Or No Dill (8-5), Rising Glory (6-1) and Carolyn’s Cat 7-2).

Dill Or No Dill will be a very tough out if she can avoid the regression, which may not be possible. Her last was a significant top and she’s coming back a little quickly. But she has extreme early speed, the pole, Ramon Dominguez and has apparently maintained form with two bullet works since she won the Ruthless.

Rising Glory showed marked improvement last out and might have enough recovery time to insure a repeat performance, which could put her in the middle of this at a good price. She’s worked very well at her Philly Park home base, a bullet five-eighths in :59 termed breezing. Stewart Elliott takes the mount for John Servis.

Carolyn’s Cat comes from the white hot McLaughlin shed and Alan Garcia has won his half of his last 10 mounts for this barn. Not only is she making her second start following a brief freshening but is coming off a new pace top, a harbinger of improved performance. She tested the favorite last out but settled for place. Today she figures to be tighter and can narrow the gap considerably. The pressure she puts on Dill Or No Dill is likely to be the key to how this all turns out.

We’ll take the value offered on Carolyn’s Cat at 3-1 or greater and key her in exactas first and second with the contenders listed here.

Running Totals: (167) 60-36-18. Total Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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