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.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Suddenly Hot Mott?

The Graded Stakes Committee really should take a better look at the Fourstardave. Year after year, it’s always a better horse race than the Grade 1 Sword Dancer and if its grade improved so then might the level of its entrants. But this 1 1-1/16th miles on the turf never fails to attract Grade 1 types, budding Grade 1 types, anyway. It should be at least Grade 2. It has better history that G3.

Anyway, now that Bill Mott got off the duck, we’ll look for him to begin surging, and War Monger (9-2) really fits the bill here. He ran as fast as most of these have as a three-year-old, earned his seasonal best figure over this course, has tactical speed, kick, and we like the idea that Mott makes a move to Robby Albarado, as patient on the turf as he is sometimes impulsive on dirt.

The interesting horses here are Danak (6-1) and Cosmonaut (5-1). Danak makes his return to the U.S. for new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Principally a miler in Europe, he shipped here for the G1 Arlington Million in 2007, was bet to 4-1 and was beaten a length and a half despite having bled. First time Lasix will help a lot here. He’s been working bullets for months and Rajiv Maragh should provide good handling and perhaps insure a bettable price. Win or lose, great spot for his return.

Cosmonaut has lost a step to age but his figures remain consistently competitive at a high level. The switch to Julien Leparoux, who won the G2 Arlington Handicap and finished in the money in his other recent rides on the veteran. Julien is having a great meet, unless you think winning two G1s in week one is routine. He’s got enough speed to overcome the outside draw and Leparoux might just finesse him the rest of the way where he can be right there at the finish.

But we’re taking War Monger, at 4-1 or greater, and exacta key boxes first and second with his two rivals here.

Running Totals: (245) 77-51-27. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Indian Blessing Scary in Grade 1 Test

Time was when the Test Stakes for three-year-old fillies was split virtually every year. If it wasn’t, it would be a great betting race. Half the fun was trying to figure whether fillies were going all out in the Test or using it as a bridge to the 10 furlong Alabama. But the problem with it being a G1 is that it’s a prize worthy of champions, their presence shooing away the competition. Such is the case this year.

Juvenile filly champion Indian Blessing (3-5), fresh from a rapid victory in the G1 Prioress at Belmont, will attempt stretch her speed another furlong. Considering she’s already won at seven-eighths and broke her maiden by a short pole first time out at Saratoga last year, not much mystery remains here. I can’t beat her and won’t try, which leaves the exacta pool.

We’ll look at two possibilities here, hoping to optimize the odds. Sweet Hope is coming off a huge top and is 5-2 in the early line; worth beating. Tequilas Dayjur (15-1) is a late developer who was a game second in a 7-furlong Grade 3 over Arlington’s Polytrack last out. Suited by a likely hot pace, a ground saving trip beneath new rider Edgar Prado makes her interesting. Also worth using is Palanka City (8-1), training up a storm for Barclay Tagg, who’s a worthy 35 percent given that scenario. Eibar Coa rides.

Taking Indian Blessing, no price restrictions, in exactas over Tequilas Dayjur and Palanka City.

Running Totals: (244) 76-51-27. Total Dollar Return: $464.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, August 01, 2008

Belle of the Ball

Today’s feature will be a good one to see, the Grade 2 Honorable Miss for sprinting fillies and mares going six furlongs. The race is filled with talented fillies with almost any of the six fillies entered capable on their best day. We’ll focus on three, from the rail out; Miss Macy Sue (3-1), Zada Belle (5-2) and Graeme Six (9-2).

There’s one word to describe Miss Macy Sue: sweetheart. What else can you say about a filly who’s 10-for-19 lifetime at today’s distance. She’s won over five different racetracks within the past year and won the close-up stalking style that should fit today’s scenario perfectly. The one concern might be her rail draw.

Zada Belle could be anything. She’s as fast as any of these on performance figures, drops a significant five pounds and draws the meet’s leading rider. She’s only had four lifetime starts in three years of racing, suggesting obvious issues, but she’s won three, all in very fast time. Saeed bin Suroor is 30 percent efficient with shippers and Johnny likely will have her in the sweet spot of this race. Talent is a big equalizer when it comes to assessing class, and we’ll know a lot more after today.

Graeme Six, meanwhile, is about getting what you see. Blessed with tactical speed and an outside post, she likes to stalk from close range, has won recently beneath Julien Leparoux, who’s already won two Grade 1s at the meet. Trainer Tom Amoss is batting 32 percent for the season, the best we’ve seen at a major circuit in 2008 this side of Wayne Catalano.

As contentious as this is, we’ll err on the side of Johnny Velazquez to have her correctly positioned in this closely matched field. Taking Zada Belle to win at 2-1 or greater, keying her first and second in exactas and trifectas with her main rivals here.

Running Totals: (243) 76-50-27. Total Dollar Return: $464.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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