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, April 12, 2008

Short Price Preferable to Long Face

Today’s feature is the Grade 2 Comely for three-year-old fillies going a mile. There might not be any Kentucky Oaks fillies in the group but clearly the Acorn, Mother Goose and Coaching Club Oaks might see a few of these ladies.

It’s a tough puzzle with so many of these up in class and distance while others are turning back from two turns to one. The fillies we’ll concentrate on are the favorites, Lady Chace (8-5) and Zaftig (2-1).

Ordinarily, we’d try to find alternatives to these short-price propositions who both are steeping up in class and distance. But they’ve proven to be a lot faster than their rivals and speed in most likely to kill here.

Lady Chace earned an excellent figure winning at Gulfstream Park preliminary allowances, by far the fastest figure in the field, and Todd Pletcher is a profitable 29 percent effective with first-time routers. But what might make her vulnerable is the presence of early-speed types who might compromise her running style and returning on relatively short rest.

While Zaftig is not as fast and is only a recent maiden winner, she’s shown rare maturity with good energy distribution in both starts, including a good figure score on the stretch-out while delivering her best punch late.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is very effective with returnees coming back with more than sufficient rest and he taps Ramon Dominguez for the riding assignment. His extraordinary sense of pace is a valuable commodity given today’s tricky race shape.

Taking Zaftig and early line odds of 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Lady Chace.

Running Totals: (191) 64-41-22. Total Dollar Return: $401.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Feature Race Bettors Smell Blood

Today's feature is another uninspiring preliminary allowances for fillies and mares going a flat mile. The interesting fillies are Starship Cruiser (2-1), Hatta Diamond (6-1) and Fee Fi Fo Fum (8-5).

Starship Cruiser appears the stronger of the Rick Dutrow trained entry. She was an excellent second in a recent state-bred stakes, the barn is very effective with horses coming back on short rest and also versed with second starters off a layup and when adding blinkers. Additionally, she's 1-for-1 at today's distance.

Hatta Diamond's best career effort in four starts came going long and most recently showed much improved early speed, often a harbinger of an improved effort. She's also been capable of distributing her energy efficiently and hails from a barn that has won with four of its last nine starters through Wednesday.

Fee Fi Fo Fum showed high potential in her three-year-old season but was compromised by physical issues. She was consistently campaigned in stakes company on the main track, was scheduled to run on turf twice this year although one was washed off. She never has run at this reduced level on a fast track. She has earned good figures and is coming off a delayed pace top in her return to the main track. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has been very effective in recent years with Florida returnees and this miss has found a likely spot.

Taking Fee Fi Fo Fum to win, no price restrictions, and keying her in exacta boxes with her two main contenders.

Running Totals: (190) 64-41-22. Total Dollar Return: $401.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

No Guts, No Glory

Today's feature is challenging, a filly and mare sprint for state-breds going seven furlongs in a secondary allowances/optional $30,000 claimers. The problem is that a majority of the entrants are dropping, some fairly significantly. We will take a look at three: favorite Rizzi's Time (2-1), City In the Clouds (3-1) and Guts Game (8-1).

Rizzi's Time cannot be beaten on her ‘A' game. She's consistently faster than the group, has beaten better fillies, finds a perfect level and hails from a barn, Bruce Levine's, that, prior to yesterday, had won with 12 of its last 30 starters, nine in-the-money finishes notwithstanding. The only caution light is today's demanding sprint distance.

City In the Clouds, part of a Gary Contessa coupled entry, never has finished worse than second in three starts over this track including a victory. Competitive with tougher recently, the class drop makes sense and she returns to a distance at which she's compiled a respectable (4) 1-1-0 slate. Carol Cedeno has won with four of her last 13 rides for this barn, so this filly looks live.

Guts Game does not have the talent of the top two fillies but she's 2-for-2 on this track, has won off similar lengthy layoffs and won her only start at seven-eighths of a mile. While the barn doesn't specialize in layup types, this filly responds to a freshening and jockey Channing Hill is quietly having a very good year. Rizzi's Time is the most probable winner. At the price, Guts Game is the play.

Taking Guts Game to win at 6-1 or greater and keying her first and second in exacta boxes with her two major contenders here, and third in the trifecta with same.

Running Totals: (189) 64-41-22. Total Dollar Return: $401.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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