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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.



Sunday, July 29, 2007


Jim Dandy Favorite Has Street Cred


As opposed to yesterday’s extremely contentious Whitney, you won’t need a road map to find the favorite for today’s traditional Travers prep, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.

Kentucky Derby winning Street Sense is the 2-5 overnight choice to win it and, on paper, he’s impossible to beat. His class and talent are obvious. His performances figures tower over the competition.

But it’s not like there aren’t interesting horses in here. To wit: Sightseeing (10-1), Tiz Wonderful (9-2) and C P West (6-1).

Shug McGaughey has been waiting patiently to race Sightseeing around two turns since his somewhat surprisingly strong effort in the Wood Memorial. Everything about him, style and pedigree, to name two attributes, indicates that two turns is his game. He showed his class to win the G2 Peter Pan despite being compromised by soft fractions. He had little chance subsequently, Any Given Saturday running the entire field off their feet in a rapidly run Dwyer.

Undefeated Tiz Wonderful is returning from an injury. When last seen, he was defeating Any Given Saturday and eventual Blue Grass winner Dominican in the Kentucky Jockey Stakes at 2. He’s been training with extreme purpose, as Steve Asmussen obviously is intending to double-team Street Sense with this colt and, of course, his Preakness hero, Curlin.

C P West hasn’t been seen since finding himself on the lead in the Belmont, a race Nick Zito, in a perfect world, probably would have skipped. He showed in the Preakness that he belonged with the division’s best, and his last two works for this were very strong. Unusual for Zito to work his horses on the main track here. Make of that what you will.

Obviously, Street Sense is the most probable winner, no price restrictions, and, in the interests of value, we’ll make one wager, a cold exacta with Sightseeing.

Running Totals: (67) 30-13-10 Dollar Return: $171.10 [Saturday’s results not included]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, July 28, 2007


Pletcher Double Tough In Storied Whitney


I’ve seen more than my fair share of Grade 1 stakes, not only in Saratoga but everywhere. I can’t remember, however, if I’ve ever seen one as difficult at this year’s Whitney Handicap. Under the new “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup format, a victory here ought to qualify the winner for admission into the next two Classics.

With great difficulty, we’ve narrowed it down to four of the 12, from the inside, out: Papi Chullo (9-2), Magna Graduate (7-2), Dry Martini (15-1) and Lawyer Ron (6-1). Yes, we know, the last two horses break from posts 10 and 11, respectively, with its short run to the first turn. Perhaps that disadvantage will provide better odds.

Like most runners, Papi Chullo has been a new horse since acquired by Gary Contessa. ‘Papi’ earned an excellent figure winning his first start for the barn then overcame a poor start to win the Birdstone on the Belmont Stakes undercard impressively. The spacing here is ideal, a return from a 49-day layup, and the horse has trained consistently well for this. Nicely drawn inside, he gets two to three pounds from the major contenders. Early line odds would be the minimum if wagering to win.

Magna Graduate has labored in the shadows of more celebrated stablemates but has done his fair share of winning. He just missed following a tough trip in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, bumped in deep stretch after rallying very wide to reach contention. Before taking what likely will be low odds, however, require a fast track. Not only is he winless in two wet track starts but many of today’s rivals move way up on it.

Dry Martini is one of several longshots with a legitimate upset chance. He returned to his best figure in his first start for trainer Barclay Tagg last time out, winning the Cornhusker Handicap, and he appears poised for a potentially explosive effort. The four-year-old gelding keeps getting more professional with each start and his best figures were earned at today’s 9-furlong distance. Twice. The only horse to return from the Cornhusker thus far won his subsequent start.

Lawyer Ron has drawn poorly but needs no other made-to-order conditions. Arguably the most accomplished with 10 wins from 22 lifetime starts, he’s 2-for-3 at the trip with a placing and is undefeated in two wet-track starts. He’s cycling back to his best effort and stretches out nicely to his best distance off his Salvator placing. Not only have his figures improved for the Pletcher barn but he’s been more amenable to rating. Still, he has speed if you need it, which he might, given today’s draw. The odds should be fair.

Taking Lawyer Ron to win at 9-2 or greater, and second and third in trifectas beneath the three remaining contenders.

Running Totals: (67) 30-13-10 Dollar Return: $171.10

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, July 27, 2007


A Morse Code Special In Today’s Lake George


Another fascinating handicapping exercise at Saratoga, the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes for three-year-old fillies on the grass at 1-1/16th miles. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that seven of the 11 fillies entered are not without a chance. We’ll concentrate on five, from the rail, out: Good Mood (9-2), Dashes N Dots (15-1), Miss Tizzynow (20-1), Classic Neel (6-1) and Rutherienne (3-1).

Rutherienne is the most accomplished and deserves favoritism. She has a huge late kick that served her well winning the G3 Sands Point then just missing in the G3 Boiling Springs. But a deep closer, even on this course, from the extreme outside as the early line favorite is an underlay. She’s not even as fast on performance figures as some of these, and picks up four pounds to 122.

Good Mood’s win in the G3 Regret was excellent, indeed earning the best Equiform figure in the field. She’s worked well since but must turn back with quicker here while also toting four more pounds. Leading jockey Edgar Prado rides back.

Classic Neel was third in the longer Sands Point after making a slightly premature and wide move into the stretch. The mini-turn-back could suit her perfectly, and she reunites with Elvis Trujillo, undefeated aboard her in two starts.

Miss Tizzynow is one of two interesting longshots here. Coming off a Turf Decline Line (finished well late despite hindered by very slow pace), she should improve in this start and ships in with a bullet work at her Fair Hill base for a trainer 22 percent profitable with his shippers. Jockey Jeremy Rose ships up, too.

But we’re going to land on Dots N Dashes for another talented ship-in trainer, Gregory Fox, whose runners are profitable when competing in graded stakes. Third to Good Mood in the Regret, she should control the pace here reuniting with Robbie Albarado; 1-for-1 aboard the filly at today’s distance. She never has taken a backward step on turf and owns the second best performance figure in the group. Despite the closer’s profile at play, controlling speed at a big price is too tempting to resist.

Taking Dashes N Dots to win at 10-1 or greater, and keying her in-the-money in all trifecta positions with the other four fillies.

Running Totals: (66) 30-13-10 Dollar Return: $171.10

Written by John Pricci

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