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, November 22, 2007

A Champion Weight Carrier?

It might be a modern anachronism but the Fall Highweight Handicap has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition. Moreover, it’s fun.

Grand Champion (5-2) is the now horse for Jimmy Jerkens, a late developing four-year-old gelding who might be capable of a true breakthrough performance. Jerkens is having an excellent year, batting a profitable 26 percent for 2007, and is adept at getting recent winners to repeat with 24 percent efficiency.

Owning tactical speed that should put him in this from the start given an alert break, he also owns the kick to clear the pacesetters in deep stretch. The caveat is that he seems to need his move timed perfectly. He worked a strong five-eighths in preparation for his first start in nearly six weeks--good spacing--and reunites with Eibar Coa. He carries 130 pounds and is in receipt of three and four pounds, respectively, from highly competitive rivals.

Park Avenue Ball (7-2) never fired in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile but might do so here on the drop-down and turn-back. He attracts Alan Garcia who’s winning with everything, including a riding triple yesterday. He would benefit from fast fractions and any remaining moisture in the surface.

Running Totals: (134) 46-29-15. Total Dollar Return: $272.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shedding the Bridesmaid Label

Today’s feature boasts many bridesmaid types that figure to have their moments in the sun. The race is for preliminary allowance types, $75,000 optional claiming, in a one-turn Big A mile.

Inda (5-2) hails from a barn that’s currently on a roll. Not unusual since the McGaughey shed traditionally does well at this time of year prior to shipping south for the winter. She finally broke her maiden two starts back. And while she has a late developing pedigree, that seems a bit much for this well bred four-year-old. Still, her recent figures are highly competitive, she likes the distance and attracts Johnny Velazquez.

Moneypenny (7-2) is interesting in that she’s on a delayed pace top, coming out of a series of turf events. She showed improvement first time off Gary Contessa’s claim, she worked purposefully since over today‘s surface and projects to receive a comfortable stalking trip given today’s conditions. The position conscious Eddie Castro is adept at adapting to this kind of race shape.

Stolen Time (3-1) gets class relief here as she finally gets away from state-bred stakes company. One-for-one on this surface, she owns two wins at today’s distance from six tries, making her 1-for-13 doing anything else. Add in tactical speed, a favorable outside position, a trainer who’s 30 percent efficient stretching out off two consecutive sprints and a switch to the white hot Javier Castellano all point to the end of her bridesmaid tendencies here.

Taking the John Kimmel-trained Stolen Time to win at 2-1 or greater, and exacta box with Moneypenny, and keying her first and second in trifectas with the above named pair and Estimable (8-1), stretching out for Kairan McLaughlin beneath the equally hot Alan Garcia.

Running Totals: (133) 46-29-14. Total Dollar Return: $272.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Red Stripe for All My Friends

Today’s feature is the Gaily Gaily for open class fillies and mares on the turf going one mile and a terrific race it is. You won’t need a road map to find the favorite, Rewrite (5-2). She won the Ticonderoga vs. New York-breds last out, overcoming a slow pace, and now turns back to her most effective distance. Her performance figures are the best in the field, and by a significant margin. Her best effort wins this easily. But I can’t imagine she was pointed toward this and while Alan Garcia is a budding star, he doesn’t know her like Garrett Gomez does. Her late run style makes her prone to troubled trips.

The interesting fillies in here are Rasta Farian (7-2), Trouble Maker (9-2) and Them There Eyes (10-1).

Wish I could give Longshot Them There Eyes a better chance to win at the price. She’s never raced in better form, has tactical speed and an inside slip but returns on short rest. It’s hard to envision a repeat of her recent top efforts given that scenario.

Rasta Farian, meanwhile, has really come to hand for Michael Matz. Her figures have improved with her development as a four-year-old, a mile is her best game, and she has the kind of early speed that should insure a comfortable stalking trip off moderate fractions. Her recent dirt race indicated that the filly is distributing her energy now like a true turf filly. Her lower profile in this group assures bettable odds.

Trouble Maker has improved dramatically over the summer and fall sprinting, and she should handle added ground. However, a class hike accompanies the longer distance. Still it wouldn’t be hard to envision a winning performance with an effort similar to her recent races. Like we said, an interesting heat.

Taking Rasta Farian to win at early line odds of 7-2 or greater, an exacta box with Rewrite, and trifecta keys of Rasta Farian with the other aforementioned fillies.

Running Totals: (132) 46-29-14. Total Dollar Return: $272.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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