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, February 28, 2008

NYRA Feature Tricky Read

There’s no shortage of speed in today’s sprint feature for older horses, a secondary allowances/optional $50,000 claiming. But there's a dearth of rally types that look fast enough to compete with the speed horses here on performance figures.

Further, there's a classy returnee off a long layoff--but in for a tag--and a second off-the-layup starter that may or may not be poised for a forward move. In short, it’s a very tricky read from top to bottom.

We’ll take a brief look at half the field, from the rail, out: Bill Place (3-1), Whistlin’ (2-1), Trophy Road (8-1) and Silver Light (6-1)

Bill Place was very good at this time last year. He won the Winkfield, was second in the Caposella then won the G3 Bay Shore. But after a layup, he returned in a $100,000 claimer and has been on the sidelines since. Now that he’s back for $50,000 tag for Tony Dutrow and Dominguez, it seems like the barn has given up on him. That, or they’re taking their best shot. Guessing is not a reliable way to riches in this game.

Whistlin’ reacted to his big figure two back coming back on short rest last time out. He’s back here quickly again but has had this added time since his top effort to recover. Gary Contessa, of course, wins with everything, but the bad news is that there’s sufficient gas to insure no easy lead for this speedster.

Trophy Road looks like he was a very good claim by David Jacobson in his New York debut and came back to run well since, a game placing after setting a strong pace. He, too, has early speed, but with excellent turn times, he might leave the other speeds gasping. His early line odds are generous.

Silver Light is not quite as fast as some of his rivals here but is on a good line and has the proper off the pace style to fit today’s race shape. Steve Asmussen, winning everywhere, is 30 percent locally and has latched on to Stewart Elliott to do a lot of riding for the stable recently. His odds also seem generous.

We’ll take Trophy Road to win at 5-1 or greater and key him in all trifecta money positions with his major rivals here.

Running Totals: (181) 62-38-21. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Having Fun with Playtime

The NYRA week begins with a preliminary allowances for older New York-bred fillies and mares going a mile and 70 yards. It has attracted a relatively full field of nine but appears a two-horse battle between a pair of very sharp 4-year-olds: Regal Playtime and Twistaway.

Regal Playtime really has come into her own since late last season. She’s won her last two starts, handled the stretch-out to a mile very nicely last out, and has proven quite the horse for course. She has finished in the money in half of her 16 lifetime starts, winning three. If you counted only her races not conducted on the winter track, it’s an unfortunate 0-for-11.

Along with her recent improvement go faster performances figures, indeed, among the fastest in the group. The pole won’t hurt, she gets along real well with stable rider Norberto Arroyo Jr., and has trained very well since her last for high-percentage newcomer Gregory Diprima.

While Twistaway does have some lamentable bridesmaid tendencies, she comes from a long series of competitive events vs. sharp and arguable stronger stock. She has earned excellent performance figures along the way and appears to be cycling back to a lifetime best. Her recent route figure was a pairing of her lifetime best going long, and that makes her look explosive.

Having drawn a better position after her very game second from a wide post at today’s distance last out, trainer John Terranova, who’s won with six of his 24 starters over the past three months, is a profitable 30 percent efficient when running back a beaten favorite. Mike Luzzi, who had a big recent weekend, takes the re-ride.

Taking Regal Playtime to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Twistaway. Trifecta players can add recent claim Alchera to their mix, a filly who earned an excellent figure last out and significantly drops 10 pounds.

Running Totals: (180) 62-38-21. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, February 24, 2008

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

This is getting a little silly, these New York features. Gary Contessa just has been so dominating, and in today’s Busher for three-year-old fillies going a mile and a sixteenth, he will start half the field of six, including a two-ply entry and an uncoupled starter. He’ll try for a sweep of the weekend stakes and today has himself to beat.

Deities Day and Love Co are coupled for the barn, due to common ownership interests. The stronger half of the favored entry (7-5) is Love Co. She’s really improved since going long as her Equiform figures will attest. She is paying for that recent win, asked to tote 122 pounds and Ramon Dominguez this afternoon.

The value on the early line is the uncoupled Contessa entrant, Sweet Vendetta (4-1), who moved way up with the addition of blinkers last out. In four lifetime starts, the first two on turf, she has never taken a backward step on figures.

Of greater significance, Sweet Vendetta showed good energy distribution in her main track debut then showed a more powerful late run in her last with the hood. The bad news is that she comes back quickly--especially for a filly--10 days; the good news is that she gets six pounds from her favored mate.

Taking Sweet Vendetta to win at 3-1 or greater and an exacta box with her coupled stablemates.

Running Totals: (179) 62-37-21. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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