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.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Fooling: Take the Bluff

Today’s feature in New York, a non-winners of 3 lifetime allowances/optional claimer at a mile, has drawn a contentious group. The talent base for this afternoon’s eighth race centers around Irish Majesty (5-2), Numaany (4-1) and Take the Bluff (4-1).

Despite the class rise, Irish Majesty is a deserving favorite. Many of his best efforts have historically come on this ground, he won his last at a mile and 70 yards, a similar dynamic to today’s. Further, trainer David Duggan has been on a recent tear and apprentice Sheldon Russell seems to be improving day to day.

Late striding Numaany is all susceptible to trouble given his running style and was totally eliminated last out when stopped in the midst of his far turn rally. As a newly turned 4-year-old there is still ample room for development, he continues to train purposefully and retains leading rider Ramon Dominguez.

Take the Bluff, like Numaany a subtle class dropper, is remarkably consistent figures-wise. No matter the conditions, he always manages to run his race, is a three-time winner on this surface, and owns laudable tactical speed and kick. Position conscious Mike Luzzi should have little problem getting good position despite the short run to the first turn. He’s one of those rare 7-year-old horses that hasn’t lost a step to age. At least not yet.

Taking Take the Bluff to win at 3-1 or greater, keying him in exactas with today’s main rivals.

Running Totals: (370) 113-73-49 Total Dollar Return: $793.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playing for Value with Strummer

Today’s feature to begin the New York week, a secondary allowances/non-winners of 2 for state-breds sprinting six furlongs could be a money maker if we get it right. A few of these could jump up to surprise and whatever horses closes as the favorite is still likely to be bettable odds.

We’re most interested in Strummer (5-1), King David (4-1), Scary Bob (10-1) and Please Impress (7-2). Each has a license to run very well here.

Strummer just missed after leading throughout in a $14,000 and was claimed by Oscar Barrera Jr., 20 percent efficient with new acquisitions. In Strummer he has a six-time winner over the track, aforementioned speed, and the ability to stalk from close range, which can prove the difference here.

King David ran almost as fast as these as a late season juvenile/early three year-old before going to the sidelines for nearly a year. With his added maturity from a barn adept with long layups (Linda Rice) and a series of bullet works, he should be ready to fire first time out of the box.

Scary Bob, despite the odds and his level of competition, should have run better than he did last out. But the good news is that the effort certainly didn’t drain any reserves and he’s come back to work very strongly since, a recent bullet half mile also proving 12th best of 154 at the distance for the week at Belmont. Dropping back into a claimer is a 30 percent move for Chris Englehart, who makes a switch to Eddie Castro for this.

And finally there’s Please Impress who was totally eliminated after getting shuffled back in the middle of the pack in a large sprint field on this somewhat narrow oval. He has tactical speed and kick, owns a win over the surface and gets a switch to leading rider Ramon Dominguez for Rick Dutrow whose outfit is 23 percent at the meeting. He projects to get a favorable trip given the dynamics here.

But we’ll stay with good current form and take recent claim Strummer at 4-1 or greater, keying him in exactas and trifectas with his three major rivals here.

Running Totals: (369) 113-73-49 Total Dollar Return: $793.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Silver Bells and… PUMPKIN SHELLS

Today’s featured Busher Stakes highlights some up and coming three year old fillies, not necessarily Grade 1 types, although you never know, of course. Most of the major contenders have forward looking lines and it will be a question of which filly fires straightest here.

Although you’ve got to time her move correctly, like most one-run horses, I’m partial to Pumpkin Shell (2-1). It’s not that she’s two for two on this surface, but it’s clear she’s developing rapidly and has gotten much better since the distance have lengthened. She’s worked four times since winning the Busanda last out and stretches back out to the distance of her maiden score--both wins beneath C. C. Lopez.

Subprime (7-2) rates an edge over the undefeated What A Pear, who defeated her in the Wistful when she had a conditioning edge. Now Subprime comes back second off the layup for Jimmy Jerkens, 26 percent with the angle and staying ahead of the takeout as well. She’s improved since adding Lasix and Richard Migliore takes the re-ride from a cozy inside post.

But we’ll take the much improved Pumpkin Shell, who we believe will fall between the wagering cracks, at 5-2 or greater, an exacta box with Subprime, adding What A Pear to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (368) 113-73-49 Total Dollar Return: $793.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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