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, February 06, 2009

Sharp Is as Sharp Does

A very interesting state-bred stakes restricted to older New York-breds, the Rough Rough Stakes at a mile and 70 yards that presents an unusual opportunity to secure value.

After all, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen when a sharp, improving allowance type meets established heavy heads?

The two classy state-breds that will take beating are the returning Giant Moon and another recent returnee making his third start off a layoff, Icabad Crane.

Giant Moon is making his first start since finishing unplaced in the Preakness Stakes, having been beaten a mere two lengths in his Grade 1 Wood Memorial prior. Again partnered with Ramon Dominguez, he returns with the rail and his noted tactical speed for the capable return outfit of Rick Schosberg.

With the two other speed types signed on from outside posts, we look for Ramon to establish his ground saving position given the short run into the first turn.

Meanwhile, Icabad Crane will be laying back beneath Jeremy Rose, his third start for Graham Motion and a favorable scenario for that accomplished barn. Third in last year’s Preakness, when last seen he was suffering through an eventful trip in the Alex M. Robb on this surface Dec. 28. A sharp pace would make him very formidable.

But it’s the improving Manteca who’s the most interesting. This four-year-old son of the late developing sire Aptitude, Manteca’s just now coming into his own as he seeks his fourth consecutive score after winning his last three starts by an aggregate 17-¾ lengths.

He’s got tactical speed and kick, a neat inside draw, and Rajiv Maragh rides him like he owns him. He appears capable of stepping up to this level and we’ll take him at 4-1 or greater, keying him in exactas with his classy rivals here.

Running Totals: (357) 109-72-47 Total Dollar Return: $768.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Oh, Nellie

Interesting feature, a preliminary allowances optional claimer drawing a good sized competitive group of sprinting fillies and mares. Three caught our attention here.

Starship Cruiser (3-1) is the logical favorite. Rick Dutrow trainee suffered through a wide trip in her promising surface debut. Owning tactical speed and an inside draw, Jeffrey Sanchez should secure better position on the re-ride this afternoon. She has cycled back to top form and figures to her ‘A’ race here.

Victorious Dream (7-2) is a rapidly improving four-year-old who improved to a career equally performance off the David Jacobson claim, who enters her back at a higher grade here, certainly a sign of confidence. She has had sufficient recovery time and is poised for another possible forward move. Any improvement allows her to repeat here and a speed-favoring oval could seal that deal.

Tis Cactus Nellie (4-1) makes her first second start off Michael Maker’s claim, following an effort in which she stumbled badly at the start, effectively losing all chance. But she earned extra points in that performance, finishing willingly in a change-of-pace try in the third start of her career, indicating she might be multi-dimensional.

Four-year-old filly gets a switch to Ramon Dominguez, who’s 3-for-6 riding for this outfit, and did we mention that Maker is a profitable 37 percent efficient second time off the claim? Well, he is.

Taking Tis Cactus Nellie to win at 5-2 or greater, keying her first and second in exactas with her main rivals here, extra ticket with Victorious Dream.

Running Totals: (356) 109-72-47 Total Dollar Return: $768.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I’m Totally Awesome…

Today’s feature, the Get Lucky Stakes for fillies and mares, four year olds an up at a mile and 70 yards is just full of traps.

If there weren’t such a thing as a regression, it would be easy. The “fastest” horse on figures, Awesome Ashley (2-1), would win in a walk. She’s never raced in better form, showed she likes the surface by running a career best figure on it, has speed to set the table up front, breaks from the pole and reunites with Ramon Dominguez.

But every time she’s earned a new lifetime top, she’s regressed, and she returns on relatively short rest. But then three other fillies appear to have regression written all over them.

Furthermore, the fastest fillies in here are long on speed and figure to cancel each other out. Of those, Sherine (8-1), because of the price and coming off a New Pace Top, seems to be worth the risk.

The filly who figures to suit the race’s dynamics, likes the track, and hits hard, is Are We Dreamin but she’s not had a break recently and her form seems to have tailed off a bit. But that’s strictly a guess. And guessing is a full sister to losing.

We’re going to settle on one of the slower members of the group, Awesome I Am (5-2). Her figures are headed in the right direction, her spacing is better than the others, and she owns upside potential as a four year old. She’s done her best racing on this surface, having won 2 of 3 starts. Perhaps these factors will be enough. But I’ll need slightly better odds to wager.

Taking Awesome I Am to win at 3-1 or greater, keying her first and second in exactas with Sherine and Awesome Ashley.

Running Totals: (355) 108-72-47 Total Dollar Return: $760.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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