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, November 17, 2007


Shippers Dominate Stuyvesant Form


Today’s feature is a staple of the Aqueduct fall season, the Grade 3 Stuyvesant at nine furlongs for older horses. This renewal has drawn an array of talent from various venues and they seem to hold the key to this. We’ll concentrate on two of those shippers, Awfully Smart (4-1) and Barcola (5-2).

Awfully Smart is racing in raging form for Alan Goldberg, a prolific ship-in horseman. Attracting an underrated Rajiv Maragh, this four-year-old is by definition the fastest of this group. Not only does he have excellent tactical speed but his stamina will permit him to run early and late and still get the job done. At early line odds, he is an attractive play for a barn that’s 21 percent efficient with horses seeking to repeat.

Barcola clearly is the most improved horse in this group and comes up to this seven weeks fresh for Mark Hennig. We might be caught in an early line trap here as it’s a poor percentage move backing an runner from the extreme outside slip with the short run into the first turn, particularly as the favorite. But if the crowd sees it the same way, his post time odds might be even higher than the early line. Hennig has been impressed with how Kendrick Karmouche handles the 4-year-old and the rider will ship north from his Maryland base.

Taking Awfully Smart to win at 3-1 or greater and an exacta box with Barcola. (These two are so close that if their odds were reversed, so might have been the play. Interesting two-turner, indeed).

Running Totals: (131) 46-29-14. Total Dollar Return: $272.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, November 16, 2007


Recent Claim Tested for Class in Big A Feature


Racing is expected to resume today following Thursday’s track-condition cancellation with a very tricky starter allowance sprint for three-year-olds going six furlongs. The key is knowing what to do with early line favorite Law N Dora (5-2). The major competition, from the inside, out, should come from Starship Dancer (8-1), Sonic Boom and Double Or Nothing (7-2).

The key clearly is the favorite that ran off and hid in its debut at The Meadowlands going five and a half furlongs. Will he give the same effort here, vs. tougher ore experienced rivals going a longer distance off one start? Not an easy answer to that one.

Alan Seewald clearly caught Steve Asmussen taking his best hold, reaching in and claiming the first-time starter for $40,000. Off that rapidly run debut, it certainly looks like a good claim. He’s worked a bullet since that visually impressive score and Sean Elliott ships in to ride the promising youngster.

Starship Dancer showed marked improvement for Bruce Levine in his Meadowlands finale but he also is making his Big A debut while up in class and distance.

Sonic Boom is coming off a new pace top and has some relatively competitive figures to run back to. He is expected to improve with blinkers added and Eddie Castro will ride him back for Gary Contessa. He seems to have the most upset potential.

Double Or Nothing improved in his first start off the Dutrow acquisition as all of them do and he does attract Edgar Prado. While he figures to improve in this spot, his outside draw is compromising in a somewhat sizable field. Prospects are that he may be overbet.

Will take the promising favorite to win, but at no lower than 8-5. Also making an exacta box with Sonic Boom, and keying Law N Dora first and second in trifectas with all three major contenders.

Running Totals: (130) 45-29-14. Total Dollar Return: $266.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, November 15, 2007


Turning Up the Heat in Big A Feature


Today’s feature is a real scramble, a preliminary allowances, optional claiming $75,000 for three-year-old fillies and older sprinting six furlongs. Six of the eight fillies could easily win it. Resultantly, we’ll narrow our focus to two: Carolina Fuego (8-1) and Sunset Cocktail (9-2).

Carolina Fuego has been somewhat in and out but fits very well here on her best try. Adding blinkers, trainer Leah Gyarmati also switches to Johnny Velazquez, the team winning at a better than 20 percent rate. The filly was a very game second in a Delaware Park stakes two back, owns tactical speed and kick and owns the co-highest Equiform performance figure on the page/ The real attraction, of course, is the price.

Sunset Cocktail turns back to her best distance while shipping in for the talented Derek Ryan shed and attracts Frankie Pennington, perennially among the leading riders at Philly Park, shipping along for the ride. Victimized by a rough trip in a recent state-bred stakes, she turns back to the distance that saw her finished a game second in quickly run heat. Like ‘Fuego’, she should provide value in a very competitive sprint.

Taking Carolina Fuego to win at 4-1 or greater and an exacta box with Sunset Cocktail.

Running Totals: (130) 45-29-14. Total Dollar Return: $266.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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