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, March 14, 2009

Ya’ Gotta’ Have Heart

Today’s feature is the Grade 3 Cicada for three year old fillies sprinting six furlongs. As you might expect, we find a field with horses returning on a month’s rest, or making their season’s debuts at various stages of development.

With this being a sprint, it’s always wise to look for a pace edge and we found a filly who qualifies nicely. Not only is she coming out of the hottest-pace races recently but she doesn’t need the lead to be effective.

Using pace at any point of the race when sprinting is how races are won. Hopefully, that’s just what C.C. Lopez will do with Heart Ashley (5-2), shipping north from New Orleans for Steve Asmussen.

While her final figures are not as fast as many of her rivals, she’s poised for a forward move and likely is set to use her pace edge to best advantage. Leave it up to C.C. to play this one off the break. If she’s on the lead, fine. If not, that’s good, too.

The one to feat is Dream Play (7-5), recent blowout winner of the Dearly Precious in very fast time. But she figures to be under the gun meeting quicker and breaking from the rail, not to mention that she’s eligible for a regression.

On the plus side, however, she’s making her third start off the layup, a profitable 26 percent angle for the McLaughlin barn, and her recent half-mile work in :47 3/5, termed breezing, was second fastest of 113 three-year-old to work during a seven-day span. She’s be a tough out.

But we’ll take any value offered on Heart Ashley, looking for 5-2 or better, and making an exacta box with the favorite.

Running Totals: (381) 116-78-52 Total Dollar Return: $810.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, March 13, 2009

A Fugitive from Chalk Dust

The Friday feature is actually the third race today and despite the small field it’s highly contentious and open. These three year old allowance fillies are at various stages of development and are either returning on relatively short rest making their returns from lengthy layups or brief freshening, in short, a little of everything.

The temptation is to try to beat the favorite and we will, conceding that Flashing (8-5) is fastest and returning from a rough trip in a stakes for leading rider Ramon Dominguez at the very live Albertrani barn. Boleyn (5-2) is classy, having finished second in the Demoiselle last fall and also hails from a hot outfit, Todd Pletcher’s.

But while Karakorum Fugitive (3-1) is returning in three weeks and picking up weight to carry 122 pounds, there’s really no telling how good this undefeated New York bred is. She just might be good enough to make it three straight given the pole, tactical speed and her ability to overcome trouble.

Her recent bullet half-mile work in :47 1/5 was the fastest of 113 three-year-olds to work during a seven day period--and that includes colts. As we said, no telling how good, but we’re sure to find out a lot more here.

Taking Karakorum Fugitive to win at 5-2 or greater, boxing an exacta with Flashing, and adding Boleyn and McVictory (8-1), experienced and reuniting with Maragh, to the trifecta mix second and third.

Running Totals: (380) 116-78-51 Total Dollar Return: $810.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Judge William Hoping Justice Prevails

The thing about the luck Judge William (7-2) is having is the joke about if it weren’t for bad luck… Actually, it’s been no joke. He hasn’t been able to get a clear trip all this young year and when he didn’t toward the end of last year they were impossibly wide trips.

All this while facing better stock as his main rivals here; All In No Outs (3-1) and Icalzando (5-2) have been beating weaker, but doing so with authority and are undeniably two geldings on the improve.

Each enjoys a tactical race-shape edge over the late-running Judge William breaking from the extreme outside in this $50,000 starter allowance two-turner. But perhaps C. C. Lopez can find a way to save some ground, somewhere and get a clear-run opportunity.

On performance figures, All In No Outs is coming from the fastest race but appears susceptible to a regression. Icalzando is not quite as fast but the four year old is learning to distribute his energy more efficiently. But we’ll go for the value offered.

Taking Judge William to win at 3-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (379) 116-78-50 Total Dollar Return: $810.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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