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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playing for Value with Strummer

Today’s feature to begin the New York week, a secondary allowances/non-winners of 2 for state-breds sprinting six furlongs could be a money maker if we get it right. A few of these could jump up to surprise and whatever horses closes as the favorite is still likely to be bettable odds.

We’re most interested in Strummer (5-1), King David (4-1), Scary Bob (10-1) and Please Impress (7-2). Each has a license to run very well here.

Strummer just missed after leading throughout in a $14,000 and was claimed by Oscar Barrera Jr., 20 percent efficient with new acquisitions. In Strummer he has a six-time winner over the track, aforementioned speed, and the ability to stalk from close range, which can prove the difference here.

King David ran almost as fast as these as a late season juvenile/early three year-old before going to the sidelines for nearly a year. With his added maturity from a barn adept with long layups (Linda Rice) and a series of bullet works, he should be ready to fire first time out of the box.

Scary Bob, despite the odds and his level of competition, should have run better than he did last out. But the good news is that the effort certainly didn’t drain any reserves and he’s come back to work very strongly since, a recent bullet half mile also proving 12th best of 154 at the distance for the week at Belmont. Dropping back into a claimer is a 30 percent move for Chris Englehart, who makes a switch to Eddie Castro for this.

And finally there’s Please Impress who was totally eliminated after getting shuffled back in the middle of the pack in a large sprint field on this somewhat narrow oval. He has tactical speed and kick, owns a win over the surface and gets a switch to leading rider Ramon Dominguez for Rick Dutrow whose outfit is 23 percent at the meeting. He projects to get a favorable trip given the dynamics here.

But we’ll stay with good current form and take recent claim Strummer at 4-1 or greater, keying him in exactas and trifectas with his three major rivals here.

Running Totals: (369) 113-73-49 Total Dollar Return: $793.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Silver Bells and… PUMPKIN SHELLS

Today’s featured Busher Stakes highlights some up and coming three year old fillies, not necessarily Grade 1 types, although you never know, of course. Most of the major contenders have forward looking lines and it will be a question of which filly fires straightest here.

Although you’ve got to time her move correctly, like most one-run horses, I’m partial to Pumpkin Shell (2-1). It’s not that she’s two for two on this surface, but it’s clear she’s developing rapidly and has gotten much better since the distance have lengthened. She’s worked four times since winning the Busanda last out and stretches back out to the distance of her maiden score--both wins beneath C. C. Lopez.

Subprime (7-2) rates an edge over the undefeated What A Pear, who defeated her in the Wistful when she had a conditioning edge. Now Subprime comes back second off the layup for Jimmy Jerkens, 26 percent with the angle and staying ahead of the takeout as well. She’s improved since adding Lasix and Richard Migliore takes the re-ride from a cozy inside post.

But we’ll take the much improved Pumpkin Shell, who we believe will fall between the wagering cracks, at 5-2 or greater, an exacta box with Subprime, adding What A Pear to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (368) 113-73-49 Total Dollar Return: $793.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, February 21, 2009

It’s Rap Tale’s Rare Treat, You Feel Me?

The Saturday feature is the Rare Treat Stakes which, like many other non graded stakes reduced in purse this weekend, is something less than compared to previous editions. The nine furlong route for older fillies and mares has a logical favorite in Weathered and an improving, albeit inconsistent, sort in Rap Tale.

Weathered is logical in that she earns good figures with consistency, relative to the group, and always seems to fire. But she doesn’t seem to fire her best shot with any consistency.

She owns the kind of speed that will allow Mike Luzzi to place here anywhere he likes, assuring a good trip. While she’s never gone this far, she is bred on both sides of her pedigree for the added distance. It’s today or never for the mare that failed to get it done without excuse in both recent starts at short odds.

Rap Tale, meanwhile, is not as proven but as a newly turned four year old has a license to develop further, which seems to be the case in recent starts. She set the pace in the 10 furlong Ladies Handicap vs. a tougher group but had nothing to offer through the stretch.

After the Ladies came a dull effort in the Affectionately before shipping to Philly where she exploded to a 6-length score. Now it’s back to New York to try stakes company again, reuniting with Ramon Dominguez, who rode her in the Ladies, who is sure to use her tactical speed and inside post to put her in the game throughout.

She’s unproven at the trip but has enough pedigree on the bottom side of her pedigree and in Chad Brown has a trainer that a profitable 25 percent efficient with all his route runners.

Taking Rap Tale to keep improving at 4-1 or greater, an exacta box with Weathered, and adding Successful Sarah and Bourbon Maid to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (367) 113-73-49 Total Dollar Return: $793.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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