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 02, 2007

To Need One Or Not To Need One, That Is The Question

Since we’ve gotten here, this is the first Saratoga feature race without a name attached to it, but there are some names within the race that should be familiar to racetrack households. Like the returning Shakespeare (8-5), who’s been away from the races since October 2005.

Shakespeare is now under the care of Kairan McLaughlin and he’s been working bullets for his return. But, like the odds, the distance is a little short and the layup a little too long. We’re betting against.

Unfortunately, the only one we’re left with is the 6-5 early line choice, Art Master. He won the G3 Poker at the distance in very fast time last out, has run nearly that fast in the past, so that a bounce is a little less likely. Four of his five lifetime wins from 10 starts have come at this trip. Bobby Frankel’s 29 percent effective with horses trying to repeat recent scores.

Taking Art Master to win at 4-5 or greater, keying him in trifectas over Gun Salute, Gigawatt and Electric Light. Also, cold exacta Art Master with Electric Light.

Running Totals: (71) 33-14-10 Dollar Return: $193.20 [based on win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Money To Be Made In De La Rose

The nominal feature that begins Week 2 at Saratoga is the relatively new De La Rose Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on the inner turf course. The key to the outcome is whether 2-1 early line favorite Roshini draws into the race from the also-eligible list.

She’s talented, classy, hails from top connections and owns the fastest performance figure, but we hope she doesn’t draw in. It’s a much better betting race without her.

We’ll concentrate on four fillies as win possibilities, from the inside, out: A True Pussycat (10-1), Amansara (5-1), Ballet Pacifica (5-2) and Beat the Band (10-1).

A True Pussycat earned an excellent figure two starts back, competitive with this group, then was seriously compromised by a slow pace last time out. The conditions today suit her better, Alan Garcia is riding well even if his business has fallen off at this meet, and the filly is nicely drawn inside.

Amansara earned a figure that’s as good as any of these fillies, Roshini notwithstanding, last year as a three-year-old. With four-year-old maturity and from a barn that‘s profitable with its returning absentees, George Weaver’s, she could easily prove the best of these if set for her best go. An inside post and Edgar Prado can’t hurt. As an absentee, she could provide good value.

Ballet Pacifica has shown promise since shipping across the pond. She’s fast, consistent, is also coming off a turf decline line on the Equiform scale (hungry pace) and figures to move forward. She comes off an especially tough trip and might respond very favorably to the addition of blinkers. Stable rider Julien Leparoux takes the call from Patrick Biancone.

Beat the Band earned the fastest performance figure at Monmouth last time, has excellent early speed, and attracts Ramon Dominguez. Trainer Larry Jones is profitable with his shippers and his turf runners. Last out, the five-year-old was an excellent second to a consistent and talented graded stakes performer.

This race is a tough call but could be worth the trouble. Roshini, an unlikely starter, is the most probable winner but you wouldn’t want less than early line odds to win from a wide post. We’ll take Amansara to win at 5-1 or greater and take her in all trifecta positions with the other three (or four) fillies. Additionally, we would use Rich Fantasy (15-1), third on trifecta tickets.

Running Totals: (70) 33-13-10 Dollar Return: $193.20

Written by John Pricci

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Most Distinguished Most Probable Winner

Interesting feature to conclude the first week of Saratoga 139, the 15th running of the Grade 2 Amsterdam for three-year-old colts. What makes it really interesting is the lack of form among most of the participants at the 6-½-furlong distance.

But there are some fast horses on board and we’ll concentrate on the three outside horses: Americanus (5-2), Most Distinguished (2-1) and Forty Grams (12-1).

Americanus has improved markedly since the Gary Contessa claim. After just missing behind Grand Champion, he destroyed three rivals going seven-eighths on June 23rd, improving his lifetime slate to (7) 4-2-0. This hybrid distance is for specialists that can handle it. The closest dynamic to it is seven furlongs, meaning he should like the ground.

Most Distinguished did just that with his first rate placing behind the battle tested Teuflesberg in the G2 Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The spacing is good here and the Dixie Union colt comes off a best of 59 half-mile on the Oklahoma training track of :46 4/5. He has the speed to lay close and the kick to get home. The early line favorite looms the most likely winner. Rafael Bejarano rides for Nick Zito.

Forty Grams seems a most generous 12-1. Highly competitive in graded stakes while on the Derby Trail this spring, he returns freshened by Steve Asmussen and has worked purposefully for his Saratoga debut. The distance might suit this colt perfectly and Edgar Prado gets the call for the first time. Given the turnback into a sprint, he’ll be running late.

Taking Most Distinguished to win at 8-5 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with Americanus and Forty Grams.

Running Totals: (69) 32-13-10 Dollar Return: $186.80

Written by John Pricci

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