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.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Same Story, Different Day

Everyone loves turf races, especially when they draw good-sized fields, but six straight turf feature races this week? A bit much, don’t you think?

Anyway, today’s is a preliminary allowances at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf and there isn’t a whole lot of speed signed on. I’m thinking Thou Swell on the class drop will be forwardly placed as he’s drawn favorably, inside/mid-pack, and at 8-1 early line is inviting.

The consistently fastest on the Equiform scale is Big Jerome (3-1) and he has enough tactical speed to stalk comfortably outside. But from the 8 post and with Javier Castellano, that’s as wide as you can get. If he were drawn inside, the decision would be easy but he’s not.

Baletti (9-2), meanwhile, has his moments. He’s not tactical, but the rail post with that little bend into the back-straight at this distance and the lack of blazing speed might just give him enough position. The switch to Rajiv Maragh augurs well and he won yesterday’s feature riding for Angel Penna Jr., who tightens the girth on Baletti. If we can get his two-back race, he could win this at fair odds.

Taking Baletti to win at 7-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (293) 88-61-35 Total Dollar Return: $585.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Diamond in the Rough

Today’s feature is the listed Xtra Heat Stakes for fillies and mares, 3 & up on the inner turf course at six furlongs. Talented group of turf sprinters headed by Diamondrella (7-2), Mohegan Sky (3-1) and Smart And Fancy (7-2).

On performances figures, the latter is fastest, consistently and by a considerable margin. The bad news is that most of those efforts were at shorter distances and she should high weight of 121 pounds from an outside post. Not easy.

Mohegan Sky returns fresh for Linda Rice as part of an uncoupled entry. The last time this filly raced fresh, she won, and she’s been training purposefully for her return. She loves Belmont grass, first or second in five of eight starts, including two wins at the distance. Javier Castellano fits her wide late-rally style.

But Angel Penna Jr. has returned with a vengeance this year and is profitable for a career in all relevant categories. The one that stands out is that he is a very worthy 47 percent efficient with repeaters. And Diamondrella is seeking her fourth straight score. She worked well since her latest and Rajiv Maragh rides her like he owns her. A repeat of her most recent effort wins this contentious sprint.

Taking Diamondrella to win at 5-2 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas and trifectas.

Running Totals: (292) 87-61-35 Total Dollar Return: $578.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shug Likely to Continue Roll

And yet another turf feature, only this one has a name, the Athenia, a Grade 3 for fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth on the Widener course. As usual at this time of year, it’s all about the ground, and it’s always about the trip. The bad news is that all this points to the favorite, Criminologist (6-5).

The form in the rest of the field is spotty. Of the in-form group, most of them are either long on early speed or become rank when not given their head. This plays to Criminologist’s strength. Further, she is drawn inside, the anticipated slower pace due to the course will have her in better position early. Who better at working out an inside-out turf trip than Edgar Prado?

Taking Criminologist to win at even money or greater, boxing her in the exacta with Waquoit’s Love (9-2), pacesetting runnerup to the Phipps filly last out. Not the most interesting feature this week.

Running Totals: (291) 87-61-34 Total Dollar Return: $578.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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