John Pricci executive editor John Pricci contributes to his "Feature Race Analysis" section five times a week, focusing on New York.

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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, October 16, 2008

Straighten Up and Fly Right

What do you know, a dirt feature. True, it’s a small field but very competitive with no standout favorite and a chance to get fair value on a horse owning enough pace to race in the first flight and enough kick to get home. That would be Try To Fly who’s been going well since getting off the plastic stuff and on legit dirt for Tony Dutrow.

The spacing is right, six weeks, and so are the conditions. Position conscious Cornelio Velasquez is sure to get him in the game from the start and win this turning from home as the late runners begin to gain momentum. As a four-year-old, his figures are showing continued development and his debut on this surface was an extremely game effort while racing between horses in the late stages.

Taking Try to Fly to win at 8-5 or greater and an exacta box with surface lover Les Grand Trois.

Running Totals: (294) 88-61-36 Total Dollar Return: $585.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Monday, October 13, 2008

Same Story, Different Day

Everyone loves turf races, especially when they draw good-sized fields, but six straight turf feature races this week? A bit much, don’t you think?

Anyway, today’s is a preliminary allowances at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf and there isn’t a whole lot of speed signed on. I’m thinking Thou Swell on the class drop will be forwardly placed as he’s drawn favorably, inside/mid-pack, and at 8-1 early line is inviting.

The consistently fastest on the Equiform scale is Big Jerome (3-1) and he has enough tactical speed to stalk comfortably outside. But from the 8 post and with Javier Castellano, that’s as wide as you can get. If he were drawn inside, the decision would be easy but he’s not.

Baletti (9-2), meanwhile, has his moments. He’s not tactical, but the rail post with that little bend into the back-straight at this distance and the lack of blazing speed might just give him enough position. The switch to Rajiv Maragh augurs well and he won yesterday’s feature riding for Angel Penna Jr., who tightens the girth on Baletti. If we can get his two-back race, he could win this at fair odds.

Taking Baletti to win at 7-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (293) 88-61-35 Total Dollar Return: $585.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

Today’s feature is the listed Xtra Heat Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 & up on the inner turf course at six furlongs. Talented group of turf sprinters headed by Diamondrella (7-2), Mohegan Sky (3-1) and Smart And Fancy (7-2).

On performances figures, the latter is fastest, consistently and by a considerable margin. The bad news is that most of those efforts were at shorter distances and she should high weight of 121 pounds from an outside post. Not easy.

Mohegan Sky returns fresh for Linda Rice as part of an uncoupled entry. The last time this filly raced fresh, she won, and she’s been training purposefully for her return. She loves Belmont grass, first or second in five of eight starts, including two wins at the distance. Javier Castellano fits her wide late-rally style.

But Angel Penna Jr. has returned with a vengeance this year and is profitable for a career in all relevant categories. The one that stands out is that he is a very worthy 47 percent efficient with repeaters. And Diamondrella is seeking her fourth straight score. She worked well since her latest and Rajiv Maragh rides her like he owns her. A repeat of her most recent effort wins this contentious sprint.

Taking Diamondrella to win at 5-2 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas and trifectas.

Running Totals: (292) 87-61-35 Total Dollar Return: $578.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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