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, September 20, 2008


Can Elope Run Off With the Gallant Bloom?


You might believe that somehow I’m into the wacky tobacco as I’m writing this but today’s G2 Gallant Bloom for filly and mare sprinters at 6-½ furlongs is not completely open and shut because a 3-5 favorite looms over her four rivals.

Obviously, Indian Blessing is the one to beat, especially now that she’s been rating kindly while going short, Bob Baffert declining the recent Ruffian in order to keep her sprinting. Clearly, she will be a most difficult out.

But there’s a filly coming out of a “non-winners of 2 lifetime” allowances that could give her fits if her most recent effort is any indication of what she has become at four. But Elope (8-1) last effort was truly awesome, and if there’s a replay center of some kind near you we suggest to take a look and see for yourself.

Elope (8-1) won laughing on Aug. 3, an absolute romp, by nearly a dozen lengths, and her jockey never moved a muscle in the late stages. Her performance figure was off the charts but she’s had seven weeks recovery time. And given that she sheds seven pounds--getting six from today’s favorite--is drawn outside for her return at last month’s winning distance, and draws Ramon Dominguez, who rides 41 percent winners for this barn over his career, for that trainer Bruce Levine who’s 33 percent lifetime with repeaters, fashioning an upset is a real possibility.

Indian Blessing is the most probable winner but anything more than 5-1 would represent value on Elope. Given the short field, we’ll make an exacta part wheel using Indian Blessing and Elope first and second, with Zada Belle (6-1) in the second slot only, taking an extra ticket with the favorite first. The exacta value in here is predicated on the elimination of Sugar Swirl (3-1) from the first two positions.

Running Totals: (278) 85-56-32. Total Dollar Return: $513.10 [win selections only] {Friday results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, September 19, 2008


House Guest Staying to Cash a Bet


Lots going on in today’s Belmont feature for fillies and mares, three and up, preliminary allowance types sprinting 6 furlongs on the inner turf course.

There’s Viva La View (5-1), talented, albeit lightly raced, coming off a layup for a top return outfit with early speed, the pole and Johnny Velazquez.

Then there’s According To Plan (3-1), going dirt to turf for Barclay Tagg, a good percentage move, while making her second start off a layup--another good angle--with stable rider Eibar Coa aboard.
And there’s Goo Goo Eyes (6-1), making her second start for the Kiaran McLaughlin barn, and Higher Incentive, beaten in a photo on Belmont turf in a race that went in 1:07 4/5 for today’s distance. And HIgher Incentive (9-2), going postward for leading trainer Gary Contessa.

But the most interesting miss to us in this wide open fray that has drawn a good sized field is House Quest (7-2), back in the Greg DiPrima barn after making a foray out of town. While not as fast as some of her competitors, her figures are competitive enough but, unlike most of her competitors, she’s acquitted herself well in tougher situations.

Now she returns to her favorite surface, at her optimal distance, and reunites with hot riding Rajiv Maragh, who fits this filly extremely well. With all the speed signed on here, she should come running strong in the late stages.

Taking House Quest to win at 7-2 or greater, keying her first and second in the trifecta with the rivals mentioned above, and an exacta box with Viva La View.

Running Totals: (277) 84-56-32. Total Dollar Return: $504.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, September 18, 2008


Beating Rice Could Be Very Nice


Will this be kind of a re-run of the Mechanicville in Saratoga where trainer Linda Rice’s horses finished 1-2-3-4? While not quite; she’s only entered three in today’s Jack Better Be Right overnight stakes for three-year-old state-bred fillies going six furlongs on Belmont’s inner turf course.

Two of Rice’s three are coupled and one of them, Meriwether Jessica (3-1), has an inside track here if, that is, she can handle Peter Pugh’s streaking Lost Without You (5-1). It’s very difficult choosing between the two, a battle of speed vs. conditioning.

Lost Without You is faster, almost significantly so. Never having taken a backward step on turf, her last two efforts were exceptional. Yes, she has done quite a bit of developing but not exactly to the extent that she’s won’t replicate recent efforts, which make her the most probable winner. And she’s had over six weeks to recover, has won on Belmont turf at this distance and attracts turf ace Johnny Velazquez.

Meriwether Jessica should have won her Saratoga finale. She simply never had winning position throughout the one mile two turner, her outside post responsible for some of that, and Eibar Coa got her going just a little too late. But the turn-back is not problematical here since her two-back race was a victory going three-quarters over this ground. With her speedy stablemates signed on and with a forward move projected, she is the expected value.

Taking any value offered on Lost Without You at 4-1 or more to win and a boxed exacta with Meriwether Jessica.

Running Totals: (276) 84-55-32. Total Dollar Return: $504.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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