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.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do You Want Ketchup With That?

Good feature today, with a chance to be rewarded if we’re smart. The Grade 2 Ballston Spa Handicap has attracted a talented field of nine fillies and mares going 1-1/16th miles on the Saratoga inner turf.
We’ve narrowed the contest down to four; two favorites and two not-so-favorites, to wit:

From the inside positions out, Vacare (5-1), My Typhoon (5-2), Pommes Frites (10-1) and Wait A While (2-1).

If this were last season, solving the riddle would have been no problem. Wait A While was winning everything in sight, including two Grade 1s, and would have been 3-5 on the early line. But after a season’s debut laugher at Gulfstream, she hated Polytrack in the Jenny Wiley then was beaten by My Typhoon in the Just A Game. The real good Wait A While wins this. She’s fresh, training well, but comes from a barn that can’t get out of it’s own way right now, Todd Pletcher, a loser with his last 29 starters.

After beating Wait A While, My Typhoon came up here and won the Grade 1 Diana. It was her third lifetime win at Saratoga from five starts and today, of all things, she drops back from nine furlongs to a distance at which she’s 5-for-6 lifetime. The price she pays is top weight, 122 to 121 on Wait A While.

Mott has two fillies in here and Pommes Frites is far from a race filler. She’s as fast as her competition, fresher than her stablemate, is working brilliantly, and reunites with Cornelio Velasquez, who’s 3-for-4 on her with a neck-back placing. Like her mate, she has excellent tactical speed and can finish. The attraction here, obviously, is her early line odds.

Vacare, one of two Christophe Clement fillies, had a tough trip in a Grade 1 at Hollypark last time out. She was forced to stalk the pace of a quality rival but still held on very well when everyone put the hammer down. It was her first loss in six career starts, she won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth at three, is fresh, drawn well, and is 1-for-1 with Edgar Prado.

In a competitive cast, we’re going for the price on Pommes Frites to win at 7-1 or more, and a saver wager with Vacare at 3-1 plus. We will also key both fillies first and second in trifectas with each other and the two favorites.

Running Totals: (86) 37-18-11. Dollar Return: $222.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tread Lightly In New York-Bred Feature

Generally, the Albany Handicap for state-bred three-year-olds draws a good-sized field and is an interesting betting race. Not so this year. A short field, a short-priced favorite, and the horses with the best nine furlong form are not nearly as fast as those that might be distance challenged.

What to do?

Not sure about how we might take any money out of this event. Clearly, Chief’s Lake (8-5) is the fastest on performance figures, and by a lot. His class and wide speed advantage should get him home in front. But he’s the kind you’d love to try beating. The problem is we can’t find any on a particularly good line, and those that might be look too slow.

We’re not making a win wager here, although we’re calling Chief’s Lake the most likely winner and he will be tallied in our daily running totals. Not even making an exacta. There’s not a clear cut second finisher in the bunch. Instead, we will key Chief’s Lake first over three rivals in the trifecta.

Dr. V’s Magic is, by definition, the second fast horse and, while also distance challenged, is clearly best of the rest. Stunt Man goes turf to dirt for Gary Contessa and earns competitive figures consistently, a big plus here. Doctor Freud is too slow but has a race over the track and appears e would be most at home at today’s trip.

There’s still two weeks remaining at this meet. There’s no need to get seriously involved here.

Running Totals: (85) 37-18-10. Dollar Return: $222.30

Written by John Pricci

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Steal Magnolia In Union Avenue

Today’s feature is the restricted Union Avenue Stakes for New York-bred fillies, three-year-olds and up, sprinting six furlongs. The favorite will be a very tough out here. Magnolia Jackson (8-5) just has too much speed, too much class.

Two interesting fillies with a puncher’s chance are Stolen Star (4-1) and Precise Lady (6-1).

Stolen Star has some back figures at three that could compete with the favorite here. Given the improved early speed she showed last time (new pace top) in the Dancin Renee, she rates to move forward this afternoon. She likes the surface, finishing a competitive second in both lifetime Spa starts. The John Kimmel barn has come alive here recently.

Precise Lady, meanwhile, loves it here. Never off the board in three lifetime Spa starts including two victories, she also earned her best performance figure on this surface. The Dancin Renee winner continues to work purposefully and she’s 2-for-2 beneath Javier Castellano, who rides her back for Pat Kelly, having another good Spa meet.

But as stated, Magnolia Jackson is simply too fast on figures, and she runs them consistently. Grade 2 placed in open company, she returns fresh for Gary Contessa, who goes back to Ramon Dominguez this afternoon. She can lead throughout, or stalk and pounce, from her outside slip and does not concede all that much weight under the allowance restrictions.

Taking Magnolia Jackson to win at even money or greater and exacta boxes with the other two fillies, an extra ticket with her on top and another in a trifecta key as well.

Running Totals: (85) 37-18-10. Dollar Return: $222.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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