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.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

An interesting feature even though on the surface it’s a starter allowances for claiming types: “Which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 from 2005-2008.” 2005? Yep.

We think it will come down to the two fastest horses on performance figures: Lemons Of Love (3-1) and Callmetony (5-2).

Lemons Of Love has not raced on the local circuit since this time last year. In fact, he’s been on the board in all winter track starts, including a win, and apparently he’s the one that requires handicappers to go well back to find the race that qualifies him for entry here. Making his second start off a freshening, he hasn’t run this cheaply since Dec. ‘06, at least. Consistently faster than this group recently, he’s be coming late under one of the hottest riders in New York, C.C. Lopez, who boasts a (15) 5-3-1 slate in the last week of racing here. The rail post is 22% effective at this meet.

Callmetony should get a good stalking trip if he can break sharply beneath Alan Garcia. He showed improved early speed last out and has the kind of back-figures that easily could contend here. The trick is that fast start, as he’s poisoned in the gate between two sharp speedsters. A tardy break might eliminate the Bruce Levine trainee. His most recent win--actually a three-race win streak--was accomplished while racing at this level. Clearly, he drops into a likely spot.

Taking the little value offered on Lemons Of Love top win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box first and second with Callmetony and Hesogoodwithmoney (6-1).

Running Totals: (174) 62-37-19. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Beware of Speed Traps in Today’s Feature

Talk about your basic traps. Today’s Aqueduct feature, if indeed there is one because of a) another weather related cancellation or, b) bankrupt political practices, has drawn six starter allowance fillies going six furlongs that all race on or near the lead; half of them having proven best at 5-½ furlongs, not six. However, you play the hand you’re dealt.

We’ll concentrate our analysis on three, from the rail, out: Staid, Goretty and Bette To Win.

Staid appears to be cycling back to her lifetime best effort. She simply exploded while dropping into a maiden claimer for the first time last out, winning by a lengthy margin and earning a figure just shy of her lifetime top four starts back. From the formidable and ubiquitous Asmussen barn, she gets Stewart Elliott on the re-ride, who will have her in winning position throughout from the pole, winning at a 19% rate this meet.

Goretty is by definition the fastest filly by virtue of her impressive score two back then was eliminated last out by a stumbling start and a rough beginning thereafter. She hails from a new barn, Bruce Brown’s that’s winning at a prolific rate, albeit a relatively small sample. But Goretty clearly has improved for him and can rebound with a repeat of her two-back effort. Speed maven C.C. Lopez takes the re-ride.

Bette To Win is the key to this. The Michael Trombetta filly paired up two fast efforts at her Laurel base, an indication more may be forthcoming, and attracts Ramon Dominguez for this high percentage outfit. What makes her a difficult read is that both those efforts were at 5-½ furlongs, a dynamic that doesn’t always play well on the “stretch-out” to six. Given her outside slip and with speed drawn inside her, she appears to be worth trying to beat.

Taking Goretty to rebound at 7-2 or more and keying her first and second in exacta boxes with her main rivals here.

Running Totals: (173) 62-37-19. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Ed. Note: If there is a NYRA secession of racing starting today, Gulfstream Park will become the free-analysis track until further notice.

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Hint of Mint

Enjoy today’s featured presentation from New York: It might be the last one we see for a while.

It’s a nice little heat, a preliminary allowances/optional $75,000 claiming for three-year-olds at a mile and 70 yards. We’ll concentrate our analysis on, from the rail, out: Mint Lane (5-2), Holidaze (4-1) and Globalization (9-5).

Mint Lane was monstrous with the addition of Lasix last time out for Jimmy Jerkens. His energy distribution improved markedly, picking up the tempo while front running throughout. That’s pretty strong stuff, especially considering it was his third lifetime start, second rounding two turns, and he had trouble soon after the break. He’s had five weeks since that good-figure effort to recover, has worked purposefully, and his pedigree indicates that distance racing is his game. Norberto Arroyo Jr. takes the re-ride.

Holidaze looks extremely well meant. Reuniting with Ramon Dominguez, aboard for a strong but stretch-troubled third two starts back, he’s trying a route for the first time. As a son of Harlan’s Holiday, that shouldn’t be a problem, especially at this trip. His figures have improved over this surface since returning from a layup and the barn is especially good in this scenario. Note that the Pletcher outfit is 30% effective when stretching out off consecutive sprints and 32% with third-time starts off a layoff. Strong stats, those.

Globalization impressed as a promising juvenile last fall. When last seen he was beaten off in the Juvenile but he had been competitive with Tale of Akati and War Pass in his first two lifetime starts. Those colts need no introduction, obviously, and this colt looked good breaking his maiden by open lengths when stretched to a mile. He comes off a bullet work at Palm Meadows and ships north in what might be a prep for the Gotham later on. But we think he’s worth trying to beat in his return at a short price.

Taking Mint Lane to win at 5-2 or greater and keying him in exactas first and second with his two main rivals here.

Running Totals: (173) 62-37-19. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Ed. Note: In the event of a NYRA suspension of racing beginning Feb. 14, the feature race analysis will shift to Gulfstream Park in the interim.

Written by John Pricci


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