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.



Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Tricky Ogygian Could Offer Value


An interesting feature to start to racing week, the Ogygian, a $65,000 overnight stakes that will showcase several talented sprinting sophomores at the hybrid distance of 6-½ furlongs. Virtually any of the six entrants can win. We’ll concentrate on half of them.

Cherokee Country (7-2) has something going for him that no other horse has; he’s a specialist, winning both lifetime starts at this difficult distance. Further, his last effort was the best figure on the page. The concerns are that he returns on relatively short rest off a career best try and draws the pole. The good news is that he as the right style, a kick that will help off what promises to be a very solid pace.

Silver Source (5-2) makes his first start for Dick Dutrow, making him the most eligible to improve, as Dutrow is 29% effective with new acquisitions. He’s turning back a half-furlong off the 7-furlong Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream and attracts Edgar Prado. He has tactical speed and can finish.

Sports Town (5-1) offers good value at early line odds, is well drawn outside in a short field, and owns position-speed and kick. He’s been working strongly for several weeks and picks up Garrett Gomez, who’s especially effective with this kind of runner.

Trips very often determines the outcome of a race but no more so than in a small field when many of the horses own a similar style and talented riders are not prone to making mistakes. We’ll opt for position and, hopefully, get good value, too.

Taking Sports Town to win at 3-1 or greater, keying him in exactas and trifectas with Cherokee Country and Silver Source.

Running Totals: (21) 8-6-5 ROI (win selections only): $52.60

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, May 13, 2007


Mom, Put Your Money On Dave


The Mother’s Day feature at Belmont Park is the nine-furlong Kingston Stakes for New York breds on the inner turf course. The race drew it’s customary large, competitive group. We’ve narrowed it down to three principal contenders.

Dave (5-1) makes his season’s debut for Barclay Tagg, adept with returnees off a lengthy layoff. Nicely drawn inside, Dave has tactical and late speed and in John Velazquez a rider who knows how to gain position, work out a beneficial trip from an inside slip, and time the move perfectly. Dave handles the turf course and the distance well.

Certifiably Crazy owns the best performance figures and is a tactical speedster. He likes the Belmont turf course and is versatile at any two-turn distance. The problem for him is that he has a speed horse directly to his inside him and he might be forced to chase the pace at the loss of some ground. In that context, he’s a poor percentage play.

Golden Commander is the early line favorite at 5-2 and just missed in an open class graded stakes, a much tougher test than he faces here. But a short price, a compromising outside post, and returning on short rest is not a sensible percentage play, either. Further, he’s only 1-for-13 on the Belmont turf.

Taking Dave to win at 4-1 or greater, and keying him first and second in exactas with Certifiably Crazy and Golden Commander.

Running Totals: (20) 8-6-4. ROI: $52.60.

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, May 12, 2007


Sing Along With Songster


From a betting perspective, Saturday’s featured Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at 6 furlongs is not very enticing but it does offer a glimpse at a horse that should make run at the sprint title at year’s end, four-year-old Godolphin runner, Songster.

Making his season’s debut for new trainer Saaed bin Suroor, he returns to Belmont Park where he’s 1-for-1 and retains the services of regular rider Edgar Prado. A talented speedster, he proved to be a bit brittle at 3 and the hope is that with maturity comes a new measure of toughness.

Fresh off the 259-day break, he boasts a very sharp breeze for his return and hails from a barn that not only is 35% effective with long-layup types but has the same lofty percentage in graded stakes. Suroor’s figures rise to 39% with horses making their first start for him. Songster will be part of the pace throughout.

If there is a chance to find value, it would be in keeping likely second choice Anew out of the exacta. Steve Asmussen is not known for his overall effectiveness with long absentees and the thinking is the gelding’s real target is the Grade 2 True North on Belmont day.

We’re taking Songster to win with no price restrictions, and will try to complete the exacta with the bounce/rebound candidate, Pavo. There should be sufficient pace on to assist the five-year-old’s late run. He has a history of bouncing back off poor efforts.

[Thursday’s top selection, Hither Lane, was scratched. Winning second choice Council Member was not included in totals recap].

Running Totals (excluding Friday results): (19) 7-5-4. ROI: $49.80.

Written by John Pricci

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