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 07, 2008

When All Else Fails, Jump

Today’s feature goes as the first race, and if you want to pass, feel free. But I like steeplechasing because it’s different, it’s fun and it’s formful. I once conducted a five-year study of results and found, to my amazement, that favorites won at a 50 percent rate. Extraordinary when you consider that horses leave the ground.

As with any race being conducted on a turf surface, those that have distinguished themselves along class lines often have their pictures taken. And so it is with jumpers. The bad news is that this group in particular is very hard to classify, coming from all over the map to compete. The two “best horses” in today’s Grade 2 A.P. Smithwick, the traditional prep for the G1 New York Turf Writers’ at meet’s end are last year’s winner, Mixed Up (3-1) and talented flat runner Salford City (7-2).

We’re betting on the latter. On the flat in his history are turf efforts in which he earned excellent performance figures. Now running isn’t jumping but Salford City has won while chasing in Ireland. He gets an American makeover today, adding Lasix and blinkers. He gets the respect of the handicapper Bill Gallo at 154 pounds, four pounds less than highweight Mixed Up.

Taking Salford City to win at 3-1 or greater, exacta box with Jonathan Sheppard’s Mixed Up.

Running Totals: (247) 77-51-28. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Shot From Guns

Don’t know how to try to beat today’s favorite in the NY Stallion Stakes on turf at a mile and a sixteenth. Cannonball (8-5) enjoys such a huge class edge. The state-bred has beaten open company rivals, is graded stakes placed and, of course, has impressed against his own kind.

After winning the Pebo Guy at Belmont Park, Cannonball shipped out and ran in a division of the Oceanside, the opening day stakes at Del Mar. In the one mile event, he drew the extreme outside in a field of 10. Game over. Saving ground at some point on that tight course is mandatory. But now he’s back home, is nicely drawn inside, and reunites with leading rider Johnny Velazquez, aboard for the Pebo Guy victory.

Horses of interest are second choice Doc N Roll (5-2) and price shots Key Victory (10-1 and Express To Thewest (20-1). While his trip might not have been as impossible as the favorite’s at Del Mar, Doc N Roll was checked and steadied all over the lot, finished fourth, beaten only a length, then subsequently was placed third. With tactical speed and a good draw, he can get the jump on the favorite. Eibar Coa gets the re-ride.

Key Victory is not as quick as his rivals here but his performance-figure line is forward looking, he has a versatile running style, the pole, and gets a favorable switch to Cornelio Velasquez. If the rider elects, Key Victory can prove the speed of the speed. Express To Thewest comes off a delayed pace low and appears poised for a peak effort. Good odds seems assured.

Taking Cannonball to win, no odds restrictions, and trifecta key boxes using him first and second with his rivals here, extra ticket with the choice first.

Running Totals: (246) 77-51-27. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Monday, August 04, 2008

Hall of Famers Top Hall of Fame Stakes

Well, if today is Racing Hall of Fame and Museum induction day, that means Bill Mott will win the stakes of the same name later in the afternoon. Today he will saddle early line favorite Adriano (5-2), after having taken over the three-year-old’s training prior to his last start.

And that start, the Grade 3 Colonial Turf Cup was contested over soft ground on a deep and cutting course, conditions which were new to the colt. He didn’t handle it very well, racing evenly throughout while chasing the pace from the outside.

Prior to that it was the G1 Kentucky Derby because he had run so well at 9 furlongs on the Polytrack at Turfway. He didn’t make that transition either but is now back where he belongs under suitable conditions over rivals he matches up with well. Edgar Prado, who will be inducted into the pantheon earlier, takes the re-ride.

After that the competition opens up, what with undefeated Deal Making (7-2), Willsboro Point (4-1), 2-for-2 at today’s nine-furlong distance, and the rapidly improving Field Sport (8-1) all in with an upset chance. Each has performance figures that are forward looking, all coming off healthy patterns.

But Adriano figures to get back on track here and return to his excellent spring form. Taking him to win at 8-5 or greater, keying him first and second in trifectas with his three main rivals here.

Running Totals: (245) 77-51-27. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only] {Sunday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci


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