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 29, 2008

Tale of Value

What the final Grade 1 of the NYRA season, the Cigar Mile, lacks in star quality it makes up for in competitiveness. What makes it more vexing is the fact that the fastest horse by definition is coming off a lengthy layoff for a barn not known to excel in those scenarios.

So many are capable of winning this: old warrior Wanderin Boy (4-1), the previously referenced Monterey Jazz (6-1), the fast, improved Kodiak Kowboy (7-2), streaking Big A lover Bribon (6-1), undefeated Storm Play (9-2), etc., etc. We must believe, however, events dictate that value is an imperative, and that Tale of Ekati (12-1) is the correct play.

Like Bribon, Tale OF Ekati loves Aqueduct. Prior to wining his most recent start, the G2 Jerome mile at Belmont, his best performance figure came in the G1 Wood Memorial this spring, in which he showed gameness with a rail run, emerging from close quarters with a game score.

His best effort came last out in the Jerome, a career best performance figure, but not so big as to project a certain regression. The Jerome is a one-turn mile, similar to today’s scenario, which suits this colt’s style best, that of a stretch running sprinter.

A three-year-old, he still has developmental potential and with 55 days rest and a series of strong, steady works. Despite meeting elders here, his 116 assignment seems fair. His tactical speed and ability to win from anywhere on the racetrack augurs well.

Taking the value offered on Tale of Ekati to win at 8-1 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with Wanderin Boy, adding Bribon, Kodiak Kowboy and Storm Play to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (319) 96-66-43. Total Dollar Return: $661.00 [win selections only] {Friday results not included}

Written by John Pricci


Friday, November 28, 2008

Wolfson Ships North for Slewfoundmoney

Marty Wolfson, who has an aversion to flying, may or may not come for the ride when Slewfoundmoney (7-2) ships in for today’s Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap at a flat mile on the Aqueduct main track.

Wolfson has always shown a deft hand with shippers, as his 27 percent strike rate can attest. But the pride of South Florida is having a career year, winning with 33 percent of his starters, and his stats get better when his horses seeking to repeat (39 percent).

This late developing four-year-old has really blossomed since moving into Wolfson’s shed several months ago. Her recent figures are first rate, competitive with all excepting Any Limit (3-1), the fastest mare here who’s working very well, but not as reliable as the ship-in at today’s distance. She, too, has been working bullets at her Florida base, has proven versatility and attracts position conscious Eddie Castro.

Taking Slewfoundmoney to win at 3-1 or greater, boxing her in the exacta with Any Limit, and adding Altesse (5-1) and Leah’s Secret (4-1) to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (318) 96-65-43. Total Dollar Return: $661.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks for a Hot Pace

The Fall Highweight Handicap, the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature, has drawn a talented, well matched field of nine going six furlongs on the Aqueduct main track. How you view the race depends on where you think of Idiot Proof, a proven classy sprinter that’s fallen on hard times in SoCal but ships into Bruce Levine’s New York barn, who’s a profitable 30 percent effective with new acquisitions. Or whether the ship out to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint took any remaining starch out of Grade 1 sprinter Fabulous Strike.

Then there’s the surging Grand Champion; the super talented but troubled Songster, and either of Rick Dutrow’s pair--quick turnaround Stormin Normandy and his new acquisition by way of Kentucky, Nakayama Arashi. Dutrow is 36 percent efficient first time off the claim. Despite the apparent lack of proven high class, the percentages favor Grand Champion and Nakayama Arashi.

No member of this field seems to be doing better at this moment than the Jimmy Jerkens five year old gelding. He’s won thrice beneath Eibar Coa, is the defending champion in this race, fits the race shape nicely with his tactical speed and late kick. And what he might lack in class he makes up for in consistency, with five wins in 11 starts at the distance with one off-the-board performance and he’s won two of three on the Big A main oval. He should sit an inside trip until Coa pushes the button.

Nakayama Arashiwas claimed from the underrated Akiko Gothard. This developing four-year-old has a pair of fairly recent races that would be very competitive here, he has the right running style vis a vis race shape and at 126 pounds gets in "light." Another factor: Normally outside positions are an advantage in one-turn sprints and--this colt is well drawn--that's especially ture under higher imposts. You don't want your momentum broken then try to re-rally under high weights.

So we'll take Nakayama Arashi to win at 8-1 or greater and exacta key boxes first and second with Grand Champion and Fabulous Strike, a classy weight carrier with regular rider Ramon Dominguez up.

Running Totals: (318) 96-65-43. Total Dollar Return: $661.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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