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, February 29, 2008

Jacks Express a Fast Track to Profit

Not a very exciting feature today, a secondary state-bred allowances optional $25,000 claiming for older horse going a two-turn mile. Three have the best chance, from the inside, out: Stopbluffing (7-2), Fahrenheit Wild (2-1) and Jacks Express (5-2).

Stopbluffing has the benefit of earning good, competitive figures with consistency. All this while suffering through wide and tough trips in two recent starts but now moves inside and Julio Espinoza will take the re-ride. In addition to good figures, a preference for the track and the distance augur well. Two of his three lifetime wins have comes at this distance or on this surface.

Fahrenheit Wild is stretching out to a winning distance over the track in his second start following a layup, a race he should have won. He was forced to check in the midst of a strong stretch rally, costing him any chance, and Rajiv Maragh will attempt to make amends on the re-ride for this live outfit.

Jacks Express sports a bounce-rebound pattern, having earned a lifetime best figure two starts back. He had to be claimed only five days ago with this spot in mind and the meet’s leading trainer Gary Contessa is 20 percent profitable in first start off a claim and also earns money for his backers when wheeling back his charges off short rest. He has tactical speed, can kick, and benefits from a favorable rider switch to hot riding Mike Luzzi.

Taking Jacks Express to win at 2-1 or more and exacta and trifecta key boxes first and second with his major contenders.

Running Totals: (182) 63-38-21. Total Dollar Return: $396.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

NYRA Feature Tricky Read

There’s no shortage of speed in today’s sprint feature for older horses, a secondary allowances/optional $50,000 claiming. But there's a dearth of rally types that look fast enough to compete with the speed horses here on performance figures.

Further, there's a classy returnee off a long layoff--but in for a tag--and a second off-the-layup starter that may or may not be poised for a forward move. In short, it’s a very tricky read from top to bottom.

We’ll take a brief look at half the field, from the rail, out: Bill Place (3-1), Whistlin’ (2-1), Trophy Road (8-1) and Silver Light (6-1)

Bill Place was very good at this time last year. He won the Winkfield, was second in the Caposella then won the G3 Bay Shore. But after a layup, he returned in a $100,000 claimer and has been on the sidelines since. Now that he’s back for $50,000 tag for Tony Dutrow and Dominguez, it seems like the barn has given up on him. That, or they’re taking their best shot. Guessing is not a reliable way to riches in this game.

Whistlin’ reacted to his big figure two back coming back on short rest last time out. He’s back here quickly again but has had this added time since his top effort to recover. Gary Contessa, of course, wins with everything, but the bad news is that there’s sufficient gas to insure no easy lead for this speedster.

Trophy Road looks like he was a very good claim by David Jacobson in his New York debut and came back to run well since, a game placing after setting a strong pace. He, too, has early speed, but with excellent turn times, he might leave the other speeds gasping. His early line odds are generous.

Silver Light is not quite as fast as some of his rivals here but is on a good line and has the proper off the pace style to fit today’s race shape. Steve Asmussen, winning everywhere, is 30 percent locally and has latched on to Stewart Elliott to do a lot of riding for the stable recently. His odds also seem generous.

We’ll take Trophy Road to win at 5-1 or greater and key him in all trifecta money positions with his major rivals here.

Running Totals: (181) 62-38-21. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Having Fun with Playtime

The NYRA week begins with a preliminary allowances for older New York-bred fillies and mares going a mile and 70 yards. It has attracted a relatively full field of nine but appears a two-horse battle between a pair of very sharp 4-year-olds: Regal Playtime and Twistaway.

Regal Playtime really has come into her own since late last season. She’s won her last two starts, handled the stretch-out to a mile very nicely last out, and has proven quite the horse for course. She has finished in the money in half of her 16 lifetime starts, winning three. If you counted only her races not conducted on the winter track, it’s an unfortunate 0-for-11.

Along with her recent improvement go faster performances figures, indeed, among the fastest in the group. The pole won’t hurt, she gets along real well with stable rider Norberto Arroyo Jr., and has trained very well since her last for high-percentage newcomer Gregory Diprima.

While Twistaway does have some lamentable bridesmaid tendencies, she comes from a long series of competitive events vs. sharp and arguable stronger stock. She has earned excellent performance figures along the way and appears to be cycling back to a lifetime best. Her recent route figure was a pairing of her lifetime best going long, and that makes her look explosive.

Having drawn a better position after her very game second from a wide post at today’s distance last out, trainer John Terranova, who’s won with six of his 24 starters over the past three months, is a profitable 30 percent efficient when running back a beaten favorite. Mike Luzzi, who had a big recent weekend, takes the re-ride.

Taking Regal Playtime to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Twistaway. Trifecta players can add recent claim Alchera to their mix, a filly who earned an excellent figure last out and significantly drops 10 pounds.

Running Totals: (180) 62-38-21. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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