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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We’re Back In Action, Hurrah!

The New York racing week begins with a highly competitive secondary allowance/optional claimer for older horses going a mile and 70 yards. Its drawn a full field, including two stable couplings.

Well take a closer look at three, from the rail, out: No Reply (4-1), Run With The Lark (5-1) and Hurrah (3-1). (Given his last effort, I would include normally recent claim Ricardo A (12-1) to the mix but dont understand why a trainer would add blinkers to a nine-year-old veteran coming off an open-lengths win). [See today's blog on lead page]

No Reply is not nearly as fast as some of the older veterans in here but the 4-year-old gelding has considerable upside, the pole position, fits the race shape nicely with realistic pace up front, and the McLaughlin barn is a profitable 24% with horses trying to repeat. Alan Garcia, who made his early bones with McLaughlin trainees, is in the boot.

Run With The Lark was a fast, impressive winner two back then apparently was too ambitiously spotted in the Alex M. Robb off the big-figure win. He failed to pick up his feet. This spot is a lot more realistic and half his lifetime wins have come on this surface, at this distance. Norberto Arroyo accepts the mount once again on the Schosberg trainee. Should he run back to his Dec. 2nd effort, hes a very serious player.

Hurrah has been racing in excellent form, including two game placings on the winter track before being claimed by record-setting Gary Contessa last out. The barn is a profitable 19% following the claim. Mike Luzzi replaces the white hot Stewart Elliott, who opts for Ricardo A here. This veteran has the tactical speed to assume a stalking position from his outside slip and enough kick to seal the deal. A repeat of his Equiform figure two starts back wins this.

Taking Hurrah at 5-2 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with No Reply and Run With The Lark, and keying him in all money positions in trifectas, including longshot Ricardo A.

Running Totals: (163) 59-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $371.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pletcher vs. Pletcher vs. Contessa vs. Pletcher Again?

Just when you think nothing can surprise you in this game, you find out otherwise. Not a big deal, I suppose, but never thought Id see a six horse field with three uncoupled entrant from one barn.

But Mr. Pletcher will start half the field in the six-filly Busanda for three-year-olds going a mile and 70 yards on the winter track. Pletcher has himself to beat--and Gary Contessa, too. The three major contenders are Sunday Elegance (3-1), Paint Me Red (5-2) and La Porta (4-1).

Sunday Elegance attracts the hottest rider on the grounds this week; Stewart Elliott. When last seen, Sunday Elegance was showing improved early speed after encountering trouble on the first turn when ambitiously placed in the Grade 2 Demoiselle. Seven weeks freshening, a drop in class, the pole at this distance and Elliott makes her quite formidable here. By definition, she is the fastest filly on performance figures, albeit over a muddy Monmouth surface.

Paint Me Red is up from South Florida making her first start for the Contessa barn. She was competitive with some salty Calder fillies as a two-year-old and Contessa has had six weeks to figure her out. Shes never run a bad race and looks well spotted in her local debut. An inside post and Ramon Dominguez doesnt hurt.

La Porta, like Sunday Elegance, hails from the Pletcher shed and shes developing very nicely. She showed improved speed with good energy distance while earning a good figure in her second start then showed improved stamina in her two turn debut while breaking her maiden over this surface after setting a slow pace. She showed some class on that occasion but has to deal with both mates, including a value laden Sumptuous (8-1). Mike Luzzi replaces Johnny Velazquez.

Still, we must take Sunday Elegance off the class relief and freshening at 2-1 or greater, and key her first and second in trifectas with three principal contenders listed here.

Running Totals: (162) 59-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $371.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Don’t Fall in Love with Affectionately Favorites

Todays featured Affectionately Handicap, like many traditional New York features, have fallen on hard times. The race is no longer graded and todays renewal has attracted at least a couple of fillies of G3 stature.

Anyway, this is very competitive in that you have several fillies on the come, some already proven commodities and still others that might jump up and surprise. I could see any of the seven winning. Well winnow it down to four: Aliysa (10-1), Stage Luck (5-2), Lucky Revival (10-1) and Victory Pool (7-2).

Aliysa is a now filly who will be tested for class here. A repeat of her last at Philadelphia Park would put her right in this. Never taken a backward step on the Equiform scale, shes learning how to better distribute her energy and, as a South American 5-year-old, she has some upside on the age scale. With Seth Benzel calling the shots for Todd Pletcher, the pole, and Ramon Dominguez, she could be ready to pull off an upset.

Stage Luck probably will be the post time favorite. A repeat of or two-back effort would make her very difficult to beat. It was among the fastest figures in the field. With only three lifetime starts, the 4-year-old Unbridled filly has tremendous upset. Shes well drawn, well trained and ridden, and her tactical gas will come in very handy from her inside slip.

Lucky Revival is apt to fall through the pari-mutuel cracks. She was a good third three starts back behind Baby Bird--one of todays many contenders--and is coming off a new pace top while winning her winter track debut Dec. 12. She has a worthy (5) 2-1-2 slate at the distance but does lose Dominguez to Aliysa. Norberto Arroyo is a very able substitute.

Victory Pool makes her career finale this afternoon, heading off to the breeding shed. Competitive in graded company, shes never finished off the board in seven starts over this surface, earns good figures with consistency, and picks up Alan Garcia, who finished third aboard the filly in the G3 Turnback the Alarm. Her tactical speed will help gain position and she can kick late.

Taking the potential value offered on Stage Luck to win at 6-1 or greater, and keying her in all trifecta money positions; exactas if good odds available nearing post time.

Running Totals: (161) 58-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $365.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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