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, April 09, 2009

Ventura Highway in the Blugrass

If it’s Keeneland and it’s Thursday, it must be a Grade 1. Today it’s the Vinery Madison Stakes for older fillies and mares at 7 furlongs. But the bad news is the top two choices look pretty invincible.

When last seen, Ventura (4-5) was getting beat a nose by the male Gio Ponti in the G1 Frank Kilroe at a mile on turf at Santa Anita after moving sooner than is optimal for her. Prior to that she won the G1 Santa Monica under today’s conditions on Pro-Ride. The filly sprint champion is 1-for-1 here and 3-for-3 at today’s distance. Garrett Gomez rides the Frankel trainee.

The thing is that Informed Decision (5-2) ran just as fast as the early line favorite as a three-year-old and now has 4-year-old maturity going for her. Similarly, this miss is 2-for-2 over the Keeneland Poly and likewise at 7 furlongs. She has the hot-riding Johnny Velazquez who tripled here opening day and Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard can get one ready off a long layup. And she gets two pounds from the choice. What’s not to like?

However, after she won the Breeders’ Cup Filly Sprint and I remember thinking how can she ever loose at 7 furlongs on a synthetic surface? And Frankel is 37 percent going sprint-route-sprint, today’s scenario.

Compelled to take Ventura, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Informed Decision.

Running Totals: (401) 123-84-53 Total Dollar Return: $840.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Plan to Cry for Argentina

Today’s feature at the Keeneland spring meet is the Grade 2 Beaumont for three-year-old fillies on the Beard Course which, if memory serves, is seven furlongs and 128 feet.

Two fillies seem to tower over the group, favorite Evita Argentina (2-1) and second choice on the early line, Selva (5-2).

I want to pick the SoCal invader. If you saw the recent San Vicente you’d understand. Given her position, she never had a chance--coming from last in a field of 10 to blow by her nine rivals.

Correct, the San Vicente is an open race, meaning she beat the boys. Trainer John Sadler, in a battle for leading trainer at Santa Anita, is effective with ship-ins and shows a profit when competing in graded stakes. Garrett Gomez will retain the mount on the filly who breaks from the rail.

Selva, meanwhile, prepped for this by winning a quickly run an overnight 5-½ furlong sprint stakes on the Fair Ground turf course, her second start of the year. Previously, she finished second in the seven furlong Tiffany Lass, her lone defeat in five career starts.

Her best weapon is speed, which she can use tactically if Robby Albarado wishes. She’s won from in front and from just off the pace, a useful advantage vs. her talented rival and gets a four-pound weight pull. In this match, we’ll make the percentage play.

Taking Selva to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Evita Argentina.

Running Totals: (400) 123-83-53 Total Dollar Return: $840.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Keeneland Feature Favorite Something Special?

Only at Keeneland, or Saratoga, Belmont Park, Santa Anita etc., etc., can you find a preliminary allowances such as today’s.

You won’t get rich unless, of course, you can beat Affirmatif (4-5). This is a three year colt with one start, he won that debut by 9 in very fast time--1:34.20--last quarter in 23-flat, earning a huge performance figure.


Here’s what you need to know about Affirmatif. When Todd Pletcher was trying to get Dunkirk ready for the Florida Derby, guess who he worked in company with?

Now Dunkirk finished ahead of him, but he had to work some to do it and didn‘t exactly blow right on by. In other words, no telling how good this colt is.

Rescue Squad (10-1) is on a nice line, and Strike Line (6-1) will move forward in the third start of his career as Bill Mott seems to have come out firing since arriving in the bluegrass.

Taking Affirmatif to win, no price restrictions, keying him first and in exactas and trifectas with his two rivals here, adding Golden Mexico (15-1) and Don’t Shoot (12-1) to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (399) 123-82-53 Total Dollar Return: $840.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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