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, May 31, 2008

Weather Could Determine Sands Point Winner

At first blush, it appears as if the favorites should dominate the Grade 2 Sands Point for three-year-old fillies on the Belmont inner turf course at nine furlongs. Alwajeeha (5-2) would be a deserving favorite off her victory in the G3 Appalachian, Life Is Sweet (2-1) second in the Calder Oaks and beaten three lengths in the G1 Ashland on Keeneland’s Polytrack and I Lost My Choo (3-1), narrowly beaten in the Appalachian.

But with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms Friday night and 80 percent Saturday, the turf will likely be yielding at best if, indeed, the race is not rescheduled if the course takes a lot of water. We’ll analyze this for off ground.

Life Is Sweet is a tough read. While she acts on off going, she appears better on firm turf. Her big edge is that her career best figure was earned while breaking her maiden in her only start on this course. Her strong late kick might not serve her well on off footing.

Alwajeeha is the co-fastest filly in here given her G3 Keeneland victory and she has sufficient recovery time since that effort. But she, too, would seem to prefer it firm. Johnny Velazquez takes the re-ride for Kiaran McLaughlin, currently on a big-race roll.

I Lost My Choo had a tougher trip when narrowly beaten by Alwajeeha, is the other co-fastest filly and she’s done it on more than one occasion. She handles any ground and might be suited by the presence of likely pacesetter Raw Silk, whereby Edgar Prado could fall into a good trip despite her outside draw. Further, she might fall between the parimutuel cracks given the higher profile competition.

Ambidaxtrous, meanwhile, is an interesting price shot at 12-1. She won both recent turf starts with authority, albeit over weaker rivals and in slower time. But both wins came over soft ground and her latest indicated she’s developing quickly with a strong late run off a slower early pace. Tom Bush is batting 29 percent at the meet and Rajiv Maragh was aboard for both recent wins.

Depending on post time odds, I’d seriously consider betting two horses to win: at early line odds: I Lost My Choo at early odds of 3-1 or more and Ambidaxtrous at 12-1 or greater, and a small exacta box. (If race is re-scheduled to dirt, prefer main-track-only entrant Forest Trail).

Running Totals: (214) 69-46-24 Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Do You Believe in Magic?

Today’s feature is a state-bred stakes, the Noble Nashua for three and up New York breds going a mile a d a sixteenth on the main track. It looks like a two-horse affair between a pair of 3-1 shots, Dr. V’s Magic and Stormin Normandy.

Dr V’s Magic is making his second start as a four-year-for Dominic Galluscio. Not only was the effort a good one to build on from a visual perspective but his performance figure indicates good development from three to four while living some room for further improvement. He showed enough class to win the Empire Classic over this track last year and reunites with Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard for that victory.

Stormin Normandy is by definition the fastest horse in the race and also comes off a promising effort last out as a four-year-old. From the same connections of Triple Crown hopeful Big Brown, he ha sprint speed and perhaps just enough pedigree to make it this far. Cornelio Velasquez certainly gets along well with him, aboard for three victories, and Rick Dutrow and pushing the right buttons at this meet.

Taking Dr. V’s Magic to win at 5-2 or greater and an exacta box with Stormin Normandy.

Running Totals: (213) 69-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Go West Young Bettor

Today’s feature to start the Belmont week is a preliminary allowances for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, at six furlongs. Anywhere else it would be a stakes, such is the talent level in this.

Half of the six-horse field could easily win, from the inside, out: Pulpitina (3-1), City Bird (2-1) and Tale of the West (5-2).

Pulpitina earned excellent performance figures at two and did it the right way, distributing her energy efficiently. She showed a highly versatile running style, winning on the engine by open lengths after closing much ground late to finish second in her debut prior. Christophe Clement is 22 percent efficient with layups of 90 days or more.

City Bird has the fastest figures, returns for the top layoff barn of Rick Dutrow, and is a four-year-old vs. many threes. She’s experienced, has been working purposefully, the barn is striking at a 24 percent rate this meet and the filly attracts Edgar Prado. From the prolific Stronach outfit, her lone win came on this track, at this distance.

Tale of the West won her debut very impressively at Keeneland with a rare frontrunning score. Her figure was fast and competitive and she distributed her energy efficiently. She ships down from Saratoga for Todd and Johnny, where she worked well with two recent moves termed breezing. She deserves an edge on recent conditioning in a very competitive sprint.

Taking Tale of the West to win at 2-1 or more and keying her in exacta first and second with her competition here, and on top only in trifectas.

Running Totals: (212) 68-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $422.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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