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.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Commentator’s Record at Distance Speaks Volumes

Today’s feature is a legitimate classic event, the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, a.k.a. the Met Mile for three year olds and up at eight furlongs. Three horses of interest are; the favorite, Commentator at 6-5, Divine Park (5-2) and Z Humor (8-1), half of the Ahmed Zayat entry.

Commentator rates top billing and is a deserving favorite. He’s never lost at the mile distance, earns the best performance figures with consistency and loves this surface. Not only has he won four races at this venue but he also has earned his best figures here. He comes back fresh, just the way he fares best.

Divine Park has moved up miles since he switched barns to Kiaran McLaughlin’s. His last at the distance was absolutely first rate, not only showing the ability to stalk from close range in hot fractions, winning his Belmont debut and improving his record at this distance to 2-for-2. Alan Garcia gets the re-ride and he would be the beneficiary if anyone can press the favorite early.

Z Humor is interesting. When last seen he was finishing 16th in Big Brown’s Kentucky Derby and now turns back to a distance more suited to his talents. Three-year-olds have won this race before, based on their talents and weight advantages, he worked rapidly for the race and returns to the surface over which he earned his best figure as a juvenile. He’ll be running late vs. field loaded with speed and stalker types. He’ll likely be a big price and has a nice insurance policy in stablemate Premium Wine.

Taking to Commentator to win, no price restrictions, exacta keys first and second with his main rivals here, and first in trifectas with those contenders.

Running Totals: (211) 68-45-24. Total Dollar Return: $422.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dream Rush Set to Roll in Vagrancy

Today’s featured Vagrancy Handicap, a Grade 2 sprint for older fillies and mares at 6-½ marks the season’s debut for the leading three-year-old sprinting filly of 2007 for her new connections. Dream Rush is the 4-5 early line favorite and she will be a tough out. The competition will come from Baroness Thatcher (3-1) and Any Limit (10-1).

At three, Dream Rush earned faster performance figures than any of her competitors here. With four-year-old maturity, a significant early pace edge, and trainer Rick Violette undoubtedly wishing to please the new owns quickly; we expect a peak effort. Regular rider Eibar Coa is in the boot.

Baroness Thatcher was an excellent second in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff last out and turns back a half furlong here. She was competitive with the favorite last year and she is showing strong developmental signs. She has a conditioning edge, a favorable outside position and JR has the re-ride.

Any Limit ran a career best going turf to dirt last year while stretching out, just as she does today. Second off the layup, the Chief reaches out for position conscious Cornelio Velasquez. She has enough tactical speed to get into position early and can land a significant share of this with anticipated improvement.

Taking Dream Rush to win, no price restrictions, an exacta key box with her two rivals here, and trifectas keying her on top.

Running Totals: (210) 68-44-24. Total Dollar Return: $422.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mauralakana vs J’ray in ThisClose Sheepshead Bay

Finally, a turf race with a name on it, the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap, and it appears that two horses will dominate the top of the ticket: J’ray (5-2) and Mauralakana (2-1).

J’ray has earned consistently good performance figures all her life. But when you come with her late run, you had better time it perfectly. She’s capable of racing closer to the pace which would make her job easier then again it might not pay to take her out of her comfort zone. Either way, she’s a rough customer here.

Mauralakana virtually earns the same figures as her main rival and their figures are just consistently faster than the rest. In terms of class, she’s well placed with this group and might own the best sustained turn of foot. Hopefully, Mr. Desormeaux will make that run judiciously. She’s been going very well since moving to the Clement barn.

Taking Mauralakana to win at 2-1 or greater, an exacta box with J’ray, and trifectas with money prospect Herboriste (6-1).

Running Totals: (209) 67-44-24. Total Dollar Return: $416.80 [win selections only] {Friday results not included in totals}

Written by John Pricci

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