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.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Maimonides Not Ready For Prime TIme

Gone are the days, apparently, when everyone wants a chance to win a Grade 1 with a two-year-old before the Saratoga meeting ends. But today’s Hopeful Stakes at seven furlongs has drawn a field of four.

The two “big horses” in here are the accomplished Ready’s Image (4-5) and the talented, over-hyped Maimonides (7-5), from the hottest juvenile barn in Saratoga, Bob Baffert’s. Fans of Ready’s Image should be happy for the hype, which might make Ready’s Image playable. If you’re into short prices, that is. Because that’s where the conversation about the two big two-year-olds end. Frankly, there is no comparison, at least not yet.

Ready’s Image notwithstanding, the other three Hopeful entrants are eligible for preliminary allowances. If this were a conditioned race, the early line choice would be eligible for non-winners of three races other than maiden or claiming.

But that’s not the only instance where comparisons are specious. In terms of performances figures, Ready’s Image is the fastest horse, and it’s not even close. Two-for-two since adding blinkers, he’s a Grade 2 winner of the track and his outside draw will allow Johnny Velazquez to keep Maimonides in his sights all the way. He’ll probably be sitting right off his right hip.

Have to take Ready’s Image to win and will gladly take 1-2 or more. For those uninterested in that prop, a cold exacta with Maimonides would be in order.

Running Totals: (96) 38-22-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Spa Couldn’t Make Bullet Bob Any More Happy

Today we’ll find out what the juvenile fillies have with respect to their ability to go on. The Grade 1 Spinaway at seven furlongs has always proven a useful barometer when things begin to really stretch out in the fall.

The Spinaway has drawn a field of 10 and we’ll take a look at half of them, from the inside, out: A to the Croft (6-1), Yonagucci (20-1), Irish Smoke (5-2), More Happy (5-1) and Blitzing (9-2).

A to the Croft was flying at the end of the Adirondack behind More Happy, prompting trainer Ken McPeek to say that if the race were longer they wouldn’t know which was his filly went. She certainly looked like added ground would suit her, she made a step forward on figures while facing tougher and comes up to this off graduating distances.

Yonagucci chased the Adirondack pace three-wide throughout and held fairly well late. She demonstrated she could run with these horses after winning two straight at Calder. Florida-based two-year-olds have a history of outrunning their odds here. The top spot is tough but a money finish at long odds is appealing.

Irish Smoke lived up to her name, a winning debut in :57 3/5 with something in reserve. Patrick Biancone is a profitable 25 percent with career second-starters and her recent half mile work in :47 was third fastest of 103 juvenile fillies to work that week here. She could be anything but makes a considerable stretch-out here.

More Happy set a strong pace to win the Adirondack, remaining undefeated in two starts. Her prior was pace pressing maiden score at Del Mar, decidedly anti-profile. Bullet Bob Baffert said she might have bounced off her :59 workout from the gate here six days before the race. Baffert has yet to lose with a juvenile at this meet.

Blitzing was a game third in her local debut, the opening day Schuylerville, after chasing the pace wide throughout, a trip not unlike that of Yonagucci, albeit with better results. She too comes up to the added distance perfectly and her figures are forward looking for the Asmussen/Bridgmohan Team.

Taking value here with More Happy at 5-2 or greater, keying her first and second with A To The Croft and Irish Smoke in exactas.

Running Totals: (94) 38-22-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only] {Saturday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Take The Other Pletcher In The Woodward

The calendar says it’s not yet fall but when you look at a Saratoga Grade 1 at nine furlongs for three-year-olds and up and see all the entrants carrying scale-weight of 126 pounds, the calendar lies. It’s weight-for-age time.

Today’s Win-And-You’re-In Woodward is Lawyer Ron’s to lose, IF he can duplicate his career best performance figure earned in the Whitney. While the odds are against that happening, given the level of performance, are slim, there’s reason to think it might.

It’s been five weeks, arguably enough time, and the fact that it’s Saratoga, where horse’s fill up quickly, given the cooler nights, environment, etc., rebounding becomes more than a reasonable expectation. Further, if you love this surface, you love it, and that effort came at today’s distance from post 10. Today Lawyer Ron (2-1) gets the pole and virtually the same rivals he beat last out.

Two of them figure to improve, however, and both are well drawn in posts two and three, respectively.

Diamond Stripes (4-1) also had a wide draw in the Whitney and didn’t run nearly as well as Lawyer Ron. But he did make a wide mid-race move and finished willingly without threatening. Returning from his Aqueduct best, he appears set for best in third start off the brief layoff.

Magna Graduate (5-1), the uncoupled mate of Lawyer Ron, never had a chance in the Whitney, stuck down on the inside--not the best place that day--all the way. Those tactics don’t suit the horse’s comfort zone, either. In his prior, a tough trip cost him a score in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. He figures to improve here and Garrett Gomez hasn’t lost confidence in him and will ride him back.

Taking the value offered on Magna Graduate at 9-2 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with Lawyer Ron and Diamond Stripes.

Running Totals: (94) 38-22-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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