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, February 07, 2009

A Formful Whirlaway Result Highly Likely Today at Aqueduct

Today’s featured Whirlaway at a mile and a sixteenth is one of the three stakes for racing’s glamour division this afternoon. The two turner has attracted a half dozen three year olds and every one is on a positive line, to one degree of another, which will make the outcomes interesting and instructive.

Unfortunately, two of the six, overnight line favorite Haynesfield (1-1) and second favorite Peace Town (2-1) have a significant edge on performance figures. In good conscience, it’s impossible to pick against either or both.

Haynesfield is clearly the fastest. While not particularly impressive visually last out, he earned a New Pace Top on the Equiform scale despite being stoutly restrained in an effort to get him to relax. How effective it is as a learning experience will be the pudding’s proof this afternoon.

Peace Town, meanwhile, earned a figure competitive to the favorite’s two back then returned to win at today’s distance in a Maryland-bred stakes last out. He has tactical speed and can finish, shipping in for Mike Trombetta who is profitable for a career in non-graded stakes such as this. Julien Pimentel will attempt to win his fourth race without defeat aboard the colt.

With not much to choose between them in terms of price, we’ll take Haynesfield to win, no price restriction, boxing the exacta with Peace Town and keying him first in trifectas adding Hehasnosay (10-1) and Cellar Dweller (10-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (358) 110-72-47 Total Dollar Return: $775.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, February 06, 2009

Sharp Is as Sharp Does

A very interesting state-bred stakes restricted to older New York-breds, the Rough Rough Stakes at a mile and 70 yards that presents an unusual opportunity to secure value.

After all, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen when a sharp, improving allowance type meets established heavy heads?

The two classy state-breds that will take beating are the returning Giant Moon and another recent returnee making his third start off a layoff, Icabad Crane.

Giant Moon is making his first start since finishing unplaced in the Preakness Stakes, having been beaten a mere two lengths in his Grade 1 Wood Memorial prior. Again partnered with Ramon Dominguez, he returns with the rail and his noted tactical speed for the capable return outfit of Rick Schosberg.

With the two other speed types signed on from outside posts, we look for Ramon to establish his ground saving position given the short run into the first turn.

Meanwhile, Icabad Crane will be laying back beneath Jeremy Rose, his third start for Graham Motion and a favorable scenario for that accomplished barn. Third in last year’s Preakness, when last seen he was suffering through an eventful trip in the Alex M. Robb on this surface Dec. 28. A sharp pace would make him very formidable.

But it’s the improving Manteca who’s the most interesting. This four-year-old son of the late developing sire Aptitude, Manteca’s just now coming into his own as he seeks his fourth consecutive score after winning his last three starts by an aggregate 17-¾ lengths.

He’s got tactical speed and kick, a neat inside draw, and Rajiv Maragh rides him like he owns him. He appears capable of stepping up to this level and we’ll take him at 4-1 or greater, keying him in exactas with his classy rivals here.

Running Totals: (357) 109-72-47 Total Dollar Return: $768.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Oh, Nellie

Interesting feature, a preliminary allowances optional claimer drawing a good sized competitive group of sprinting fillies and mares. Three caught our attention here.

Starship Cruiser (3-1) is the logical favorite. Rick Dutrow trainee suffered through a wide trip in her promising surface debut. Owning tactical speed and an inside draw, Jeffrey Sanchez should secure better position on the re-ride this afternoon. She has cycled back to top form and figures to her ‘A’ race here.

Victorious Dream (7-2) is a rapidly improving four-year-old who improved to a career equally performance off the David Jacobson claim, who enters her back at a higher grade here, certainly a sign of confidence. She has had sufficient recovery time and is poised for another possible forward move. Any improvement allows her to repeat here and a speed-favoring oval could seal that deal.

Tis Cactus Nellie (4-1) makes her first second start off Michael Maker’s claim, following an effort in which she stumbled badly at the start, effectively losing all chance. But she earned extra points in that performance, finishing willingly in a change-of-pace try in the third start of her career, indicating she might be multi-dimensional.

Four-year-old filly gets a switch to Ramon Dominguez, who’s 3-for-6 riding for this outfit, and did we mention that Maker is a profitable 37 percent efficient second time off the claim? Well, he is.

Taking Tis Cactus Nellie to win at 5-2 or greater, keying her first and second in exactas with her main rivals here, extra ticket with Victorious Dream.

Running Totals: (356) 109-72-47 Total Dollar Return: $768.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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