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"
Sunday, October 21, 2007
King Cugat Brings Down Curtain on Belmont Fall Meet
The curtain comes down on the Belmont fall meet with the King Cugat for juvenile colts at one mile on the Widener turf course, listed soft yesterday but likely will be good this afternoon with no further precipitation.
The play is to defeat early-line 7-2 favorite Why Tonto, 2-for-2 on turf, but over firm ground from inside posts at the Meadowlands. The going will be less than firm today and the colt is drawn outside. Of course he can win, but at short odds we’ll lay him, not play him.
From the inside, out, we’re looking at Carry The Day (15-1), Moral Compass (4-1) and Grasberg (12-1).
Carry The Day has the most experience and has been toughened in a series of stakes. He broke his maiden on good ground on this course and is developing nicely, showing improved early speed on dirt, a competitive-figure effort on turf, then was hindered by a very slow pace and wide trip behind Breeders’ Cup-bound The Leopard last out. Is early line odds are way out of line given his form.
Moral Compass comes from the white hot Barclay Tagg shed and is, by definition, the fastest horse in the race. He owns terrific early speed, which he used in his recent victory. He worked a bullet in preparation for this and attracts the hot riding Norberto Arroyo Jr. He is likely to shake loose early in this spot, especially if his key race prior sprinting is any measure.
Grasberg is interesting. Following a maiden score, he ran better than odds when entered in the Pilgrim Stakes, a sign of confidence from the barn. He comes out of the same race as Carry The Day, in which he was third to The Leopard after making an impressive debut at Saratoga, coming from far back with a strong late rally. He, too, is a big price on the early line.
The scenario demands that we make an exacta box of these three contenders and will make a win bet on Carry The Day at 8-1 or greater, plus a saver half-wager to win on the other price shot, Grasberg.
Running Totals: (125) 44-28-13. Dollar Return: $261.50 [win selections only]
Written by John Pricci
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Showcasing a New York State of Mind
Next Saturday is the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Monmouth Park; today is the Empire Classic at Belmont Park. And just like the former, the latter could determine Horse of the Year, New York style.
A competitive group has been assembled for the centerpiece of Showcase Day and is our custom, we’ll look at three major contenders, from the inside, out: Run Red Run (12-1), Naughty New Yorker (2-1) and Indian Hawke (5-2).
Run Red Run peaked last year in his third start following a layup, the same scenario as today’s. Further, it was on a wet track, the expected conditions this afternoon. And it came at the 9 furlong distance.
Naughty New Yorker clearly is the proven class, has excellent performance figures and has earned them with consistency, his racing in what might be career form and has been carefully pointed toward this by Pat Kelly, himself enjoying an excellent season. He has tactical speed and kick; made to order for whatever comes his way this afternoon. J J Castellano rides him back of his recent score.
Indian Hawke was claimed two starts back and might start here as the favorite, such was the improvement he showed in his first start for Tony Dutrow, 30 percent efficient with new acquisitions. He earned the best recent figure in that score, handles any footing and is nicely drawn outside. Cornelio Velasquez accepts the re-ride here.
We’ll go for the class and consistency of Naughty New Yorker at early line odds of 2-1 or more and an exacta key box with the likely favorite and price shot contender.
Running Totals: (124) 44-28-13. Dollar Return: $261.50 [based on win selections only]
Written by John Pricci
Friday, October 19, 2007
A Filly That Ellen Degeneris Would Love
Today’s feature is an overnight stakes at seven furlongs for fillies and mares four year olds and up, the Storm Flag Flying. Half of this six-horse group could easily win it; from the inside, out: Baby Bird (9-5), Pussycat Doll (5-2) and Swap Fliperoo (9-2).
The early line favorite’s next loss at Belmont Park will be her first. Not many horses win four straight on any track but that’s what this Rick Dutrow trained filly has done. She’s accomplished all this at slightly longer distance, obviously gets along well with Cornelio Velasquez and has enough tactical speed to lay close up. But despite turning back in distance, that could nullify her stretch punch some. At least that’s what we’re hoping, at projected short odds. She will be a tough out, obviously.
If the good Pussycat Doll shows up, the rest are running for place money. Her figures at seven furlongs against better rivals earlier this season dwarfs the competition here but she’s one of the few Bob Baffert horses that hasn’t won since shipping East. But in her latest she showed signs of getting back into best form; chasing the pace at 6-˝ furlongs and staying fairly well. She should stalk from close range once again and do it more comfortably. She really gets along with Garrett Gomez, who gets back on the filly here after a short absence.
Swap Fliperoo is the quintessential turn-back for Allen Jerkens. She really acts best as a middle-distance sprinter and seven furlongs is perfect for her on best according to her performance figures. Jean-Luc Samyn takes the mount and the veteran still knows when to time his late run. Besides, it’s “the Chief,” right?
Taking the little value available on Pussycat Doll at 2-1 or greater, keying her in exacta boxes with the other two mares.
Running Totals: (123) 43-28-13. Dollar Return: $256.90 [win selections only]
Written by John Pricci