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.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Bargain Despite Short Price

Todayís feature is a secondary allowances/optional claiming for older sprinters going three-quarters of a mile. Itís a closely matched group of eight including two entries. Since different jockeys are named on both sets of entries, our guess is that all could start.

Weíll focus of three, from the inside, out: Executive Fleet (7-2), I Ainít No Saint (9-5), and the Gary Contessa entry (8-5) of Maddyís Lion and Royal Moment.

Executive Fleet was entered in a two-turner yesterday, but will be withdrawn by local rule in favor of todayís sprint, which makes perfect sense. Half of his four lifetime victories came at six furlongs and he has the benefit of conditioning, turning back from a quickly run route last out. The pole position is winning at a 24% rate and his tactical speed and kick figures to benefit from a likely contested. But this is a quicker group than heís used to.

I Ainít No Saint is a little anti-profile for a David Jacobson trainee. Heís a freshened sprinter for one thing, and heíll be ridden by Ramon Dominguez. This is not your typical stable rider situation. I Ainít No Saint is winless at the distance, which is problematical, but his recent performance figures vs. better sprinters are more than competitive. As a closing sprinter going short, he will be suited by the hot-pace scenario. As a 4-year-old, he still owns developmental upside. His last two Equiform figures were excellent.

Both Maddyís Lion and Royal Moment are coming back on very short rest for Contessa. In the formerís case, itís the most likely claiming spot, having been haltered for $35,000 last week and in for $50K here. Interestingly, heís been defeated twice recently by his stable-mate. The barn is a profitable 20% effective first time off the claim.

Mate Royal Moment, meanwhile, was very impressive winning his most recent, rapidly run score over a surface he obviously loves ([6] 3-1-1). Mike Luzzi, aboard for the win last week, takes the re-ride on this tactical speedster breaking from an advantageous outside position. A repeat of his last puts him the the picture here.

Not getting fancy here and taking the two-for-one proposition, the payoff improving should one be scratched: The Contessa entry to win at early odds of 8-5 or greater, with trifecta key boxes first and second Executive Fleet, I Ainít No Saint and new pace top Hesogoodwithmoney (5-1).

Running Totals: (164) 60-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We’re Back In Action, Hurrah!

The New York racing week begins with a highly competitive secondary allowance/optional claimer for older horses going a mile and 70 yards. Itís drawn a full field, including two stable couplings.

Weíll take a closer look at three, from the rail, out: No Reply (4-1), Run With The Lark (5-1) and Hurrah (3-1). (Given his last effort, I would include normally recent claim Ricardo A (12-1) to the mix but donít understand why a trainer would add blinkers to a nine-year-old veteran coming off an open-lengths win). [See today's blog on lead page]

No Reply is not nearly as fast as some of the older veterans in here but the 4-year-old gelding has considerable upside, the pole position, fitís the race shape nicely with realistic pace up front, and the McLaughlin barn is a profitable 24% with horses trying to repeat. Alan Garcia, who made his early bones with McLaughlin trainees, is in the boot.

Run With The Lark was a fast, impressive winner two back then apparently was too ambitiously spotted in the Alex M. Robb off the big-figure win. He failed to pick up his feet. This spot is a lot more realistic and half his lifetime wins have come on this surface, at this distance. Norberto Arroyo accepts the mount once again on the Schosberg trainee. Should he run back to his Dec. 2nd effort, heís a very serious player.

Hurrah has been racing in excellent form, including two game placings on the winter track before being claimed by record-setting Gary Contessa last out. The barn is a profitable 19% following the claim. Mike Luzzi replaces the white hot Stewart Elliott, who opts for Ricardo A here. This veteran has the tactical speed to assume a stalking position from his outside slip and enough kick to seal the deal. A repeat of his Equiform figure two starts back wins this.

Taking Hurrah at 5-2 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with No Reply and Run With The Lark, and keying him in all money positions in trifectas, including longshot Ricardo A.

Running Totals: (163) 59-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $371.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pletcher vs. Pletcher vs. Contessa vs. Pletcher Again?

Just when you think nothing can surprise you in this game, you find out otherwise. Not a big deal, I suppose, but never thought Iíd see a six horse field with three uncoupled entrant from one barn.

But Mr. Pletcher will start half the field in the six-filly Busanda for three-year-olds going a mile and 70 yards on the winter track. Pletcher has himself to beat--and Gary Contessa, too. The three major contenders are Sunday Elegance (3-1), Paint Me Red (5-2) and La Porta (4-1).

Sunday Elegance attracts the hottest rider on the grounds this week; Stewart Elliott. When last seen, Sunday Elegance was showing improved early speed after encountering trouble on the first turn when ambitiously placed in the Grade 2 Demoiselle. Seven weeks freshening, a drop in class, the pole at this distance and Elliott makes her quite formidable here. By definition, she is the fastest filly on performance figures, albeit over a muddy Monmouth surface.

Paint Me Red is up from South Florida making her first start for the Contessa barn. She was competitive with some salty Calder fillies as a two-year-old and Contessa has had six weeks to figure her out. Sheís never run a bad race and looks well spotted in her local debut. An inside post and Ramon Dominguez doesnít hurt.

La Porta, like Sunday Elegance, hails from the Pletcher shed and sheís developing very nicely. She showed improved speed with good energy distance while earning a good figure in her second start then showed improved stamina in her two turn debut while breaking her maiden over this surface after setting a slow pace. She showed some class on that occasion but has to deal with both mates, including a value laden Sumptuous (8-1). Mike Luzzi replaces Johnny Velazquez.

Still, we must take Sunday Elegance off the class relief and freshening at 2-1 or greater, and key her first and second in trifectas with three principal contenders listed here.

Running Totals: (162) 59-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $371.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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