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, December 18, 2008

A Favorite You Can’t Refuse

Hard to delineate which was a true feature at Tampa today, so we opted for the ninth race, a turf event, which generally is always a crowd pleaser. The bad news, however, is that the early line favorite is going to be a real tough out.

Celine (5-2) heads this limit field for 3 & up going a mile which, even at this two-turn distance, features a fairly lengthy run to the first turn. Two others of interest are Chic Cat (8-1) and Superfine Time (15-1).

Celine simply is the fastest horse on the Equiform scale, and earns those superior figures with laudable consistency. She loves the game, having won half of her eight starts, is 3-for-3 going a mile, has proper spacing, and comes from a barn with a worthy ship in percentage. Trainer Leigh Offutt is profitable in those last two categories. The rail, pace scenario and Daniel Centeno only add to this fillies favorable scenario.

Chic Cat is working brilliantly for her return to this circuit for the Allen boys who’ve been doing excellent work together, batting 23 percent these last two months. Dropping a notch and returning in this two-month time-frame is a profitable scenario for the barn. But aside from the inviting price, Chic Cat earned her best figure going a mile on this course, today’s precise conditions.

Superfine Time is coming into this off a turf-low pattern and returns to her optimal distance, given her best figure was earned going eight furlongs on grass. In addition to the best late kick in this group, ’Superfine’ gets a switch to turf ace Carlos Montalvo. As is the case with Chic Cat, she’d be worth a token wager at anything approaching early line odds.

Taking Celine to win at 7-5 or greater, boxing her in exactas with both fillies mentioned here, an extra ticket with the favorite in the top slot.

Running Totals: (328) 98-68-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Man Does Not Live by Aqueduct Alone

With Aqueduct closed until Dec. 26, we will concentrate on one of the more popular simulcast signals in the country, that from Tampa Bay Downs. On days when Tampa is unavailable, we’ll look at either Calder or Fair Grounds as an alternative until New York is back on line.

Today’s feature race at Tampa Bay Downs, the ninth, is intriguing. Four of the nine entered have a good chance to score--and that estimate might be conservative. We’ll take a brief look at McLovin (8-1), Chief Talkeetna (4-1), Mr. Flatter (7-2) and Greeley’s Voice (2-1).

Classifying this group is a challenge. How good, for instance, is McLovin, having won a pair restricted claimers at Finger Lakes--his last a non-winners of three in life. He earned excellent figures in those wins and trainer James Wright is dealing a hot hand, 25 percent efficient in the last few months.

Hard knowing what to do with Chief Talkeetna on a different level. He won three fast races after being claimed by Wesley Ward--the last two dropping significantly in class--where he was again claimed. Will $5,000 be a bargain price, or the cost of damaged goods? This 4-year-old gelding is extremely fast and versatile.

Mr. Flatter return from a layup for a top return outfit. Trainer Freddie Hyatt is highly profitable returning from layoffs of greater than 90 days, he has upside potential as a 3-year-old and his early season figures indicate he can compete on figures here given the added maturity. He loves the surface and retains his regular partner.

Greeley’s Voice is likely to get the best trip, stalking outside at this hybrid distance which should augur well. Like Chief Talkeetna, he’s worked brilliantly for this.

Taking whatever value is offered on Mr. Flatter to win at 3-1 or greater, boxing him in the exacta with Greeley's Voice, and keying him first and second in trifectas with all main rivals listed here.

Running Totals: (327) 98-67-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weathering a Quick Turnaround

Clearly the Ladies Handicap has fallen on hard times. First it lost its grade and next year it is discontinued. The hits just keep coming; meanwhile a look at the 10-furlong feature for fillies and mares 3 & up.

The post time favorite is nearly certain to be Sweet Goodbye (5-2), shipping in looking to extend her winning streak to six. She has excellent early speed, can carry it, and has enough pedigree to stretch out to a mile and quarter. Trainer Christopher Gove has compiled a fine record in non-graded stakes. Regular rider JD Acosta is up from Maryland for the ride.

An interesting filly is surface lover Runway Rosie, a four-year-old who’s won half her six starts on this ground with two seconds. Of greater significance is that her best performance figures were earned over it as well. Rajiv Maragh, on a tear of late, is her steady partner and she has won when fresh. The problem might be that the layup is not a particular strength of the Contessa. It might be worth finding out at anything near early line odds.

But we’re going back to Weathered (3-1), even if she returns on only one day rest. That’s no typo: one day rest. It’s been done successfully before. A horse named No Bias did it back in the 80s. She has tactical speed, is rugged as they come, has a two sided pedigree for the added ground and trainer Karl Grusmark is a worthy 2-for-11 with horses returning on less than five days rest. Given these conditions, she’s not the kind of horse that figures to get an overwhelming amount of mutuel support.

Taking Weathered to win at 3-1 or greater and boxing her first and second in exactas with her rivals here.

Running Totals: (327) 98-67-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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