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, October 14, 2007

Johnny V. to Complete Sweep of Weekend Turf Features

Today’s feature, the Chelsey Flower, is for fillies and mares three-years-old and up that have not won a feature this year. They’re going nine furlong on the inner turf course that was listed yielding yesterday an should be upgraded Sunday with no further precipitation expected.

This one’s wide open in that five of the eight entrants are within a few lengths of each other on performance figures. Race shape and trips will be a real key here and with mostly top outfits and riders in the race, there’s no real edge to be taken. We’ll look at two of the five: Lady Renaissance (5-1) and My Rachel (7-2).

Lady Renaissance is most likely to offer value since she’s not as fast as most of these but she has the most upside as a four-year-old, if a fresh filly and could not be in better hands with Christophe Clement and Garrett Gomez. She owns a win at today’s trip, an advantage over some of her main rivals and will benefit from her last as she was compromised by the softest pace of her career. She likely will be in good position given her freshness and relatively paceless conditions.

My Rachel has never been the distance but should handle it well for Todd and Johnny returning in six weeks with steady recent works. She earned good figures at both eight and 11 furlongs, has done so on this course, where she owns and win and placing in three attempts. She has a bit more tactical speed than her main rival but obviously has had some issues being a relatively lightly raced five year-old. But she’s going well now and figures to be at the top of her game which would be enough here.

Taking My Rachel with some reservations and would need 3-1 or more to play in earnest. Making exacta key boxes with My Rachel and Miracle Moment, by definition the fastest horse in here.

Running Totals: (120) 42-28-13. Dollar Return: $244.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Criminologist in Athenia Upset

Today’s feature is the Grade 3 Athenia Handicap for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, at a mile and a sixteenth on the Widener Course.

Dance Away Capote is the 8-5 early line favorite off her tour de force score in the G3 Noble Damsel at a mile. There are several reasons to think she won’t repeat that superb effort. First, she has bounced off every previous lifetime top; her last was her fastest figure ever. Second, she returns on relatively short rest, 28 days, and stretches out another sixteenth. But she’s worked well since, is 2-for-2 on Belmont grass and you haven’t been able to beat Barclay Tagg with a stick of late. She’s the worthy favorite.

Criminologist (2-1) has a lot going for her, too. She is a remarkable 3-for-4 at today’s distance and has been clearly pointed toward this off a six week freshening. With not a lot of early speed signed on here, her tactical speed greatly enhance her chances and there aren’t many better than Johnny Velazquez at working out perfect trips in pace-less turf events. He’ll get that chance here.

Taking Criminologist to win at early line odds of 2-1 or greater, and an exacta box with Dance Away Capote.

Running Totals: (119) 41-28-13. Dollar Return: $238.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Dorm Fever Hot Horse in Belmont Feature

Today’s feature is a non grass event. That’s no typo. It’s the listed Life’s Magic Stakes for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs. Sadly, it looks like it will come down to a battle of the two early line choices: Dorm Fever (3-1) and City Bird (7-2).

Dorm Fever found herself on the lead--not her game--in the recent Grade 1 Gazelle at a mile. Understandably, she tired after being pressured throughout. But today she turns back to a distance at which she’s 1-for-1, an excellent figure score over this surface on a wet surface, conditions that might prevail today. Eddie Castro takes the call for Jimmy Jerkens, who’s 28 percent effective when going from sprint to route to sprint, as is Dorm Fever today.

The connections for City Bird couldn’t be an more high profile; a Frank Stronach owned filly trained b Dick Dutrow. That’s what not makes her a formidable rival here. It’s her performance figure going 6-˝ furlongs at Saratoga two starts back, the best in the race. The hybrid distance isn’t quite 7/8s, but the dynamics are very similar. Dutrow’s horses are also very effective turning back--27 percent--and her spacing, 31 days, looks perfect.

But we’ll take the class tested Dorm Fever to win at 5-2 or more and an exacta box with City Bird.

Running Totals: (118) 41-27-13. Running Totals: $238.30 [win selections only] {Thursday’s feature race was cancelled}

Written by John Pricci

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