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 11, 2008

Making a Winning Point

For a stakes without a name attached--a non-winners of 3 other than…optional claiming--it has drawn its share of fillies that have run, and run well, in races with names of them. Of the six entered, we’ll concentrate on two: Somethingtotalkabt (10-1) and Winning Point (8-5).

Somethingtotalkabt comes off a layup for Wally Dollase, very efficient with limited Spa starters year after year. In a 12-race career, she’s had but three starts on dirt and won one--at today’s distance--at Churchill Downs beneath Julien Leparoux. After a failed attempt down the hill in a Cal-bred turf sprint stakes at Santa Anita, she returns East, returns to winning conditions and reunites with Leparoux. She’s been in steady training for over two months in preparation for her return.

Winning Point, second in the G2 Comely, Black-Eyed Susan and Delaware Oaks last year, she returned in a paceless mile race at Belmont Park and lost the momentum battle, checking in second. She certainly appeared to need the effort, now turns back to what might be her optimal distance and is nicely drawn outside the speed; a perfect stalking trip looms.

Must take Winning Point to win, no price restrictions, and exacta key boxes with Somethingtotalkabt and Boca Grande.

Running Totals: (250) 78-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $472.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Horse for the Spa Course

Two state-bred turf events at nine furlongs, one for the boys, one for the girls, is the highlight on today’s card and we’ll choose the West Point, given the larger field. There are three that are the most interesting; from the inside, out: Gimme Credit (9-2) Banrock (5-2) and Al Basha (7-2).

What Gimme Credit lacks in company lines, he makes up for in his love for the course, undefeated in two tries on Saratoga turf. His best go was three starts back, significantly at today’s distance, he makes his third start following a layup, a good percentage play for this barn, has drawn a coy inside position and gets Edgar Prado on the re-ride. Having survived rough trips in both recent starts, he appears set now.

Banrock is arguably the most accomplished, hence the short early odds if you’re classifying on the grass, never a bad option. A winner of the Thunder Puddles in his Belmont finale, he’s won over the local ground, too, however it does appear he’s at his best at a slightly shorter route. Kent Desormeaux will try to win his second straight on the five-year-old for a barn that’s gotten off slowly at this meet.

Al Basha, rated into submission in slow fractions in his recent four-year-old debut, finished willingly when cut loose and clearly should benefit from the season’s opener. Like Gimme Credit, he’s undefeated in two starts on the Spa turf and has won half his six starts at today’s distance. The main challenge for re-rider Cornelio Velasquez is overcoming the wide draw.

Taking Al Basha to win at 3-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (249) 78-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $472.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Out With the New and In With the Old

There are four overnight stakes on today’s card, with the nominal feature, the Duke of Magenta, replacing the rescheduled Yaddo Stakes. The headliners in this group are Magna Graduate and Fairbanks, or old Todd vs. same old Todd.

Magna Graduate (5-2) goes first time for Steve Asmussen today off the trainer change. Freshened since the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill in May, he returns off a series of steady works, including a bullet five furlongs, for a barn that’s 24 percent efficient with new acquisitions. With a bankroll of $2.3 million, this 6-year-old is clearly the most accomplished, but he’s never distinguished himself at the Spa, where he’s failed to hit the board in two lifetime appearances. A tactical speed racer, stable rider Shaun Bridgmohan takes the mount.

Fairbanks (3-1) is a forward racer, is fresh, and is the only member of the field boasting a victory over the track, all things that work to his advantage. That and the class edge he enjoys over the group, Magna Graduate notwithstanding. Perhaps most significantly is that the 5-year-old reunites with Richard Migliore, back in New York for good, and a jockey that his ridden this horse very well in the past. The Mig is most dangerous on a horse he can place wherever he wishes. Performance figure-wise, there’s not much separating these two on their best days.

Taking Fairbanks to win at 5-2 or more and exacta boxes with Magna Graduate and the long-winded Angliana (6-1).

Running Totals: (248) 77-51-29 Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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