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.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Can’t Avoid Dearly Precious Favorite

Today’s feature has attracted an interesting field of three-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs. Unfortunately, it’s not a very compelling betting race.

Hard as we try, it’s very difficult to get past the favorite and likely second choice. Sherine (9-5) is the most accomplished of the group, while Armonk (4-1) is extremely sharp. Something’s got to give here.

Sherine deserves the favorite’s role. She’s won half her six lifetime starts, performs well going long, short, on dirt and on turf. She’s 1-for-1 on the winter surface and at today’s distance. She’s not as attractive as Armonk as a betting proposition but she has more versatility and conditioning, an advantage here.

Armonk is very quick, loves this surface, as her 2-for-2 mark suggests, but she appears to be one dimensional and there are others with speed to test her here. With showers predicted for the afternoon, a wet track figures to help her rivals here. But if you run with her, you’re likely doing it at your peril.

Taking Sherine to win, no price restrictions, and exacta key boxes first and second with Armonk and either half of the Gary Contessa entry, both making their first starts for the meet’s leading outfit.

Running Totals: (175) 62-37-19. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Take Anthony Over Rick in Hollie Hughes

Today’s feature, named for the legendary local horseman who trained well into advanced age, Hollie Hughes, has attracted a well matched field of talented state-bred sprinters. Ultimately, however, it will come down to the brother Dutrow, Anthony and Rick.

Wind up Premium Wine (5-2) and he runs a good race. Nine starts, five wins with three placings attests to that. But Anthony’s horse has several other advantages of his brother Rick’s Stormin Normandy.

Premium Wine has been a paragon of consistency based on his performance figures, clearly faster than other rivals not named Stormin Normandy. With all the speed signed on here, his come-from-behind fit’s the shape perfectly, he’s 48 days fresh, and attracts leading rider Ramon Dominguez. He’ll be a tough out.

But if there’s a rival that can race on the pace and keep going, it’s ‘Stormin’. One for one on this track, he takes a four-race win streak into this, including a victory in the state-bred Hudson at Belmont Park last fall. In fact, he’s never lost since moving into Rick Dutrow’s shed. The capable stable rider Rudy Rodriguez, who rode him in his prep for this, takes the re-ride. We’ll stick to the script here.

Taking Premium Wine to win, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Stormin Normandy. Also keying Premium Wine first and second in trifectas with Stormin Normandy and the very sharp Whistlin' (4-1) second and third.

Running Totals: (175) 62-37-19. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

An interesting feature even though on the surface it’s a starter allowances for claiming types: “Which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 from 2005-2008.” 2005? Yep.

We think it will come down to the two fastest horses on performance figures: Lemons Of Love (3-1) and Callmetony (5-2).

Lemons Of Love has not raced on the local circuit since this time last year. In fact, he’s been on the board in all winter track starts, including a win, and apparently he’s the one that requires handicappers to go well back to find the race that qualifies him for entry here. Making his second start off a freshening, he hasn’t run this cheaply since Dec. ‘06, at least. Consistently faster than this group recently, he’s be coming late under one of the hottest riders in New York, C.C. Lopez, who boasts a (15) 5-3-1 slate in the last week of racing here. The rail post is 22% effective at this meet.

Callmetony should get a good stalking trip if he can break sharply beneath Alan Garcia. He showed improved early speed last out and has the kind of back-figures that easily could contend here. The trick is that fast start, as he’s poisoned in the gate between two sharp speedsters. A tardy break might eliminate the Bruce Levine trainee. His most recent win--actually a three-race win streak--was accomplished while racing at this level. Clearly, he drops into a likely spot.

Taking the little value offered on Lemons Of Love top win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box first and second with Callmetony and Hesogoodwithmoney (6-1).

Running Totals: (174) 62-37-19. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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