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, August 01, 2007

Money To Be Made In De La Rose

The nominal feature that begins Week 2 at Saratoga is the relatively new De La Rose Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on the inner turf course. The key to the outcome is whether 2-1 early line favorite Roshini draws into the race from the also-eligible list.

She’s talented, classy, hails from top connections and owns the fastest performance figure, but we hope she doesn’t draw in. It’s a much better betting race without her.

We’ll concentrate on four fillies as win possibilities, from the inside, out: A True Pussycat (10-1), Amansara (5-1), Ballet Pacifica (5-2) and Beat the Band (10-1).

A True Pussycat earned an excellent figure two starts back, competitive with this group, then was seriously compromised by a slow pace last time out. The conditions today suit her better, Alan Garcia is riding well even if his business has fallen off at this meet, and the filly is nicely drawn inside.

Amansara earned a figure that’s as good as any of these fillies, Roshini notwithstanding, last year as a three-year-old. With four-year-old maturity and from a barn that‘s profitable with its returning absentees, George Weaver’s, she could easily prove the best of these if set for her best go. An inside post and Edgar Prado can’t hurt. As an absentee, she could provide good value.

Ballet Pacifica has shown promise since shipping across the pond. She’s fast, consistent, is also coming off a turf decline line on the Equiform scale (hungry pace) and figures to move forward. She comes off an especially tough trip and might respond very favorably to the addition of blinkers. Stable rider Julien Leparoux takes the call from Patrick Biancone.

Beat the Band earned the fastest performance figure at Monmouth last time, has excellent early speed, and attracts Ramon Dominguez. Trainer Larry Jones is profitable with his shippers and his turf runners. Last out, the five-year-old was an excellent second to a consistent and talented graded stakes performer.

This race is a tough call but could be worth the trouble. Roshini, an unlikely starter, is the most probable winner but you wouldn’t want less than early line odds to win from a wide post. We’ll take Amansara to win at 5-1 or greater and take her in all trifecta positions with the other three (or four) fillies. Additionally, we would use Rich Fantasy (15-1), third on trifecta tickets.

Running Totals: (70) 33-13-10 Dollar Return: $193.20

Written by John Pricci

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Most Distinguished Most Probable Winner

Interesting feature to conclude the first week of Saratoga 139, the 15th running of the Grade 2 Amsterdam for three-year-old colts. What makes it really interesting is the lack of form among most of the participants at the 6-½-furlong distance.

But there are some fast horses on board and we’ll concentrate on the three outside horses: Americanus (5-2), Most Distinguished (2-1) and Forty Grams (12-1).

Americanus has improved markedly since the Gary Contessa claim. After just missing behind Grand Champion, he destroyed three rivals going seven-eighths on June 23rd, improving his lifetime slate to (7) 4-2-0. This hybrid distance is for specialists that can handle it. The closest dynamic to it is seven furlongs, meaning he should like the ground.

Most Distinguished did just that with his first rate placing behind the battle tested Teuflesberg in the G2 Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The spacing is good here and the Dixie Union colt comes off a best of 59 half-mile on the Oklahoma training track of :46 4/5. He has the speed to lay close and the kick to get home. The early line favorite looms the most likely winner. Rafael Bejarano rides for Nick Zito.

Forty Grams seems a most generous 12-1. Highly competitive in graded stakes while on the Derby Trail this spring, he returns freshened by Steve Asmussen and has worked purposefully for his Saratoga debut. The distance might suit this colt perfectly and Edgar Prado gets the call for the first time. Given the turnback into a sprint, he’ll be running late.

Taking Most Distinguished to win at 8-5 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with Americanus and Forty Grams.

Running Totals: (69) 32-13-10 Dollar Return: $186.80

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jim Dandy Favorite Has Street Cred

As opposed to yesterday’s extremely contentious Whitney, you won’t need a road map to find the favorite for today’s traditional Travers prep, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy.

Kentucky Derby winning Street Sense is the 2-5 overnight choice to win it and, on paper, he’s impossible to beat. His class and talent are obvious. His performances figures tower over the competition.

But it’s not like there aren’t interesting horses in here. To wit: Sightseeing (10-1), Tiz Wonderful (9-2) and C P West (6-1).

Shug McGaughey has been waiting patiently to race Sightseeing around two turns since his somewhat surprisingly strong effort in the Wood Memorial. Everything about him, style and pedigree, to name two attributes, indicates that two turns is his game. He showed his class to win the G2 Peter Pan despite being compromised by soft fractions. He had little chance subsequently, Any Given Saturday running the entire field off their feet in a rapidly run Dwyer.

Undefeated Tiz Wonderful is returning from an injury. When last seen, he was defeating Any Given Saturday and eventual Blue Grass winner Dominican in the Kentucky Jockey Stakes at 2. He’s been training with extreme purpose, as Steve Asmussen obviously is intending to double-team Street Sense with this colt and, of course, his Preakness hero, Curlin.

C P West hasn’t been seen since finding himself on the lead in the Belmont, a race Nick Zito, in a perfect world, probably would have skipped. He showed in the Preakness that he belonged with the division’s best, and his last two works for this were very strong. Unusual for Zito to work his horses on the main track here. Make of that what you will.

Obviously, Street Sense is the most probable winner, no price restrictions, and, in the interests of value, we’ll make one wager, a cold exacta with Sightseeing.

Running Totals: (67) 30-13-10 Dollar Return: $171.10 [Saturday’s results not included]

Written by John Pricci

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