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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nothing Could Be Finah… Second Verse

The racetrack cliché among the old-timers is that the place you lose it is the place you get it back. In today’s preliminary allowances/optional claimer for fillies and mares 3 & up going a mile and seventy yards, today’s Aqueduct winter track route is where My Dinah (7-2) gets it back for readers of this space.

We liked her last out when she was asked to go nine furlongs on a main track covered in a sea of slop. She handled the conditions, but she didn’t love it, and how can you kick home strongly at that distance after stalking in the middle of the track throughout? The answer is you really can’t.

Trainer Kathleen Feron has entered her back quickly--10 days--indicating she’s a stout miss, as her pedigree would indicate, the underrated Jose Espinosa takes the re-ride and today’s shorter distance will help her punch in more effectively. Her performance figures have been consistently good at this level of competition.

Taking My Dinah to win at 3-1 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas with Discovery Launch (10-1), dropping a notch and projected as a loose early leader, and One Step Ahead (7-2), 1-for-1 in the Levine barn and picking up Rajiv Maragh, in the midst of a career year and riding with great confidence of late. Trifecta players can add Mikeslittlegirl (3-1), coming off a delayed pace improvement in its last dirt race, to their mix.

Running Totals: (324) 98-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Race Goes to the Swift

State-breds take the featured stage in the Damon Runyon for state-bred two-year-old colts and geldings going a two-turn mile and 70 yards. Lots of guessing involved here but we’ll keep it relatively simple, going with a colt that showed dramatic improvement in his second start and another that has experience and has been stakes toughened.

It’s not so much that Haynesfield’s (7-2) figures improved dramatically in start two, which it did, but it was more about the way he did it. It was as if he learned tons from his debut, distributing his energy much more efficiently. The Asmussen barn wisely gave him more than ample recovery time and has found a logical spot for his two-turn debut. Bred to handle added distance on the dam’s side; he has early speed, the pole and Ramon Dominguez, a formidable trio.

Tall Poppi (3-1) has raced five times, has experience going long and has met several hard hitters. While second in three starts, it might be too early to give up on the son of Intidab. In his most recent start, the Great White Way division of the NY Stallion, he ran into a colt, Lookin At Her, who gave a career best performance that afternoon. He’s worked thrice since that effort, including two recent bullets. His stalking style and Eibar Coa should insure a good trip, as several appear capable of pressing Haynesfield early.

Still, we’re playing the percentages, and the figures, and taking Haynesfield to win at 2-1 or greater, and boxing him in the exacta with Tall Poppi.

Running Totals: (323) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Taking Hertler and the Mig? That’s the Spirit!

Never thought I’d see the day in New York where the feature race on a Saturday didn’t have a name attached to it. But the featured eighth race today is your run of the mill preliminary allowances/optional claiming. In any event, it looks like a three-horse affair between Spanky Fischbein, a former Pletcher trainee, Flint River, the current one, and the streaking See More Spirit.

Leading rider Eibar Coa jumps off Spanky in favor of Flint, but that could be more a political decision as much as anything. Spanky Fischbein (3-1) has proven to be consistently faster than this group, is nicely drawn inside, comes from powerful new connections, one that’s profitable 30 percent efficient with horse making their third start off a layup. The problem is his early speed could get him in trouble here as there’s a lot of speed signed on.

Flint River (4-1) turns back to his best distance--his fastest on performance figures and site, has a pedigree that won’t quit, upside as a three-year-old and an extremely sharp work before leaving Churchill for his return to New York. Unlike Spanky, his late-run style fits the race shape here and Coa can work out a good trip, stalking battling leaders.

But the value is See More Spirit (5-1). Trainer John Hertler is on a roll at this meet and is profitable lifetime with horses seeking repeat wins. This five-year-old has been on a tear since uniting with Richard Migliore, a position conscious rider sure to take advantage of his inside draw. This gelding can finish from anywhere on the racetrack and will be suited by a lively pace. Owning a win on this track, at this distance, gives him an edge, as do excellent performance figures.

Taking See More Spirit to win at 4-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (322) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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