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.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Home Jerome?

Today’s Grade 2 Jerome at one mile for three-year-olds might produce a horse or two for the Breeders’ Cup. We’re thinking the Dirt Mile (mile and 70 yards at Monmouth).

And the three that are most likely in that scenario (Nick Zito’s pair notwithstanding) are, from the inside, out: Digger (7-2), Vitruvius (4-1) and Daaher (2-1).

Digger is the horse that owner Lawrence Roman considered starting in the Belmont Stakes until he suffered a fit of common sense. But he’s very good right now, winning his last at Laurel by nearly 12 lengths in very fast time vs. Maryland-breds. Trainer Dick Dutrow, 28 percent with repeaters, has been on a roll.

Vitruvius made some noise when he broke his maiden at Gulfstream last February. Following a fast allowance win he went to the sidelines with a minor injury but returned in Saratoga to finish a strong-rally despite bearing out the length of the stretch. Today he’s second-time Lasix and back on his favorite surface and optimal distance.

Daaher ran like a wild horse at Saratoga, going to the front and improving his position in a freak-like performance. His race is hard to read, being at nine furlongs and around two turns as opposed to eight and one turn. Visually, he had the look of a potential star.

But we’ll take Vitruvius to win at 3-1 or greater and exacta keys first and second with Digger and Daaher.

Running Totals: (116) 41-27-13. Dollar Return: $238.40 [win selections only] {Saturday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ready’s Image To Even the Score with Majestic Warrior

Three stakes today on what is the last meaningful Breeders’ Cup prep weekend and the most compelling is, of course, is the Grade 1 Champagne for juvenile colts at one mile. While there are some interesting prospects in here, such as Sapling winner Lantana Mob, Nick Zito’s undefeated War Pass, and a one-mile maiden winner over the track, Anakim, it’s really a match within a race.

It started in the Hopeful. Now it’s the rematch: Ready’s Image vs. Majestic Warrior, the Hopeful hero.

Majestic Warrior was magnificent winning the first meaningful Grade 1 of the two-year-old season. Seemingly beaten with less than a half mile remaining in the seven furlong Spa fixture, he began to roll inside on the far turn, tipped wide with momentum into the lane and roared home for the score, making up nearly six lengths in the final half-furlong.

The victory of Majestic Warrior capped the meet for leading trainer Bill Mott, gave him a rare young talent for him to work with toward the 2008 classics, and was so impressive that Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith invested untold millions to partner with owner/breeder George Steinbrenner. The extremely well bred son of A. P. Indy and Dream Supreme should only improve given today’s added distance.

So then why would we take Ready’s Image? Because he is faster, has more seasoning, is drawn outside (Majestic Warrior has the rail) and won the Tremont over this track. But that’s not why. The why is he was used extremely hard racing an extremely fast Maimonides into defeat early, actually winning that duel in midst retch, but the effort had taken its toll. Today, there’s enough speed signed out where he can use his stalking speed and outside position to best advantage. He’ll never have a better chance to turn the tables on his Hopeful rival.

Taking Ready’s Image to win at 7-5 or greater and exacta keys first and second with Majestic warrior and Lantana Mob.

Running Totals: (115) 40-27-13. Dollar Return: $230.00 [win selections only] {Friday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Mature Mott Returnee Set for Belmont Feature

If the late President Reagan were a handicapper, he would have this to say to NYRA racing secretary P.J. Campo: “Well, there you go again!”

Yes, another turf sprint feature, but this time at 7 furlongs. At least we’re stretching out, anyway.

Today’s eighth in New York is for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, for non-winners of one other than maiden or claiming.

We really can’t see anything interesting beyond two fillies in the field of 10 that includes an entry: Emmy Carly (2-1) and Lorelei Legend (8-1).

Emmy Carly figures to be higher odds at post time, given her return from a long layoff. She’s the fastest filly in the group on performance figures and likely has upside potential here given her added maturity at 4. That figure came on Belmont turf, she returns for Bill Mott currently in the midst of a Hall of Fame season and excellent off a lengthy respite. Interesting that he reaches out for Channing Hill, who doesn’t ride for this barn normally, and returns off a series of steady works.

Meanwhile, Lorelei Legend will appreciate the return to 7 furlongs, distance of her only--and fastest--victory. Making her second start off a freshening, she turns back for Bobby Frankel, a profitable angle for this Hall of Famer, taps Johnny Velazquez, a 30 percent team when hooking up, and comes from a Saratoga route that might turn out to be a key race with one winner from two subsequent starters. Not as fast as some of her rivals here, that could change since she appears to be a late developing three-year-old.

Taking Emmy Carly to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Lorelei Legend.

Running Totals: (114) 40-27-13. Dollar Return: $130.00 [win selections only] {Thursday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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