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, August 09, 2008

Out With the New and In With the Old

There are four overnight stakes on today’s card, with the nominal feature, the Duke of Magenta, replacing the rescheduled Yaddo Stakes. The headliners in this group are Magna Graduate and Fairbanks, or old Todd vs. same old Todd.

Magna Graduate (5-2) goes first time for Steve Asmussen today off the trainer change. Freshened since the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill in May, he returns off a series of steady works, including a bullet five furlongs, for a barn that’s 24 percent efficient with new acquisitions. With a bankroll of $2.3 million, this 6-year-old is clearly the most accomplished, but he’s never distinguished himself at the Spa, where he’s failed to hit the board in two lifetime appearances. A tactical speed racer, stable rider Shaun Bridgmohan takes the mount.

Fairbanks (3-1) is a forward racer, is fresh, and is the only member of the field boasting a victory over the track, all things that work to his advantage. That and the class edge he enjoys over the group, Magna Graduate notwithstanding. Perhaps most significantly is that the 5-year-old reunites with Richard Migliore, back in New York for good, and a jockey that his ridden this horse very well in the past. The Mig is most dangerous on a horse he can place wherever he wishes. Performance figure-wise, there’s not much separating these two on their best days.

Taking Fairbanks to win at 5-2 or more and exacta boxes with Magna Graduate and the long-winded Angliana (6-1).

Running Totals: (248) 77-51-29 Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Soft Ground Makes Upset Possible

Today’s nominal feature, the overnight Waya Stakes, has attracted a field of a half dozen turf mares going the 12-furlong marathon distance. The key to this might be which of these mares has circled this race on their calendars and which are using it as a bridge to something more significant.

The 6-5 early favorite Tejida, graded stakes placed, clearly has the look of a filly prepping for a return to that level. While her performance figures are very good, compared to the group, she doesn’t look like this race will be the prime goal. But the filly is in need of a confidence boost and could get it here..

The interesting mare here is Archstone (4-1), who has spend most of the spring chasing big-engined Mauralakana--no such rival here. Roger Horgan-trained filly has some races on her card that put her in the battle with the favorite, espeically given the likelihood of yielding to soft footing.

We'll take any value offered on Archstone at 4-1 or greater and an exacta box with the more accomplished Tejida.

Running Totals: (248) 77-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

When All Else Fails, Jump

Today’s feature goes as the first race, and if you want to pass, feel free. But I like steeplechasing because it’s different, it’s fun and it’s formful. I once conducted a five-year study of results and found, to my amazement, that favorites won at a 50 percent rate. Extraordinary when you consider that horses leave the ground.

As with any race being conducted on a turf surface, those that have distinguished themselves along class lines often have their pictures taken. And so it is with jumpers. The bad news is that this group in particular is very hard to classify, coming from all over the map to compete. The two “best horses” in today’s Grade 2 A.P. Smithwick, the traditional prep for the G1 New York Turf Writers’ at meet’s end are last year’s winner, Mixed Up (3-1) and talented flat runner Salford City (7-2).

We’re betting on the latter. On the flat in his history are turf efforts in which he earned excellent performance figures. Now running isn’t jumping but Salford City has won while chasing in Ireland. He gets an American makeover today, adding Lasix and blinkers. He gets the respect of the handicapper Bill Gallo at 154 pounds, four pounds less than highweight Mixed Up.

Taking Salford City to win at 3-1 or greater, exacta box with Jonathan Sheppard’s Mixed Up.

Running Totals: (247) 77-51-28. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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