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, April 27, 2008

Pays to Play Pays To Dream

The final feature race of the Aqueduct spring meet comes none to soon. It’s a good and interesting one, the Grade 3 Fort Marcy for 4-year-olds and up going a mile and a sixteenth on the Aqueduct turf.

It offers an interesting blend of returnees making seasonal debuts and horses making their second and third starts off layoffs from top outfits. It figures to be a good and open betting race.

We’re keeping it simple, taking one of the returnees that figure to be primed for this. Otherwise, why would David Donk bring back Pays To Dream (5-1) on a course over which he’s 2-for-2 on the last day of the meet? Another rival is 0-for-2 on the Aqueduct green; none of the others have experience on it.

Pays To Dream has a strong late kick and returns in a spot with sufficient pace for his needs. Trainer Donk is winning at a near 24 percent rate over the past three months and a profitable 22 percent with horses returning from layups of 90 days or more. The newly turned 4-year-old gelding has maturity upside and developed with seasoning throughout his 3-year-old campaign.

Taking Pays To Dream to win and place at early line odds of 5-1 or better.

Running Totals: (200) 65-43-22. Total Dollar Return: $405.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Featured Beaugay Up for Ransom

Not one but two features today, and after seeing how short the field was for the Grade 3 Withers, I figure I’d analyze the G3 Beaugay instead. I was right. The Withers drew only four horses. The Beaugay was bigger, it drew five! Too bad the sexes, surfaces and distance was different. That would have made for a nice nine-horse field.

In the Withers, it will be Bay Shore winner J Be K against the horses. With a 50 percent chance of showers Friday night and Saturday and the promise of a at least a damp surface, J Be K’s speed will be hard to run down. But if anyone can, Harlem Rocker is an intriguing prospect. Two-for-two in career, his last was a fast reversal of energy with a competitive figure. Meanwhile, his uncoupled Todd Pletcher mate, Face The Cat, is much better than he showed in Florida Derby. And J Be K is no Big Brown.

The Beaugay should be least effected by damp/wet conditions and it’s extremely doubtful the race comes off the turf. Three of the five can win: Sweet Ransom (3-1), Factual Contender (4-1) and Criminologist (9-5).

The latter two fillies are the most accomplished. Criminologist is a dual G3 winner and was an excellent second in her season’s debut at Keeneland; a too late-finishing second on yielding ground at a mile. That’s a tough go, moreover, she’s always been better in her second start following a layoff.

Factual Contender won four restricted/overnight stakes in a busy campaign and earns the highest figures of the group consistently. Barclay Tagg has had her in training since February and she’s highly unlikely to be a short filly for today’s race. Eibar Coa, who rides today, was aboard for all four of those aforementioned wins.

But Sweet Ransom has the most upside as a newly turned four-year-old. She was a fast-closing second in the G3 Frances “You’ve Won the Derby” Genter going 7-½ furlongs at Calder--not the easiest trip for any later runner. She owns enough tactical speed to track lone speedster, draws the pole, switches to big-money turf ace Edgar Prado, and Bill Mott is a 24 percent profitable with returnees of 90 days or more. Her two lone wins and one placing have come from four starts at today’s distance.

Taking Sweet Ransom to win at 5-2 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas with her main rivals here.

Running Totals: (199) 65-43-22. Total Dollar Return: $405.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, April 25, 2008

Race Shape Suits Run With Me

Today’s puzzle looks best served by taking a page out of the Handicapping 101 Handbook. Two horses, or more, could hook up in an early duel while another, turning back in distance from seven furlongs to six and having some late punch should come on to beat everyone. But that’s if Run With Me (3-1) runs back to his last race.

True Quality (2-1) was much improved to break his maiden--his main track debut--by open lengths. Speed riding C. C. Lopez hustled the third-time starter away from the barrier to secure a clear lead and was never threatened. It was a lifetime best effort but returns on a short 19-day rest.

August Rex (5-2) recovered from a roughed start, stalked a strong pace, and won prolonged stretch duel to win his debut, also earning an excellent figure. He, too, is susceptible to react, however, but he’s had five weeks recovery and has worked twice subsequently. And all the Levine barn has been doing in win of late. Rajiv Maragh retains the mount.

Maragh has been the regular rider of Run With Me but opts off today in favor of the Levine trainee. Does that mean August Rex is better, or that Levine has a stronger barn at the moment than the capable, low profile Tim Ritvo. Run With Me’s last effort was also a lifetime best and he’s back on a short 19-day turnaround here.

But the thinking is that Stewart Elliott will work out a stalking trip behind the speed and the shorter distance should help his closing kick. His figure last time out was so good that he can react adversely and still handle this group. He’s very likely to be fair odds.

Taking Run With Me to win at 5-2 or greater and keying him in exacta boxes with his two speedy rivals here.

Running Totals: (199) 65-43-22. Total Dollar Return $405.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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