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.

Monday, August 06, 2007

In Hall of Fame, Mott’s Hot

Today’s feature honors those to be inducted this morning as well as all members of the Hall of Fame, past and present. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame is for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on the Saratoga turf inner.

Normally a sizable field, this Grade 2 edition has drawn but a half dozen. We’ll look at three, from the rail, out: Marcavelly (2-1), Distorted Reality (5-2) and Nobiz Like Shobiz (9-5).

Unquestionably, Nobiz Like Shobiz is the most accomplished, and fastest on the Equiform performance scale. But he’s a tough read. He’s not particularly well bred for his turf debut and still has a bit of those goofy focus issues in the stretch (though he was better when blinkers were removed for his latest), and he’ll be a short price.

On the plus side, however, is his recent :58 4/5 work on the Oklahoma turf course and he gets in light at 115 pounds after carrying scaleweights all spring against the best three-year-olds in America. What to do?

Meanwhile, Marcavelly is from the Bill Mott barn that’s having no less than a sensational meet. Even when his horses are getting beat, they’re running well, and he’s doing it in every category, even with two-year-olds! Marcavelly is a multiple graded stakes winner on grass, draws the pole, has good early speed but is even better from off the pace. But he spots his two main rivals three and seven pounds, not insignificant in a close race.

Distorted Reality peaked last out but not significantly so, making a bounce less likely, and is the only horse with a win at nine furlongs. That win was accompanied by blinkers off and he’s worked very sharply since that effort. JV riding for Pletcher here, albeit Todd having a less than stellar meet to date.

Six-horse races can be trappy. And this one’s fraught with all sorts of questions.

Taking Marcavelly to win at 2-1 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with his two main rivals.

Running Totals: (74) 34-15-10 Dollar Return: $197.70 [win selections only] (does not include Sunday’s results)

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Taking Generous Odds Good Advice in Fourstardave

Another Grade 2 stakes on turf and another challenging heat, the Fourstardave Handicap at 1-1/16th miles on the inner course. From the inside, out, we’ll seriously consider Brilliant (3-1), Silver Tree (4-1) , Fishy Advice (12-1) and Host (7-2).

The now horse is Brilliant, who’s developed into a classy stakes runner as a four-year-old for Neil Howard. Fastest recently on the Equiform scale, he was an excellent second to the double tough Remarkable News, beating the third horse by over four lengths, and just missed previously in a G1 on the Derby undercard. He can handle any footing.

If Silver Tree has lost a step to age, it’s a half-step. He’s seeking his third straight win and handles any distance. He’s expected to get the very firm footing he likes, has excellent kick and reunites with Kent Desormeaux, aboard for the win two back. In addition to kick he has enough tactical speed to gain favorable early position. Did we mention that Bill Moot trains?

Fishy Advice is very interesting. Donk will try to make it two turf stakes in succession, having won yesterday’s overnight Glow, and gets Castellano back, a multiple winner aboard this five-year-old. He has good early speed, can finish, owns a win over the course and is undefeated in three starts at the distance. He had a sharp blowout for his third start off the layup and should be set for best now.

Host is a proven G1 winner with a big late kick and Todd Pletcher has him running fast figures with consistency. The poor post draw could help provide value and the highly consistent veteran switches to Johnny Velazquez, riding especially well at the meet. But you would need more than early line odds before seriously considering a win bet.

Brilliant is the most probable winner, but Fishy Advice is the play at odds of 10-1 or greater. Also making two exacta keys, taking Brilliant and Fishy Advice first and second with Silver Tree and Host, which would yield two winning tickets should Brilliant and Fishy Advice finish 1-2.

Running Totals: (74) 34-15-10 Dollar Return: $197.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dream Rush Up To Big Speed Test

Although three-year-olds, fillies don’t get the glamour normally reserved for colts in the sport. And while there might be more important races at this illustrious meet, The Darley Test at seven furlongs is one of my favorite Saratoga races.

That’s because the race is about speed and stamina.

The favorite has speed and she will be tested. But Dream Rush (2-1), winner of the Grade 1 Prioress in her last start, is not only a worthy favorite but she’ll be a tough out. And that’s because of the distance. Dream Rush’s best performance figure was earned while winning the G2 Nassau County at today’s trip. Nicely drawn in the center of a large field, that should give Eibar Coa options. While she’s best in front, she isn’t a strict need-the-lead type.

The main competition figures to come from Cotton Blossom (9-2) and Boca Grande (15-1). Neither filly can match her in the performance figure department (check out 12-1 Pha. Park shipper Akronism for that) but both figure to love this trip and each will benefit from strong fractions.

Cotton Blossom was a classy winner of the G1 Acorn at a mile then raced one-paced in the two-turn Delaware Oaks. Delaware can be quirky, but now she’s back at Saratoga where she has a (2) 1-1-0 slate and all that conditioning from both her recent starts. JR rides her regularly for Todd Pletcher.

Boca Grande has a pair of G2 victories to her credit and also has conditioning after racing evenly in both the G1 Acorn and Mother Goose most recently. While she doesn’t match up on figures, her close-up style is perfect for today’s conditions and Shug McGaughey has an excellent record in this race. The switch to Julien Leparoux just might suit this longshot filly perfectly.

Taking Dream Rush to win at 9-5 or greater, keying her first and second in trifecta boxes with Cotton Blossom, Boca Grande and the sharp, fast invader, Akronism.

Running Totals: (73) 33-15-10 Dollar Return: $193.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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