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, December 14, 2008

Weathering a Quick Turnaround

Clearly the Ladies Handicap has fallen on hard times. First it lost its grade and next year it is discontinued. The hits just keep coming; meanwhile a look at the 10-furlong feature for fillies and mares 3 & up.

The post time favorite is nearly certain to be Sweet Goodbye (5-2), shipping in looking to extend her winning streak to six. She has excellent early speed, can carry it, and has enough pedigree to stretch out to a mile and quarter. Trainer Christopher Gove has compiled a fine record in non-graded stakes. Regular rider JD Acosta is up from Maryland for the ride.

An interesting filly is surface lover Runway Rosie, a four-year-old who’s won half her six starts on this ground with two seconds. Of greater significance is that her best performance figures were earned over it as well. Rajiv Maragh, on a tear of late, is her steady partner and she has won when fresh. The problem might be that the layup is not a particular strength of the Contessa. It might be worth finding out at anything near early line odds.

But we’re going back to Weathered (3-1), even if she returns on only one day rest. That’s no typo: one day rest. It’s been done successfully before. A horse named No Bias did it back in the 80s. She has tactical speed, is rugged as they come, has a two sided pedigree for the added ground and trainer Karl Grusmark is a worthy 2-for-11 with horses returning on less than five days rest. Given these conditions, she’s not the kind of horse that figures to get an overwhelming amount of mutuel support.

Taking Weathered to win at 3-1 or greater and boxing her first and second in exactas with her rivals here.

Running Totals: (327) 98-67-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nothing Whimsical About this Play

It’s not often when a five-horse field offers a good betting opportunity. But that might be the case in today’s Grade 3 Queens County Handicap that has drawn a field of five.

What bettors need to ask themselves is if they will get the same effort from recent Stuyvesant winner Dry Martini (8-5). The answer is unlikely.

Will Billy Turner’s five-year-old get the same tiring wet conditions over which he won that recent Grade 3 on the main oval. Is he capable of running back to that performance figure? Also unlikely, and at a short price.

And what about Researcher (5-2)? Is he as good as his recent Equiform figures indicate? Empirically, no. Figures earned at Mountaineer and Charles Town don’t usually translate with shifts to a major circuit. It might be the winter track but it’s still New York.

What we like about Sir Whimsey (7-2) is the fact that he handles any kind of footing, has won on this surface, makes his second start in the Asmussen barn--always a good percentage, profitable play--earned his best figure at today’s 9-½ furlong distance, and gets a rider switch to Ramon Dominguez. Despite the short field, two of his rivals should ensure an honest pace for the distance.

Taking Sir Whimsey at 5-2 or greater and keying him first and second in trifectas (if available) with his two rivals here.

Running Totals: (326) 98-67-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, December 12, 2008

Surprised if Grusmark Filly Doesn’t Weather the Storm

Another good overnight stakes for today’s feature, the You’d Be Surprised Stakes for fillies and mares 3 & up going a mile and 70 yards on the winter oval. Three we find most interesting are Weathered, Jasmine Gardens and Blues For Sale.

Weathered is consistently fastest on performance figures, loves the game having compiled a 7-for-11 lifetime record, has won on this surface and handles any type of footing. Compelling enough. But when you consider she has an edge in fitness, too, returning on 12 days rest, has tactical speed and an inside draw, you’d be surprised in Mike Luzzi didn’t write his own trip note here.

Jasmine Gardens is one of those late developers that has improved with maturity and trainer Tom Albertrani is pressing the proper buttons now with respect to her training and spacing between starts. Her tactical speed gives her options to come out of the first turn in good position despite her wide draw on short run to the bend. Alan Garcia will be able to figure it all out. The daughter of Mineshaft is on the come and her figures keep forging forward.

Blues For Sale is the mystery horse that could prove the key here. A multiple Group 3 and Group 2 winner in her native Argentina, she’s won nine of 12 lifetime starts and was purchased privately by the IEAH folks. She’s making her first start in over a year but does so for Rick Dutrow and she makes her American debut after being entered and scratched from a main track race last month. Who knows how good?

Taking Weathered to repeat at 2-1 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas with her rivals here.

Running Totals: (326) 98-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $686.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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