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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, October 18, 2007


Speed Is Always Dangerous


We’re back on the grass for the Belmont Park feature, the Awad Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and three eighths on the inner turf course. Obviously, the ability to get the entire 11 furlongs is the question.

Of the nine entered for grass, we’ll take a look at three. From the inside, out, they are True Cause (3-1), Tricky Causeway (8-1) and Encinas (5-1).

True Cause comes from the mother of all key races. Eight horses raced back from the Sept. 8 turf route at Delaware Park and no less than half won their next start. True Cause won that key race and did so despite extremely slow fractions. With a well timed run from Johnny Velazquez, the six week layup should have the bin Suroor trainee set for his best go.

Tricky Causeway is the controlling speed, has gotten this distance on the lead before, and hails from the Jimmy Jerkens shed, an outfit that has won with four of its last 12 starters. Norberto Arroyo Jr. is back in excellent form, too, being recently returned from an injury. Aggressive and strong, this horse could take a lot of catching.

Encinas returns for a barn, Kiaran McLaughlin’s, that a profitable 23 percent efficient with horses returning from layups of over 90 days. An 11-furlong specialist, Encinas has won twice at today’s distance and has been toughened in much better company than he’s in here. Burgeoning talent Alan Garcia takes the mount for one of his main patrons. Normally a rallier, his freshness might find him closer to the anticipated hungry pace here.

Taking price shot Tricky Causeway to win at 6-1 or greater and an exacta box of all listed contenders.

Running Totals: (121) 42-28-13. Dollar Return: $244.50 [win selections only] {Wednesday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Win Streak to Continue for Finger Lakes Speedster


Today’s feature, surprisingly, is on the dirt! Even though this state-bred “non-winners of 2 other/than, optional claiming $30,000 only drew eight horses, it’s a very competitive sprint. We’ll concentrate of three major contenders, from the inside, out: Sly Diamond Jim (5-1), Smash “Em Sammy (2-1) and Whistlin’ (7-2).

Sly Diamond Jim ships down from Finger Lakes because, frankly, since he entered the Englehart shed, he’s run through all his conditions and is entered here for the $30,000 tag, the only way he could start.

He ships down looking for his seventh straight victory. He owns excellent performance figures, can sit behind off what is expected to be a very hotly contested pace, has never been worse than second in three starts over the track and attracts Mike Luzzi, who’s ridden him before. He is good value at early line odds.

Smash ’Em Sammy hails from the Scott Schwartz barn, an outfit winning at a worthy 25 percent rate the last few months. He has good, consistent and competitive figures, fit’s the race shape very well as an off the pace runner and attracts Javier Castellano, riding in top form once again. His outside draw suits perfectly.

Whistlin’ loves Belmont Park, owing to the fact his best figure was earned on this surface, at this distance. Making his second start off a long layup, he’s fresh once again and has been training purposefully for the prolific Gary Contessa. Eibar Coa will suit the speed 4-year-old perfectly and should take advantage of his outer position to work out a stalking trip.

This will be as much a rider’s race as anything else.

We’re taking the value on Sly Diamond Jim to win at 7-2 or more and keying him first and second in exactas with the other two contenders.

Running Totals: (121) 42-28-13. Dollar Return: $244.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, October 14, 2007


Johnny V. to Complete Sweep of Weekend Turf Features


Today’s feature, the Chelsey Flower, is for fillies and mares three-years-old and up that have not won a feature this year. They’re going nine furlong on the inner turf course that was listed yielding yesterday an should be upgraded Sunday with no further precipitation expected.

This one’s wide open in that five of the eight entrants are within a few lengths of each other on performance figures. Race shape and trips will be a real key here and with mostly top outfits and riders in the race, there’s no real edge to be taken. We’ll look at two of the five: Lady Renaissance (5-1) and My Rachel (7-2).

Lady Renaissance is most likely to offer value since she’s not as fast as most of these but she has the most upside as a four-year-old, if a fresh filly and could not be in better hands with Christophe Clement and Garrett Gomez. She owns a win at today’s trip, an advantage over some of her main rivals and will benefit from her last as she was compromised by the softest pace of her career. She likely will be in good position given her freshness and relatively paceless conditions.

My Rachel has never been the distance but should handle it well for Todd and Johnny returning in six weeks with steady recent works. She earned good figures at both eight and 11 furlongs, has done so on this course, where she owns and win and placing in three attempts. She has a bit more tactical speed than her main rival but obviously has had some issues being a relatively lightly raced five year-old. But she’s going well now and figures to be at the top of her game which would be enough here.

Taking My Rachel with some reservations and would need 3-1 or more to play in earnest. Making exacta key boxes with My Rachel and Miracle Moment, by definition the fastest horse in here.

Running Totals: (120) 42-28-13. Dollar Return: $244.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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