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, December 12, 2007

Promising Colts Clash in Capote

Today’s feature is the kind that causes some excitement, soon-to-be three-year-old colts sprinting six furlongs in the Capote Stakes. What’s interesting about this one is that it has it all; speed, mid-movers and finishers. We’ll look at three of the seven entered:

Grand Minstrel (3-1) middle-moved into a hot-for-the-day pace in his latest start, effectively ruining his winning prospects. His prior performance figure was a career best effort, the best in the race, and he’s come back subsequently to work purposefully and fast. He’s recent bullet half-mile was best of 89 workers and Jimmy Jerkens switches to Eibar Coa, a winner of two of five for this barn recently. He figures to be in this from his inside draw throughout.

Red Reef (9-2) is undefeated in two career starts and has shown the ability to kick late, an effective ploy if suicidal fractions prevail here, a distinct possibility. The white hot Tony Dutrow saddles this one for the prolific Zayat Stables and the Red Ransom colt gets a switch to Ramon Dominguez, who’s nine for his last 19 rides for this barn. He’s worked thrice at five-eighths since his latest Pha. Park score, including two over today’s surface. He would benefit most from a pace meltdown.

Go Go Shoot (8-1) is a well named home-bred owned by sensational Duke point guard Bobby Hurley. The gelding set a pressured, albeit relatively soft pace, but then drew off strongly from in front to earn a competitive figure score. The Songandaprayer gelding won its first race and now returns from a barn, Jimmy Ryerson’s, that’s a profitable 24 percent effective with second-time starters.

But we’re taking the new-pace-top, Grand Minstrel, to win at 5-2 or greater, and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (146) 53-31-16. Total Dollar Return: $318.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Damon Runyon Would Love This Value Play

Today’s feature for state-bred juveniles, the Damon Runyon, is a good one despite having drawn six entrants. Half this field could easily win it.

Giant Moon breaks from the rail and has been handled very deliberately. Undefeated in two lifetime starts, he broke his maiden sprinting then won the Sleepy Hollow on the stretch out to a mile in his Belmont finale. Today’s added sixteenth can only the son of Giant’s Causeway. He will stalk from close range beneath Ramon Dominguez and a victory today should earn him the New York-bred juvenile title.

Spanky Fischbein is the most experienced to date and the most accomplished. Winner of a state-bred stakes last out, he finished second in three other stakes including the open class Tyro at Monmouth last summer. He, too, will stalk from close range and his experience is a big plus here. He’s never taken a backward step on performance figures and is a deserving favorite. John Velazquez rides for Todd Pletcher.

Coastal Drive is interesting. A $25,000 claim by Rick Dutrow, he returned in the Sleepy Hollow, finished very well, and lost a narrow photo from Giant Moon. The race shape suits him here with plenty of speed signed on, he’s demonstrated the best late kick thus far, owing to his stout bottom-side pedigree and, as a non-stakes winner, gets six pounds from the two likely public choices. Additionally, he’s stabled at Aqueduct and is the only major contender with as much as a workout over the racing surface.

Taking the value here with Coastal Drive to win at 4-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with Giant Moon and Spanky Fischbein. Trifectra players can add Captain Backfire (8-1) in money positions.

Running Totals: (145) 53-31-16. Total Dollar Return: $318.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Developing Four-Year-Olds Dominate Big A’s Queens County

A wave of nostalgia washed over me as I noted today’s feature is the G3 Queens County at 1-3/16 miles for older horses. This event used to mark the end of the New York season. It was run on the main track in late November. The season then began anew on or about March 20.

So much for better days.

Today’s renewal drew six entrants and four could be rated as serious contenders. We’ll concentrate on three: Hunting (9-5), Barcola (6-1) and Marital Asset (5-2).

Hunting is common off a career best, an incremental and not explosive one, meaning that there may just be more to come here. He finished with a flourish to win the Stuyvesant three weeks ago following a switch to Alan Garcia, who rides him back here. As a 4-year-old, this late developer still has some upside and Shug McGaughey finally might be tapping into this colt’s potential. With all the speed signed on here, the race shape couldn’t suit him any better.

Barcola is by definition the fastest here on performance figures. His lifetime best, significantly, came on this winter surface, over which he is 1-for-1. This 4-year-old always was well regarded by his connections and on some afternoons he’s positively brilliant. His last was a bit of a clunker, but if figured to be. Now back on his proven favorite surface, he’s is drawn inside the other speeds and gets a switch to the aggressive Eibar Coa. He’s certain to be live here.

Marital Asset used to be in the same barn as Barcola, Mark Hennig’s. But Edward Evans made the switch to Anthony Dutrow for a fall and winter campaign and this 4-year-old is 2-for-2. Since those efforts came sprinting at Philly Park, it’s hard to know how he will react here. But his figures improved dramatically for the white-hot Dutrow (duh) and he meets far better stock on the rise in class and distance today. The equally hot Ramon Dominguez rides.

We must take the rapid Barcola at odds of 7-2 or more, keying him first and second in exactas with his two main rivals listed, and first and second in trifecta, adding old pro Evening Attire to the mix.

Running Totals: (144) 53-30-16. Total Dollar Return: $318.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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