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.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Man Does Not Live by Aqueduct Alone

With Aqueduct closed until Dec. 26, we will concentrate on one of the more popular simulcast signals in the country, that from Tampa Bay Downs. On days when Tampa is unavailable, we’ll look at either Calder or Fair Grounds as an alternative until New York is back on line.

Today’s feature race at Tampa Bay Downs, the ninth, is intriguing. Four of the nine entered have a good chance to score--and that estimate might be conservative. We’ll take a brief look at McLovin (8-1), Chief Talkeetna (4-1), Mr. Flatter (7-2) and Greeley’s Voice (2-1).

Classifying this group is a challenge. How good, for instance, is McLovin, having won a pair restricted claimers at Finger Lakes--his last a non-winners of three in life. He earned excellent figures in those wins and trainer James Wright is dealing a hot hand, 25 percent efficient in the last few months.

Hard knowing what to do with Chief Talkeetna on a different level. He won three fast races after being claimed by Wesley Ward--the last two dropping significantly in class--where he was again claimed. Will $5,000 be a bargain price, or the cost of damaged goods? This 4-year-old gelding is extremely fast and versatile.

Mr. Flatter return from a layup for a top return outfit. Trainer Freddie Hyatt is highly profitable returning from layoffs of greater than 90 days, he has upside potential as a 3-year-old and his early season figures indicate he can compete on figures here given the added maturity. He loves the surface and retains his regular partner.

Greeley’s Voice is likely to get the best trip, stalking outside at this hybrid distance which should augur well. Like Chief Talkeetna, he’s worked brilliantly for this.

Taking whatever value is offered on Mr. Flatter to win at 3-1 or greater, boxing him in the exacta with Greeley's Voice, and keying him first and second in trifectas with all main rivals listed here.

Running Totals: (327) 98-67-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weathering a Quick Turnaround

Clearly the Ladies Handicap has fallen on hard times. First it lost its grade and next year it is discontinued. The hits just keep coming; meanwhile a look at the 10-furlong feature for fillies and mares 3 & up.

The post time favorite is nearly certain to be Sweet Goodbye (5-2), shipping in looking to extend her winning streak to six. She has excellent early speed, can carry it, and has enough pedigree to stretch out to a mile and quarter. Trainer Christopher Gove has compiled a fine record in non-graded stakes. Regular rider JD Acosta is up from Maryland for the ride.

An interesting filly is surface lover Runway Rosie, a four-year-old who’s won half her six starts on this ground with two seconds. Of greater significance is that her best performance figures were earned over it as well. Rajiv Maragh, on a tear of late, is her steady partner and she has won when fresh. The problem might be that the layup is not a particular strength of the Contessa. It might be worth finding out at anything near early line odds.

But we’re going back to Weathered (3-1), even if she returns on only one day rest. That’s no typo: one day rest. It’s been done successfully before. A horse named No Bias did it back in the 80s. She has tactical speed, is rugged as they come, has a two sided pedigree for the added ground and trainer Karl Grusmark is a worthy 2-for-11 with horses returning on less than five days rest. Given these conditions, she’s not the kind of horse that figures to get an overwhelming amount of mutuel support.

Taking Weathered to win at 3-1 or greater and boxing her first and second in exactas with her rivals here.

Running Totals: (327) 98-67-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nothing Whimsical About this Play

It’s not often when a five-horse field offers a good betting opportunity. But that might be the case in today’s Grade 3 Queens County Handicap that has drawn a field of five.

What bettors need to ask themselves is if they will get the same effort from recent Stuyvesant winner Dry Martini (8-5). The answer is unlikely.

Will Billy Turner’s five-year-old get the same tiring wet conditions over which he won that recent Grade 3 on the main oval. Is he capable of running back to that performance figure? Also unlikely, and at a short price.

And what about Researcher (5-2)? Is he as good as his recent Equiform figures indicate? Empirically, no. Figures earned at Mountaineer and Charles Town don’t usually translate with shifts to a major circuit. It might be the winter track but it’s still New York.

What we like about Sir Whimsey (7-2) is the fact that he handles any kind of footing, has won on this surface, makes his second start in the Asmussen barn--always a good percentage, profitable play--earned his best figure at today’s 9-½ furlong distance, and gets a rider switch to Ramon Dominguez. Despite the short field, two of his rivals should ensure an honest pace for the distance.

Taking Sir Whimsey at 5-2 or greater and keying him first and second in trifectas (if available) with his two rivals here.

Running Totals: (326) 98-67-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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