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, March 25, 2009

The Grass is Greener at Gulfstream Park

In celebration of Florida Derby week--or until New York can card some interesting features once again--we’ll be taking a look at the Gulfstream Park headliner all week.

The featured eighth race is a wide open $50,000 claimer on the turf for older horses going a mile. What we don’t know is where the Irish rail will be placed. On Sunday, the last day of racing, they ran on the hedge with no rail and out 96 feet, the widest position on the course the rail can be placed.

(The rule of thumb is that the narrower the circumference, the better for the pace horses. Despite five inches of rain here late last week, the course was rated good on Sunday, which was right on the mark.)

On paper, today’s mile is a battle between two classy old pros vs. two younger and sharper rivals. Since either figures to be the better price than the “class” horses, we’ll err on the side of value.

Murch (6-1) has more class, if his Equiform figures are the measure, and is faster than Man Above (8-1). But the latter has made great strides for Eddie Plesa, who’s handled him like a good horse [schedule-wise] after beating $35,000 rivals last time out. Freshened, Man Above races best in that scenario, and owns tactical speed in a paceless race. The presence of position conscious Elvis Trujillo helps his chances.

We’ll go for the gusto. Taking Man Above to win at 6-1 or greater, [turf only] boxing him in the exacta with Murch, and adding the two class types, Wood Be Willing (3-1) and Ballast (5-2) to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (388) 119-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $826.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Up the Creek Without a Good Play

Racing office in a slump with many small-field features of late. Today some nice looking three-year-olds will race one mile and 70 yards. The two fastest on performance figures here are The Prince (8-5) and Monk’s Creek (7-5). No surprise, and no real opportunity to make money.

While I think the linemaker has the right favorite, my feeling is that The Prince will be a shorter price at post time. First, he’s faster by a fairly significant margin. Second, he attracts Ramon Dominguez from the pole position.

But Monk’s Creek is more interesting. After breaking his maiden at 5-½ furlongs at the Big A in November, he shipper to Florida with the ‘A’ group of McLaughlin horses and showed significant improvement while moving up in class and distance at 7 furlongs, not easily done.

Now it’s back to New York with a bullet work in the holster for an outfit that’s a profitable 25 percent efficient first time going long. Further, he has a chance to catch up with his main rival figure-wise since he’s had twice as much recovery time and The Prince is coming off a big top.

Taking Monk’s Creek to win at 7-5 or greater and using him on top in exactas with The Prince and Cellar Dweller (4-1), who has competitive figures and two turn experience.

Running Totals: (387) 119-81-52 Total Dollar Return: $826.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shipper’s Talent No Secret

Finally, another graded stakes, this one the G2 Distaff for filly sprinters going six furlongs, and perhaps a filly or two that might wind up in the Distaff Sprint at season’s end.

Most while of the group is in various stages of development, there’s no doubt that Secret Gypsy (9-5) is already there.

By definition, she is the fastest of these ladies on the Equiform scale. She’s quite used to dealing with a hot pace, goes well fresh, as does her trainer, Ronny Werner, who’s profitable in the 90-day layoff scenario.

Besides, for Robbie Albarado to give up mounts on his winter home circuit to come up and ride this miss, clearly he doesn’t want her to get too far away. His end of the winning purse will be more than $9,000, and that’s worth anyone’s time.

After that, it’s wide open, many of ‘Gypsy’s’ rivals run virtually the same figures. Zada Belle, while improving, seems to stub her toe vs. better competition. Todd Pletcher has Awesome Ashley moving in the right direction and Royal Michele ships up from Laurel, the winner of the G2 Barbara Fritchie last time out, so who knows?

Stuck in a bit of a rut, taking what’s available. Betting Secret Gypsy to win at 3-2 or greater.

Running Totals: (386) 118-81-52 Total Dollar Return: $822.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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