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, November 21, 2008


Lieutenant Ron Seeks Promotion


Today’s featured Grade 3 Discovery Handicap can be an interesting betting race depending on how you view the chance of Lieutenant Ron, the 6-5 early line choice. The question is how he handles the nine furlong distance. Proven distance runners with competitive performance figures, or on good lines, are too many to name. Either you take the short price, or take a very long one.

Lieutenant Ron is coming off a new pace top and has run much, much faster figures than these are several occasions. The bad news is that his pedigree is on the short side; the good news is that trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is profitable off this kind off layoff, going long for the first time, and in graded stakes. Love to take a shot against but in these situations against McLaughlin, he’s been right a lot more often than I have. Alan Garcia won’t hurt his chances.

A handful of others could pull the upset. Wishful Tomcat and Premium Gold are both proven at the distance, are both 12-1, but both are most effective in front. Only one horse can lead at a time. Web Gem (9-2) handles the trip and on occasion is faster than the two aforementioned rivals. His late kick is suited by their speed.

That’srightofficer, also at 12-1, is nicely posted, has position speed and attracts Edgar Prado. Ready Set (4-1) is consistently fastest of the remainder and drops a significant five pounds. A repeat of his recent narrow loss in a Meadowlands G3 makes him extremely formidable.

Lieutenant Ron is the most probable winner. Even-money would be fair, but unlikely. I would take 4-1 on Ready Set not to regress but that, too, is iffy. I’ll key the favorite first and second in tris and supers and look for north of 12-1 on That’srightofficer.

Running Totals: (315) 95-65-42. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Getting the Impression Shug Will Take NYRA Feature


If performance figures are the measure, and they are, five of these horses would fit neatly under one blanket in today’s featured seventh race, a secondary allowances/optional claimer for fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth on what figures to be “good” going.

Those having better than a puncher’s chance in here are the first three favorites: Shake The Moon (5-2), According To Plan (7-2) and Impressionism (4-1).

Shake The Moon raced one-paced while making her U. S. debut in a G3 Marathon on this course three weeks ago now goes first time for Chris Clement and also getting Lasix for the first time. Her figures are steady, highly competitive and moving forward incrementally, a positive sign. She draws the fence with Jose Lezcano on the re-ride.

Flibberjibit, an exotics contender, is attempting to win her sixth straight, her fourth since Oct. 5, while taking another step up. She’s 3-for-3 at this trip and 1-for-1 on this course. The problem is she’s been performing at a high level for such a long time and seems due for a dull performance. But that’s just a guess.

According To Plan is one of the fastest fillies in here, comes up to the added distance nicely off graduating distances with good, five-week- spacing. Her pedigree says no worries vis a vis the longer trip but she does have the look of a sprinter. Another guess.

Always For Love, another exotics filler, ships in sharp with good figure for longtime ship-in ace Guadalupe Preciado, who’s bringing along regular rider Angel Arroyo. She hits hard, has been laudably consistent and could prove a bargain if held at double-digit odds. Given the company and her outside draw, you’d want somewhere north of 10-1.

Impressionism seems the most likely suspect. A late developing four-year-old filly, she’s been improving incrementally for Shug McGaughey, has tactical speed and kick, assuring a good trip here despite her wide draw. Johnny Velazquez on the re-ride should put her in a position to win right from the jump. Trips, always the difference on turf, is particularly applicable in open races like this.

Taking Impressionism to win at 4-1 or greater, keying her in exactas with Shake The Moon and According To Plan, adding Flibberjibit, Always For Love and Mpensi to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (314) 95-64-42. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, November 20, 2008


There’s No Qualifier; Relatively Is Ready


Interesting feature as NYRA will try to stay on the grass for this preliminary allowances for two-year-olds going a mile and a sixteenths. As you might expect, many variables to weigh here. However, there is one colt with a decided experience edge over many of today’s rivals that has had his hooves held to the fire in strong company.

Relatively Ready has excellent form. He broke his maiden on turf in his first grass start at Saratoga, going two turns at this distance on off ground, the same conditions he will encounter today. Following that came a game third in the Grade 3 Pilgrim on yielding turf, then was stoutly restrained early while racing on that carpet of a Santa Anita grass course in the Juvenile Turf.

Despite that tough circumstance and while racing against better European stock that finished 1-2, he beat more than half the field and was beaten only five lengths for all of it after a strong late, while rally going shorter while the Europeans received easier inside trips, for the most part. Today, he draws inside with switch to stable turf rider, Johnny Velazquez.

But this is no walkover. Into My Soul broke his turf maiden at first asking then placed gamely in a Meadowlands stakes after being acquired by the IEAH group. Trainer Rick Dutrow is adding blinkers here, a move that’s been 21 percent effective.

Pegasus Tommy D. broke his maiden at first turf asking as well on good ground then lost all chance in his subsequent start, racing wide behind Into My Soul throughout in that same race on yielding ground. It was a difficult circumstance for both.

While I’d like to see another run from the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Winthrop House, he was also a maiden turf breaker at first asking. What makes it a difficult read is the fact it came on firm Belmont turf going seven furlongs. But getting the trip in 1:21 2/5 in a visually impressive effort and retaining Alan Garcia certainly makes him an interesting prospect. But we’ll go with the devil we know.

Taking Relative Ready to win at 5-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (313) 95-64-42. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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