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, October 13, 2007

Criminologist in Athenia Upset

Today’s feature is the Grade 3 Athenia Handicap for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, at a mile and a sixteenth on the Widener Course.

Dance Away Capote is the 8-5 early line favorite off her tour de force score in the G3 Noble Damsel at a mile. There are several reasons to think she won’t repeat that superb effort. First, she has bounced off every previous lifetime top; her last was her fastest figure ever. Second, she returns on relatively short rest, 28 days, and stretches out another sixteenth. But she’s worked well since, is 2-for-2 on Belmont grass and you haven’t been able to beat Barclay Tagg with a stick of late. She’s the worthy favorite.

Criminologist (2-1) has a lot going for her, too. She is a remarkable 3-for-4 at today’s distance and has been clearly pointed toward this off a six week freshening. With not a lot of early speed signed on here, her tactical speed greatly enhance her chances and there aren’t many better than Johnny Velazquez at working out perfect trips in pace-less turf events. He’ll get that chance here.

Taking Criminologist to win at early line odds of 2-1 or greater, and an exacta box with Dance Away Capote.

Running Totals: (119) 41-28-13. Dollar Return: $238.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Dorm Fever Hot Horse in Belmont Feature

Today’s feature is a non grass event. That’s no typo. It’s the listed Life’s Magic Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Sadly, it looks like it will come down to a battle of the two early line choices: Dorm Fever (3-1) and City Bird (7-2).

Dorm Fever found herself on the lead--not her game--in the recent Grade 1 Gazelle at a mile. Understandably, she tired after being pressured throughout. But today she turns back to a distance at which she’s 1-for-1, an excellent figure score over this surface on a wet surface, conditions that might prevail today. Eddie Castro takes the call for Jimmy Jerkens, who’s 28 percent effective when going from sprint to route to sprint, as is Dorm Fever today.

The connections for City Bird couldn’t be an more high profile; a Frank Stronach owned filly trained b Dick Dutrow. That’s what not makes her a formidable rival here. It’s her performance figure going 6-½ furlongs at Saratoga two starts back, the best in the race. The hybrid distance isn’t quite 7/8s, but the dynamics are very similar. Dutrow’s horses are also very effective turning back--27 percent--and her spacing, 31 days, looks perfect.

But we’ll take the class tested Dorm Fever to win at 5-2 or more and an exacta box with City Bird.

Running Totals: (118) 41-27-13. Running Totals: $238.30 [win selections only] {Thursday’s feature race was cancelled}

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Danger To Renaissance Lady on Also-Eligibles

Another turf feature to begin the Belmont week but at least we’re going longer today, a mile and a sixteenth on the Widener course for three-year-olds and up, a secondary allowances, $50,000 optional claiming.

Favorite Lady Renaissance (5-2) looks like she holds a wide edge here, coming back for Christophe Clement. Her main rivals are anchored on the also-eligibles, Bridal Path (20-1) and Waquoit’s Love (9-2).

Lady Renaissance is the fastest mare on performance figures, has an excellent turn of foot, top connections and fit’s the race shape nicely. Her outside post is not a positive but she figures to drop well back and come running late for Garrett Gomez, absolutely scary on one-run grass horses. She fits this group nicely.

Bridal Path is the better half of the Peter Kazamias trained coupling. Kazamias is batting a profitable 21 percent for the year and has excellent stats in the second start-off-the-claim category, a scenario both entrants find themselves in here. The early line odds are out of line, given her performance figures and live connections. Seven of nice career wins on grass were at today’s distance.

Waquoit’s Love, like the other fillies mentioned, was compromised by a moderate pace last out and figures to improve markedly. A sharp winner in allowance company last out, she reunites with Cornelio Velasquez, aboard for a victory earlier this summer. She owns a win and placing in three starts on Belmont grass.

Taking Lady Renaissance to win at 2-1 or greater, a possible saver win wager on Bridal Path at 12-1 or greater if she draws in, and exacta key boxes with Lady Renaissance with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (118) 41-27-13. Dollar Return: $238.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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