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, June 21, 2008

Mauralakana, I Double Dare You To Do It Again

Another NYRA feature on the turf but don’t mind seeing this one, the Grade 2 New York Handicap at 10 furlongs for fillies and mares, 3 & up. In the five horse field, it’s as easy as 1-2-3, or 3-2-1, or… Well, you get the idea, it’s tough.

Although you probably think it’s easy if you saw Mauralakana (1-1) finish for the win the G2 Sheepshead Bay at 11 furlongs. Go catch a replay somewhere and let me know if her feet actually touched the ground in the final furlongs. She came her last three furlongs in :35 3/5 and the course was not freakishly fast. It was amazing, so amazing, in fact, that it’s unlikely she can duplicate it. Still, she looms the most likely winner.

Hostess (3-1) is really taking the worst of the weights here. She finished willingly too late behind the choice last out, beaten almost four lengths. She picks up three pounds and the winners picks up four. Doesn’t add up. She certainly figures to improve in her second start following a brief layup, but it’s hard to envision her turning the tables completely, even if the favorite regresses.

The interesting filly is import Dynaforce (5-1), making her U.S. debut for layup ace Bill Mott with first-time Lasix, at least Johnny Velazquez thinks so. He gets off Hostess to ride the unknown filly, Group 2 placed in her four year old finale last year at Deauville. She gets seven pounds from the favorite and has tremendous upside. Worth a gamble at anything near dearly line odds.

Taking Dynaforce at 4-1 or greater, exacta boxes with her main contenders here.

Running Totals: (224) 71-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $440.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, June 20, 2008

When Looking for Value, Always et a Receipt

Another grass feature, this one a preliminary allowances for females going a mile on the Widener turf course. A good mix of accomplishment and promise in this grassy group.

We’ll look at favorite Song Of Love (5-2), Queens Full (4-1) and Receipt (5-1).

The favorite has never run on turf but earned a top performance figure in her 7 furlong debut, has tactical speed, and boasts a nice blend of nature and nurture for her first start. The fact that the barn is 29 percent at the meet and that the filly has the pole and Eibar Coa gives her a big chance. A victory certainly would be surprise, but a decent price would be.

Queens Full has competitive figures, hits hard, makes her second start off a layup for Christophe Clement, 26 percent efficient in that category, also draws inside and picks up the erstwhile Garrett Gomez. Between her and the favorite it will be a battle of who gets the perfect trip.

Hopefully, Receipt can out-move them both down. After earning a good, competitive figure on turf two back, she was hindered by a dawdling pace next time out, compromising her chances. The Shug McGaughey barn specializes in third-time out starters, going a profitable 25 percent in that category. If anyone’s hotter than Alan Garcia recently, he has yet to identify himself.

Taking Receipt to win at 7-2 or greater and exacta keys first and second with her main rivals here.

Running Totals: (223) 71-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $440.10 [win selections only}

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Improving “Now Horse” Trumps Classier Rivals

Well, what do you know, a grass race feature in New York? Is the NYRA racing office in a rut, or what?

At least, this one’s very interesting, a listed stakes, the Academy Award, for older males at 10 furlongs on the inner turf.

It’s drawn a relatively full field of nine and we’ll take a close look at three of them; Grand Couturier, Banrock and Distorted Reality.

Grand Couturier is the class of this group--by a lot. A winner of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer last year and third in the G1 Man o’ War, he debuts with Garrett Gomez in the boot for the first time ever. Trainer Bob Ribaudo has done an excellent job with this veteran, finally earning stakes brackets in 2007. But Ribaudo doesn’t usually have them fully cranked off long layups and let’s face it, this spot has prep written all over it.

Banrock doesn’t class up at first glance but he’s the now horse of the group and clearly comes into this in career form, showing a newly found maturity, a common occurrence with geldings when they reach the age of five. He owns the fastest recent figures, comes up to this six weeks fresh. While he lacks 10 furlong form, he has won going farther and reunites with Javier Castellano, 1-for-1 aboard the gelding.

Distorted Reality receives much needed class relief here. Making his third start off a layoff, a 29 percent proposition for the Pletcher barn, it was either the G2 company or the off course that compromised his chances in the Dixie at Pimlico last time out. As a four year old, he should continue improving and owns a (2) 1-1-0 slate over Belmont grass. Regular Rider Johnny Velazquez takes the mount on this multiple graded-placed stakes runner.

Taking the streaking Banrock to win at 4-1 or greater, keying him in exactas first and second with his classy rivals here.

Running Totals: (222) 71-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $440.10 [win selections only] {does not reflect Wednesday’s results}

Written by John Pricci


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