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, May 08, 2008

Turf Pace in Decline but Things Looking Up for Namaste’s Wish

Today’s feature is an interesting one, the Gaviola for three-year-old turf fillies going a mile and a sixteenth on the on the Widener turf course. Yesterday, the Irish rail was not used but today’s forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms. The selections are for turf only.

We’re making it a two horse event between I Lost My Choo and Namaste’s Wish (4-1). The good news is that value might be available here.

The bad news is that I Love My Choo is a deserving favorite. Three for three on grass, she tried the Grade 3 Appalachian last time out at Keeneland and just missed in a grudging loss after chasing the pace throughout while rank, a tough trip to say the least. Two for two at the distance, nicely drawn, and with Prado, she’ll be a tough out.

Namaste’s Wish, winner of the Miss Grillo at two in her only start on this course, she raced extremely wide behind the choice in her season’s debut. In addition to the wide trip, she was hindered by a very slow pace. Given the conditioning gained, she has a chance to break through her two-year-old top effort, which is faster than these have run this year, with the exception of the favorite.

Taking Namaste’s Wish to win at 3-1 or greater and an exacta box with the likely favorite.

Running Totals: (203) 66-43-23. Total Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Get Me to the Finish Line on Time

Today’s Belmont feature is the Screenland Stakes for New York bred males going six and a half furlongs. There is a good amount of New York bred sprinting talent in this short field but it will take a Herculean effort to be favored Groomedforvictory (6-5).

The Barclay Tagg trainee, by definition the fastest horse in the race on performance figures by a significant margin, exploded in his Gulfstream finale with the removal of blinkers going a mile. His turn-back figures are first rate, he owns tactical ability and has been working bullets since returning to his Belmont Park base. Regular rider Javier Castellano is in the boot.

Fort Drum (7-2) is removing blinkers following a win, which should not be allowed, but perhaps it’s owning to his continued problems leaving the starting gate might have something to do with that. He won in his first start for Gary Contessa and Eibar Coa rides him back. He’s turning back from 7 furlongs to 6-½, is stakes tough and owns a win at Belmont.

Be Bullish (5-1) looks like an open class sprinter on his best day. He’s won on and from well off the early pace, has a win over the surface and a most worthy 3-for-7 slate and goes postward with regular rider C.C. Lopez, the veteran riding at a profitable 19 percent rate in 2008. He might fall between the wagering cracks here.

Taking Groomedforvictory to win, no price restrictions, keying him first and second in exactas with his main rivals here, extra tickets with Groomedforvictory first.

Running Totals: (202) 65-43-23. Total Dollar Return: $405.60 [win wagers only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

“Matt” Just Might Run Like a Two-Year-Old for Levine


Today’s feature sprint is very interesting, which is to say difficult. Two classy horses are returning off extended layups, several are aged old pros, while others are returning first time for the outfits that traditionally dominate this kind of event.

The most likely suspects among them and the Rick Dutrow coupling of Strummer and Unrequited (5-2), Starforaday (4-1), and the old pro My Cousin Matt (9-2).

The 9-year-old former stakes winner, “Matt” makes his debut for the Levine barn, a profitable 28 percent effective with new acquisitions. Nicely freshened by the new connections, he likely was reserved for this meet, having compiled a 3-for-7 record over big sandy. Always versatile, he can stalk from close range or kick from off the pace. His style, and the presence of Eibar Coa, fits today’s dynamic nicely.

Strummer returns to Belmont (2-for-9) after winning his first start for Dutrow, a nifty 30 percent with repeaters. That 5-½ furlong event can only sharpen his speed for this, meaning he could repeat but certainly help set the table for his late-running mate. Unrequited is also looking to repeat. However his last start was 354 days ago. But he has won fresh in his career and Dutrow is 24 percent effective with returnees off layups of 90 days or more.

Starforaday, going first time for Gary Contessa, a profitable 25 percent with new acquisitions. The 5-year-old is returning from a 197-day layoff after receiving a “pulled up lame” comment in his final start before today. That effort came in a Keeneland allowances after beating optional claimers at Saratoga in a lifetime best performance. Note that he returns under the allowance conditions here and is not up for sale, even though the “lame” comment can be a way to big profits when winning trainers get their horses right. Don’t believe Contessa capable of embarrassing himself if he didn’t think his horse was fit and ready.

Taking My Cousin Matt to win at 7-2 or more and keying him in exactas first and second with his main rivals here. Trifecta players add El Bandito Rojo (4-1) to your mix.

Running Totals: (201) 65-43-22. Total Dollar Return: $405.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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