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.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Youthful Exuberance vs. Professional Veteran

Evening Attire, arguably the most popular horse stabled in New York, is the logical favorite in todayís Aqueduct Handicap at 1-1/16 miles for older horses. The hard-trying war horse will be a tough out, per usual, but probably is worth trying to beat given his expected short odds.

Letís look at two others in addition to the sentimental favorite, Pink Vipor and Angliana, the horses that jockey Alan Garcia get off and get on, respectively.

Thereís no argument that the 10-year-old Evening Attire, winner of the Queens County Handicap over the winter track in December returns at a distance a little short of his best, but the remarkable old pro worked three times since the Queens County, including a bullet half-mile in :47 4/5 termed breezing. Clearly, he loves his job. The challenge today is the anticipated soft pace.

That scenario fits Pink Vipor very well. A horse with tactical speed that can kick on, he draws the pole position with the underrated Rajiv Maragh and figures to get an excellent trip. The colt never has been as good as he is right now, given recent performance figures, and as a newly turned four-year-old, thereís still some upside here.

Angliana, meanwhile, the horse Garcia gets on, is making his second start following a long layup. He is back classy, very fast, and hails from the top Kairan McLaughlin shed. He has every reason to move forward from his latest although, curiously, second start following a long layoff has not been one of this barnís strength. The thing about Garciaís decision is that you canít be sure heís choosing the horse or the outfit. We shall see.

Taking the value offered on the sharp, developing Pink Vipor at 8-1 or greater, and exacta key boxes first and second with Evening Attire and Angliana.

Running Totals: (165) 60-35-18. Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Go Long in Big A Feature

Todayís feature is another of those short-field competitive sprints where strategy and luck often make the difference. This secondary allowances/$50,000 optional claiming event drew seven, including an entry.

Weíll look at four, from the inside, out: Samsincharge (20-1), Rite Moment (8-5), Littletown Bridge (3-1) and Sky Island (7-2).

Samsincharge is an intriguing price play. Making her second start off a lengthy layup and dropping one solid level, half of her six lifetime victories have come over this surface and, of greater significance, upon which she earned a lifetime best performance figure, among the fastest in the field. She has worked twice since her return and her latest move was excellent. Speed and the rail (24% this meet) doesnít hurt. Carol Cedeno is more than capable here.

Rite Moment earned a competitive figure winning her winter track/Gary Contessa debut but more significantly never has taken a backward step figure-wise. The problem is that her lifetime best effort came over a sloppy surface and she returns on relatively short rest, 17 days. But Contessa is, after all, a winter juggernaut.

Littletown Bridge is making her third start off a layup, a good percentage play for Kairan McLaughlin and is turning back from a route, a profitable barn scenario. The last time this filly went from long to short, her figure improved. Why not again? She must improve, however, if the others bring their A game.

Sky Island looks explosive in here having gotten back to her lifetime top last out. She worked very strongly for this since her recent rough-trip third, moves outside and benefits from a switch to Alan Garcia. She is part of a Tony Dutrow-trained entry.

In honor of the impending NFL conference championships, weíre throwing deep. Take Samsincharge to win at 15-1 or greater, and key her in all trifecta positions with Rite Moment, Littletown Bridge and Sky Island.

Running Totals: (165) 60-35-18. Total Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only] {excludes Thursdayís results}

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Bargain Despite Short Price

Todayís feature is a secondary allowances/optional claiming for older sprinters going three-quarters of a mile. Itís a closely matched group of eight including two entries. Since different jockeys are named on both sets of entries, our guess is that all could start.

Weíll focus of three, from the inside, out: Executive Fleet (7-2), I Ainít No Saint (9-5), and the Gary Contessa entry (8-5) of Maddyís Lion and Royal Moment.

Executive Fleet was entered in a two-turner yesterday, but will be withdrawn by local rule in favor of todayís sprint, which makes perfect sense. Half of his four lifetime victories came at six furlongs and he has the benefit of conditioning, turning back from a quickly run route last out. The pole position is winning at a 24% rate and his tactical speed and kick figures to benefit from a likely contested. But this is a quicker group than heís used to.

I Ainít No Saint is a little anti-profile for a David Jacobson trainee. Heís a freshened sprinter for one thing, and heíll be ridden by Ramon Dominguez. This is not your typical stable rider situation. I Ainít No Saint is winless at the distance, which is problematical, but his recent performance figures vs. better sprinters are more than competitive. As a closing sprinter going short, he will be suited by the hot-pace scenario. As a 4-year-old, he still owns developmental upside. His last two Equiform figures were excellent.

Both Maddyís Lion and Royal Moment are coming back on very short rest for Contessa. In the formerís case, itís the most likely claiming spot, having been haltered for $35,000 last week and in for $50K here. Interestingly, heís been defeated twice recently by his stable-mate. The barn is a profitable 20% effective first time off the claim.

Mate Royal Moment, meanwhile, was very impressive winning his most recent, rapidly run score over a surface he obviously loves ([6] 3-1-1). Mike Luzzi, aboard for the win last week, takes the re-ride on this tactical speedster breaking from an advantageous outside position. A repeat of his last puts him the the picture here.

Not getting fancy here and taking the two-for-one proposition, the payoff improving should one be scratched: The Contessa entry to win at early odds of 8-5 or greater, with trifecta key boxes first and second Executive Fleet, I Ainít No Saint and new pace top Hesogoodwithmoney (5-1).

Running Totals: (164) 60-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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