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.

Friday, September 19, 2008

House Guest Staying to Cash a Bet

Lots going on in today’s Belmont feature for fillies and mares, three and up, preliminary allowance types sprinting 6 furlongs on the inner turf course.

There’s Viva La View (5-1), talented, albeit lightly raced, coming off a layup for a top return outfit with early speed, the pole and Johnny Velazquez.

Then there’s According To Plan (3-1), going dirt to turf for Barclay Tagg, a good percentage move, while making her second start off a layup--another good angle--with stable rider Eibar Coa aboard.
And there’s Goo Goo Eyes (6-1), making her second start for the Kiaran McLaughlin barn, and Higher Incentive, beaten in a photo on Belmont turf in a race that went in 1:07 4/5 for today’s distance. And HIgher Incentive (9-2), going postward for leading trainer Gary Contessa.

But the most interesting miss to us in this wide open fray that has drawn a good sized field is House Quest (7-2), back in the Greg DiPrima barn after making a foray out of town. While not as fast as some of her competitors, her figures are competitive enough but, unlike most of her competitors, she’s acquitted herself well in tougher situations.

Now she returns to her favorite surface, at her optimal distance, and reunites with hot riding Rajiv Maragh, who fits this filly extremely well. With all the speed signed on here, she should come running strong in the late stages.

Taking House Quest to win at 7-2 or greater, keying her first and second in the trifecta with the rivals mentioned above, and an exacta box with Viva La View.

Running Totals: (277) 84-56-32. Total Dollar Return: $504.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beating Rice Could Be Very Nice

Will this be kind of a re-run of the Mechanicville in Saratoga where trainer Linda Rice’s horses finished 1-2-3-4? While not quite; she’s only entered three in today’s Jack Better Be Right overnight stakes for three-year-old state-bred fillies going six furlongs on Belmont’s inner turf course.

Two of Rice’s three are coupled and one of them, Meriwether Jessica (3-1), has an inside track here if, that is, she can handle Peter Pugh’s streaking Lost Without You (5-1). It’s very difficult choosing between the two, a battle of speed vs. conditioning.

Lost Without You is faster, almost significantly so. Never having taken a backward step on turf, her last two efforts were exceptional. Yes, she has done quite a bit of developing but not exactly to the extent that she’s won’t replicate recent efforts, which make her the most probable winner. And she’s had over six weeks to recover, has won on Belmont turf at this distance and attracts turf ace Johnny Velazquez.

Meriwether Jessica should have won her Saratoga finale. She simply never had winning position throughout the one mile two turner, her outside post responsible for some of that, and Eibar Coa got her going just a little too late. But the turn-back is not problematical here since her two-back race was a victory going three-quarters over this ground. With her speedy stablemates signed on and with a forward move projected, she is the expected value.

Taking any value offered on Lost Without You at 4-1 or more to win and a boxed exacta with Meriwether Jessica.

Running Totals: (276) 84-55-32. Total Dollar Return: $504.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Offhand Remark? She’ll Romp

Today’s feature is a secondary allowances for state-bred turf fillies at a mile and a sixteenth on the Widener turf course. There are about five females that wouldn’t come as a big surprise in the 11-horse field. Of those five, however, we’re looking at the one with the most potential, even though there are more than a few who are faster on performance figures.

But you’d have to see a replay of the effort made by three-year-old Offhand Remark (5-1). You can count on limited figures the numbers of races won from an extreme outside post going a mile at Saratoga, especially without working out a trip where you can save ground for a significant portion of the race.

Not only did this filly not save ground but she was stalked the slow pace while four wide every step of the way and kicked home to win, racing a final quarter in less than 23 seconds. That takes talent no matter how slow the fractions. Here she finds a race light on early speed, has an inside draw in the bulky field and attracts Johnny V., this year the best turf rider in New York.

And while her figures are not as fast as her main rivals, she’s never taken a backward step in her career, either on dirt or turf, over which she‘s 2-for-2 including one over Belmont ground.

Taking Offhand Remark to win at 4-1 or greater and keying her first and second in trifectas with Blitzen Too (3-1) One In a Romp (6-1), Boxitup (5-1) and Absolute Heaven (4-1), plus an exacta box with Absolute Heaven.

Running Totals: (275) 84-55-32. Total Dollar Return: $504.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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