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, November 24, 2007


A Special Race, A Special Horse


Horseplayers will look at today’s Cigar Mile as the final leg of an all stakes Pick 4. Fans see it as the final Grade 1 of the New York season.

Either way, it’s a two horse race on paper, probably a one-horse race to be totally objective. But this is horse racing where anything can happen and often does.

If this were the third race on a Wednesday, Midnight Lute (3-5) has the kind of form you might want to take a chance against. His last two performance figures were simply off the normal scale, he returns on relatively short rest, gives weight to his major contender, has never won at a mile and drew the rail post out of the one-mile chute. Five reasons to bet against. But one not to do that: This is an exceptional animal.

Not even good racehorses can do what he did in the Sprint, coming from far, far back with a rally reminiscent of the great Turkoman of two decades ago. To think he would get up, then win going away, was unthinkable as you watched the race live. Now, when you look at his figures, you know there’s a bounce forthcoming. One can’t sustain that level indefinitely. Then he works six furlongs in 1:10 2/5, like breaking so many sticks, and with the performance gap between he and his rivals, you can absolutely regress and still win.

However, the three-year-old Daaher (3-1) could be anything. He’s fast, fit, fresh and very dangerous. He’s proven at the distance, is in receipt of seven pounds (including the weight allowance), is nicely drawn, and his speed gives him a tactical advantage. He’s been very impressive, too, from a visual frame. He’s been working very well for his first start since winning the key race Jerome early last month.

However, we must take Midnight Lute to win with no price restrictions although, in the real world, we would forgo a win wager, box the exacta. and root for the upset.

Running Totals: (135) 47-29-15. Total Dollar Return: $278.50 [win selections only] {Friday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, November 23, 2007


Everybody In The Pool


Today’s feature this holiday weekend is the Grade 2 Top Flight for fillies and mares going a flat mile on what projects a drying-out Big A surface. Our charter, of course, is to seek out vulnerable favorites. Sorry, not today.

Pool Land (5-2) figures to be a very tough out. Making her second start off a lengthy layup, she owns considerable advantages on pace and final performance figures, has proven class and is nicely positioned outside starting from the chute. Tom Albertrani has taken over her training on won off the freshening from for a barn profitable for a career and is particularly adept saddling potential repeaters. One-for-one on this track, she’s 58 days fresh and has found a very likely spot here.

Altesse (5-1) is a distance specialist for Shug McGaughey, winning three of five at eight furlongs. Of greater consequence is the fact her best performance figure came at 1-1/16 miles at Belmont, a similar dynamic to today’s conditions. Her trainer has been on a roll of late and he’s been 3-for-8 when using Joe Bravo.

Golden Velvet (3-1) is interesting. Seasoned in stakes company in Europe and Dubai, she debutted for Kairan McLaughlin with a comprehensive, open lengths victory in quick time. Dropping a significant six pounds off that effort, she will attempt her second straight for a top repeater outfit that’s a profitable 27 percent efficient with second-Lasix starters. Her most recent work was the fourth fastest of 74 older fillies to work that week in New York. The only knock is the short early line odds, in light of the class hike.

Taking Pool Land to win at 7-5 or greater, and an exacta key first and second with her major rivals.

Running Totals: (134) 46-29-15. Total Dollar Return: $272.10 [win selections only] {Thursday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, November 22, 2007


A Champion Weight Carrier?


It might be a modern anachronism but the Fall Highweight Handicap has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition. Moreover, it’s fun.

Grand Champion (5-2) is the now horse for Jimmy Jerkens, a late developing four-year-old gelding who might be capable of a true breakthrough performance. Jerkens is having an excellent year, batting a profitable 26 percent for 2007, and is adept at getting recent winners to repeat with 24 percent efficiency.

Owning tactical speed that should put him in this from the start given an alert break, he also owns the kick to clear the pacesetters in deep stretch. The caveat is that he seems to need his move timed perfectly. He worked a strong five-eighths in preparation for his first start in nearly six weeks--good spacing--and reunites with Eibar Coa. He carries 130 pounds and is in receipt of three and four pounds, respectively, from highly competitive rivals.

Park Avenue Ball (7-2) never fired in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile but might do so here on the drop-down and turn-back. He attracts Alan Garcia who’s winning with everything, including a riding triple yesterday. He would benefit from fast fractions and any remaining moisture in the surface.

Running Totals: (134) 46-29-15. Total Dollar Return: $272.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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