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, October 19, 2007

A Filly That Ellen Degeneris Would Love

Today’s feature is an overnight stakes at seven furlongs for fillies and mares four year olds and up, the Storm Flag Flying. Half of this six-horse group could easily win it; from the inside, out: Baby Bird (9-5), Pussycat Doll (5-2) and Swap Fliperoo (9-2).

The early line favorite’s next loss at Belmont Park will be her first. Not many horses win four straight on any track but that’s what this Rick Dutrow trained filly has done. She’s accomplished all this at slightly longer distance, obviously gets along well with Cornelio Velasquez and has enough tactical speed to lay close up. But despite turning back in distance, that could nullify her stretch punch some. At least that’s what we’re hoping, at projected short odds. She will be a tough out, obviously.

If the good Pussycat Doll shows up, the rest are running for place money. Her figures at seven furlongs against better rivals earlier this season dwarfs the competition here but she’s one of the few Bob Baffert horses that hasn’t won since shipping East. But in her latest she showed signs of getting back into best form; chasing the pace at 6-˝ furlongs and staying fairly well. She should stalk from close range once again and do it more comfortably. She really gets along with Garrett Gomez, who gets back on the filly here after a short absence.

Swap Fliperoo is the quintessential turn-back for Allen Jerkens. She really acts best as a middle-distance sprinter and seven furlongs is perfect for her on best according to her performance figures. Jean-Luc Samyn takes the mount and the veteran still knows when to time his late run. Besides, it’s “the Chief,” right?

Taking the little value available on Pussycat Doll at 2-1 or greater, keying her in exacta boxes with the other two mares.

Running Totals: (123) 43-28-13. Dollar Return: $256.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Speed Is Always Dangerous

We’re back on the grass for the Belmont Park feature, the Awad Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and three eighths on the inner turf course. Obviously, the ability to get the entire 11 furlongs is the question.

Of the nine entered for grass, we’ll take a look at three. From the inside, out, they are True Cause (3-1), Tricky Causeway (8-1) and Encinas (5-1).

True Cause comes from the mother of all key races. Eight horses raced back from the Sept. 8 turf route at Delaware Park and no less than half won their next start. True Cause won that key race and did so despite extremely slow fractions. With a well timed run from Johnny Velazquez, the six week layup should have the bin Suroor trainee set for his best go.

Tricky Causeway is the controlling speed, has gotten this distance on the lead before, and hails from the Jimmy Jerkens shed, an outfit that has won with four of its last 12 starters. Norberto Arroyo Jr. is back in excellent form, too, being recently returned from an injury. Aggressive and strong, this horse could take a lot of catching.

Encinas returns for a barn, Kiaran McLaughlin’s, that a profitable 23 percent efficient with horses returning from layups of over 90 days. An 11-furlong specialist, Encinas has won twice at today’s distance and has been toughened in much better company than he’s in here. Burgeoning talent Alan Garcia takes the mount for one of his main patrons. Normally a rallier, his freshness might find him closer to the anticipated hungry pace here.

Taking price shot Tricky Causeway to win at 6-1 or greater and an exacta box of all listed contenders.

Running Totals: (121) 42-28-13. Dollar Return: $244.50 [win selections only] {Wednesday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Win Streak to Continue for Finger Lakes Speedster

Today’s feature, surprisingly, is on the dirt! Even though this state-bred “non-winners of 2 other/than, optional claiming $30,000 only drew eight horses, it’s a very competitive sprint. We’ll concentrate of three major contenders, from the inside, out: Sly Diamond Jim (5-1), Smash “Em Sammy (2-1) and Whistlin’ (7-2).

Sly Diamond Jim ships down from Finger Lakes because, frankly, since he entered the Englehart shed, he’s run through all his conditions and is entered here for the $30,000 tag, the only way he could start.

He ships down looking for his seventh straight victory. He owns excellent performance figures, can sit behind off what is expected to be a very hotly contested pace, has never been worse than second in three starts over the track and attracts Mike Luzzi, who’s ridden him before. He is good value at early line odds.

Smash ’Em Sammy hails from the Scott Schwartz barn, an outfit winning at a worthy 25 percent rate the last few months. He has good, consistent and competitive figures, fit’s the race shape very well as an off the pace runner and attracts Javier Castellano, riding in top form once again. His outside draw suits perfectly.

Whistlin’ loves Belmont Park, owing to the fact his best figure was earned on this surface, at this distance. Making his second start off a long layup, he’s fresh once again and has been training purposefully for the prolific Gary Contessa. Eibar Coa will suit the speed 4-year-old perfectly and should take advantage of his outer position to work out a stalking trip.

This will be as much a rider’s race as anything else.

We’re taking the value on Sly Diamond Jim to win at 7-2 or more and keying him first and second in exactas with the other two contenders.

Running Totals: (121) 42-28-13. Dollar Return: $244.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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