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"
Monday, March 10, 2008
On the Road…
HRI's Free Feature Race Analysis will take an alternative form over the next month beginning March 12. Executive editor John Pricci is going on the Triple Crown trail and will spend the next four weeks in Tampa and Hallandale Beach Florida, and in Queens, New York.
During this period the Free Analysis will appear occasionally from different locales, schedule permitting. At this writing, we intend to provide handicapping coverage on Tampa Bay Derby day, March 15, and each day we attend the races at Gulfstream Park the following two weeks.
We will resume our regular coverage of New York racing during our reporting on the Wood Memorial, the first week of April. Please check back with us daily.
Written by John Pricci
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Good Card, Good Price
If you didn’t look at the conditions for today’s race and just checked the performance figures, you would think it was an overnight stakes. However, it’s “only” a preliminary allowances, but one full of fast horses. We’ll concentrate on two: Southern Prince (2-1), the speed of the speed types, and Good Card (6-1), who tops the Pat Kelly stable entry.
Our first inclination was to throw up our hands and say, enough already, I’m taking the early line favorite. But not because he’s, by definition, the fast horse, but because he recently was claimed by Gary Contessa. This outfit is making a joke out of this meet, just winning everything in sight, and has been particularly effective first time off the claim. But he just might be a bit better at 5-½ furlongs, is coming back fairly quickly, and figures to be pressured on the pace.
But clearly the value is Good Card, a stretch running sprinter that fits today’s race shape and pace scenario very well, and any remaining moisture in the track is a plus. The winter track has been a little holding the past few days, and hopefully that will be the case again here, cutting the legs out from under the speed horses. Good Card has been chasing New-York bred stakes types. Even though this is an open-class group, he’s still getting some class relief here.
Taking Good Card to win at 5-1 or greater and an exacta box with Southern Prince.
Running Totals: (188) 64-41-21. Total Dollar Return: $401.80 [win selections only]
Written by John Pricci
Derby Trail Courses Through Gotham
The Road to the Kentucky Derby makes a stop in New York this afternoon for the mile and a sixteenth Grade 3 Gotham Stakes over an inner track forecasted to be sloppy. While we are taking that prediction into consideration here, it‘s still about the class of the horses at this level, and if you look hard enough you can find some wet track pedigree in all the major contenders to varying degrees.
The Gotham has drawn a very competitive field of 10, including undefeated New York-bred Giant Moon (7-2), an obvious contender from the rail. The major competition will likely come, from the inside, out: Roman Emperor (6-1), Texas Wildcatter (12-1) and Visionaire (3-1).
It’s hard to knock a horse who’s never been defeated. Giant Moon is 4-for-4 and never has taken a backward step on performance figures. He has tactical speed, position, is fresh, and has the meet’s leading rider, Ramon Dominguez. But there are two red flags in terms of accepting a short price. While he’s bred for wet, he’s never even trained on it, and picking up four pounds at 120, he spots the entire field weight. Not ideal when facing your toughest challenge to date.
Roman Emperor, like Texas Wildcatter, is on a good line, and figures to move forward. Thirty-five days fresh since his last, he appreciated the added ground in the Whirlaway, the same distance as today’s race. He is training very well at his Fair Hill base and regular rider Jeremy Rose will travel north on Route 95 for the mount on the son of long-winded Empire Maker. He, too, has tactical speed and can kick.
Texas Wildcatter settled for third, beaten two lengths by Roman Emperor last out after losing focus but Seth Benzel, Todd Pletcher’s New York deputy, will be adding blinkers this afternoon. He, too, never has taken a backward step and is poised for a forward move with Norberto Arroyo Jr. on the re-ride. The son of Monarchos should be able to handle any footing thrown his way.
When last seen, Visionaire was finished third in Pyro’s Risen Star Stakes and trainer Michael Matz, not wanting to walk into that meat grinder again this afternoon, ships into New York from his South Florida training center and budding star Jose Lezcano will ride him back for the third time this afternoon. This long-legged colt might have been too close to the early Risen Star pace and has been much more effective making a late run. Having drawn the extreme outside post, the early line favorite might have no choice here, which can work to his benefit.
We’ll opt for whatever value we can find with Roman Emperor to win at 9-2 or greater, and will key him first and second in trifectas with our three main contenders and the very speedy wet-track loving Saratoga Russell (4-1).
Running Totals: (187) 64-41-21. Total Dollar Return: $401.80 [win selections only]
Written by John Pricci