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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.



Saturday, December 06, 2008


Taking Hertler and the Mig? That’s the Spirit!


Never thought I’d see the day in New York where the feature race on a Saturday didn’t have a name attached to it. But the featured eighth race today is your run of the mill preliminary allowances/optional claiming. In any event, it looks like a three-horse affair between Spanky Fischbein, a former Pletcher trainee, Flint River, the current one, and the streaking See More Spirit.

Leading rider Eibar Coa jumps off Spanky in favor of Flint, but that could be more a political decision as much as anything. Spanky Fischbein (3-1) has proven to be consistently faster than this group, is nicely drawn inside, comes from powerful new connections, one that’s profitable 30 percent efficient with horse making their third start off a layup. The problem is his early speed could get him in trouble here as there’s a lot of speed signed on.

Flint River (4-1) turns back to his best distance--his fastest on performance figures and site, has a pedigree that won’t quit, upside as a three-year-old and an extremely sharp work before leaving Churchill for his return to New York. Unlike Spanky, his late-run style fits the race shape here and Coa can work out a good trip, stalking battling leaders.

But the value is See More Spirit (5-1). Trainer John Hertler is on a roll at this meet and is profitable lifetime with horses seeking repeat wins. This five-year-old has been on a tear since uniting with Richard Migliore, a position conscious rider sure to take advantage of his inside draw. This gelding can finish from anywhere on the racetrack and will be suited by a lively pace. Owning a win on this track, at this distance, gives him an edge, as do excellent performance figures.

Taking See More Spirit to win at 4-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (322) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, December 05, 2008


Change Is Good; Value Is Better


Only on either Showcase Day or at this time of year is it possible for horses with good Finger Lakes form and/or success can dominate a race downstate, even one for state-breds. But that’s the case in this secondary allowances/optional claiming sprint at 5-½ furlongs. This appears to be a battle among Zipperoo, Scary Bob and Wolfson.

Returning from layups going long is one of trainer Jim Bond’s strengths; going short not so much. But Zipperoo (5-1) has run well in the past when fresh, the workouts are very steady, the performance figures excellent, he’s nicely drawn inside and attracts Rajiv Maragh’ all plusses. Further, he has a pace edge which should help at this trip.

Scary Bob (8-1) is a very fast old pro shipping south for the prolific Chris Englehart. We’re seen this act before as the 7-year-old gelding has had success on this surface and is reuniting with speed ace C C Lopez, who rode him effectively here last winter. He ships down sharp and it’s important to note that his trainer is 39 percent efficient with horses seeking to repeat. You can bet that Lopez will put his mount right off the right hip of the Bond entrant.

Will Gary Contessa work his magic with Wolfson (4-1)? It’s his time of year and the right scenario as the 3-year-old makes his debut for this barn, a profitable 22 percent occurrence. But of greater significance is that he fit’s the race shape here as there appears to be no shortage of early speed. Nicely positioned outside, Pablo Morales, who’s riding winners for this barn, particularly of late, is a strong finisher.

But we'll take the value to win on Scary Bob at 9-2 or more, keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (322) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, December 04, 2008


An Attractive Play


Today’s feature is fairly inscrutable, unless you adhere blindly to performance figures. The six furlong sprint for preliminary allowance/optional claiming two-year-olds features one of the fast maiden breakers of the juvenile season, Pop Artist (3-1).

But there are questions: For one, why did this $275 yearling debut for $100,000 for the powerful Darley Stable? Further, he was reluctant to load into the gate. Will that be the case again vs. stiffer company, and why no gate work coming into this, although hopefully he was schooled.

Trainer Tom Albertrani in any case gave him 54 days of recovery time to bring his back and he has worked steadily since debut. The fact that none were of the bullet variety suggest he might be more than simply a precocious speed-crazy youngster. Should he run back to his debut, the competition is racing for minor honors.

Other horses of major interest are Jess Not Jesse (8-1), Taqarub (5-1) , Fellow Crasher (4-1) and Prince Charming (9-2).

Taqarub was another impressive maiden breaker in fast time, albeit not as fast as Pop Artist, but it was a visually impressive win over tougher rivals.

Jess Not Jesse is interesting because he will offer value at 8-1 or more. But his first two races were on turf, including a Canadian G3, then made his dirt debut showing good early speed--a change of pace effort--before finishing third. Ramon Dominguez, winning everything in sight recently, takes the ride.

Fellow Crasher ships in with experience and fast figures. The problem is knowing how to translate his good 5-½ furlong efforts into six furlongs here. But the drop into a claimer for the first time augurs well, as Tony Dutrow is a profitable 27 percent with that angle.

Prince Charming was ambitiously placed behind Back Water Edison in the G3 Nashua Stakes, getting bogged down on the inside in that mile contest. But he switches outside here, enjoys a pace edge with his tactical speed and kick, benefits from a switch to an outside position while reuniting with Javier Castellano. His half-mile breeze in :48 on 11/26 was 14th fastest of 170 two-year-olds to work out that week.

Taking Prince Charming to win at 4-1 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with Pop Artist and Fellow Crasher, and in trifecta and superfecta money positions with all horses here, plus sharp-working price shot Fotographia (15-1).

Running Totals: (322) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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