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.



Saturday, December 08, 2007


Developing Four-Year-Olds Dominate Big A’s Queens County


A wave of nostalgia washed over me as I noted today’s feature is the G3 Queens County at 1-3/16 miles for older horses. This event used to mark the end of the New York season. It was run on the main track in late November. The season then began anew on or about March 20.

So much for better days.

Today’s renewal drew six entrants and four could be rated as serious contenders. We’ll concentrate on three: Hunting (9-5), Barcola (6-1) and Marital Asset (5-2).

Hunting is common off a career best, an incremental and not explosive one, meaning that there may just be more to come here. He finished with a flourish to win the Stuyvesant three weeks ago following a switch to Alan Garcia, who rides him back here. As a 4-year-old, this late developer still has some upside and Shug McGaughey finally might be tapping into this colt’s potential. With all the speed signed on here, the race shape couldn’t suit him any better.

Barcola is by definition the fastest here on performance figures. His lifetime best, significantly, came on this winter surface, over which he is 1-for-1. This 4-year-old always was well regarded by his connections and on some afternoons he’s positively brilliant. His last was a bit of a clunker, but if figured to be. Now back on his proven favorite surface, he’s is drawn inside the other speeds and gets a switch to the aggressive Eibar Coa. He’s certain to be live here.

Marital Asset used to be in the same barn as Barcola, Mark Hennig’s. But Edward Evans made the switch to Anthony Dutrow for a fall and winter campaign and this 4-year-old is 2-for-2. Since those efforts came sprinting at Philly Park, it’s hard to know how he will react here. But his figures improved dramatically for the white-hot Dutrow (duh) and he meets far better stock on the rise in class and distance today. The equally hot Ramon Dominguez rides.

We must take the rapid Barcola at odds of 7-2 or more, keying him first and second in exactas with his two main rivals listed, and first and second in trifecta, adding old pro Evening Attire to the mix.

Running Totals: (144) 53-30-16. Total Dollar Return: $318.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, December 07, 2007


Frisk Her to Raise Heck in Big A Feature


Another winter track overnight stakes, another sprint for some rapid fillies, three-year-old girls going six furlongs in the Raise Heck.

Like yesterday’s offering for juvenile fillies, this one is long on talented early speed, shorter on equally talented late kick. The major contenders are Dicey Girl, Frisk Her and Your Flame In Me.

Dicey Girl is very likely to sit a good trip here. She owns tactical speed, an inside draw, showed in her last race that she can overcome trouble and still kick clear late. She is by definition the second fastest filly in the group and hails from top Delaware Valley connections with Jeremy Rose riding for Steve Klesaris. Tested in stakes company, she finally might be ready to break through.

Frisk Her is making her second start off a lengthy layoff for Gary Contessa. She was second to today’s rival Your Flame In Me on that occasion but owns some variables that should bring the two much closer together. First, there is more speed signed on today and that should keep her speedy rival occupied in the early running. Further, she’ll be making her first start for Contessa here, a profitable 19 percent given that scenario, is in receipt of a significant five pounds and Joe Bravo has ridden her in the past. On paper, she looks to have the best late kick in the group.

Your Flame In Me owns consistently faster performance figures than any of her rivals, hails from the Michael Trombetta barn that is 4-for-10 at this meet and three of his last five starters and using Jose Caraballo, the only rider this filly has had while winning four of five lifetime starts. Trombetta is profitably adept at spotting his runners in these overnight stakes and saddles a filly that never has been outrun in the early stages of a race. But she’s meeting quality speed types today and breaks from the outside post with the other speeds obviously drawn inside of her. She must prove the speed of the speed again, withstand better late runners, all while picking up five pounds at 123 as the likely post time favorite.

Taking likely value Frisk Her to win at 3-1 or more and keying her first and second in exactas and trifecta with her two main rivals.

Running Totals: (143) 52-30-16. Total Dollar Return: $304.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, December 06, 2007


Lots of Extra Speed in this Heat


Today’s feature is an absolute beauty, the Xtra Heat Stakes for two-year-old fillies going six furlongs. Competitive? Seven of the eight fillies entered are coming off a win, several of them in stakes. We’ll concentrate on the two early line favorites: Dill Or No Dill (5-2) and Throbbin’ Heart (3-1).

The only filly coming off a loss in her last race is Dill Or No Dill, but with good reason. The pace she set was suicidal, the company too tough (Indian Blessing’s Grade 1 Frizette), and the one mile distance probably beyond her scope--at least at this stage. But she was a stakes winner sprinting in the Midwest previously and joined the Contessa barn shortly following that win. The speed of the speed, she's working well for her return and is nicely drawn. She attracts speed maven C. C. Lopez.

Throbbin’ Heart has been a gem of consistency on performance figures and has been tested for class despite only having broken her maiden last time out, her third lifetime start. She finished second with a game late-run placing behind protem champion Indian Blessing. Following another game placing behind the promising Elusive Lady, she broke her maiden while showing speed but still kicking home nicely to get the job done. Such balance is often emblematic of top class; we shall see.

Taking Throbbin’ Heart to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Dill Or No Dill. Also, we'll key her first and second in trifectas with 'Dill,' conditions-suiting D J Lightning (5-1), and top-figure earning Porte Bonheur (9-2).

Running Totals: (142) 51-30-16. Total Dollar Return: $297.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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