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, August 30, 2007

Don’t Get Mixed Up, Take Favorite In Turf Writers’ Cup

We’ve already discussed the merits of Mixed Up, the favorite for today’s Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Steeplechase Cup Handicap (see Saratoga Diary on home page). His prep for this, the Smithwick Memorial, was first rate. But today there’s added distance and weight, significant variables, but the eight-year-old continues in sharp form for Jonathan Sheppard.

The interesting runner here is The Looper (12-1), trained by Tom Voss. He clearly needed his race in the Sheppard, benefits from a weight switch, the added ground, and the price is intriguing.

Taking Mixed Up to win at 8-5 or greater and an exacta box with The Looper, extra ticket with Mixed Up first.

Running Totals: (92) 38-21-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Perfect Distance For A Perfect Sting

A restricted stakes, the Perfect Sting at nine furlongs on the inner turf course, kicks off the final week of racing at Saratoga.

The event drew but six entrants but is fairly competitive with three fillies looming strong contenders. From the rail, out: Criminologist (7-2), Mo Cuishle (3-1) and Amansara, the 2-1 early line choice.

Amansara is deserving. Following a preliminary allowance score, the four-year-old War Chant filly has been keeping stakes company, including a good third in the Grade 3 Frances Genter. Her effort in the restricted De La Rose on this course was first rate. It was her first start at four and after gaining the lead, tired in the final strides as if short of condition. Sure to benefit, George Weaver makes a switch to Ramon Dominguez, who’s been riding both Spa courses extremely well. Amansara is 1-for-1 at today’s trip.

Mo Cuishle comes out of the same race as the favorite and had the tougher trip. While Amansara saved ground, Mo Cuishle circled widest from well back in the pack and finished strongly, beaten a half length for the win, a half length behind the favorite. While Amansara figures to improve, this filly doesn’t figure to be as unlucky given the shorter field. Barclay Tagg has drilled this filly three times since that Aug. 1 route, including a very sharp half mile on Aug. 23. Eibar Coa retains the mount.

Criminologist was well backed in her course debut Aug. 9 and didn’t disappoint. She overcame a poor start and finished strongly to win a photo in a very game performance. Her pedigree says the added sixteenth is well within her scope and the suddenly hot Edgar Prado takes the re-ride for Shug McGaughey.

At the distance, Amansara rates the call narrowly to win, at 8-5 or greater, making an exacta box with Mo Cuishle and a trifecta part wheel using both fillies first and second, adding Criminologist to the mix for second and third.

Running Totals: (91) 38-20-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Sugar Looks Sweet In Classy Mirage

An overnight stakes, for fillies and mares three-year-olds and up, the Classy Mirage at 6-½ furlongs.

It drew a well matched field of sprinters at varying stages of development. The four we’ll look at are, from the rail, out: Cherokee Jewel (6-1), Fast Deal (6-1), Cuaba (2-1) and Sugar Swirl (5-2).

Cherokee Jewel seems to love it here. She ran lights out to win the Capote Belle last year, earning the fastest performance figure in the field. That’s the good news. The bad is that she never has run back to it. But making her third start off the long layup here, and shipping back to Saratoga, might prove the wakeup tonic. Meet leader Cornelio Velasquez gets the call.

Fast Deal’s best race also came over this track at three and she reaffirmed her preference for the Spa when she placed gamely to today’s favorite in her return in a slight breakthrough performance. That’s a good harbinger for another forward move here. Wayne Lukas makes a switch to Julien Leparoux here.

Cuaba was an impressive winner in her Spa debut Aug. 1, earning a career best figure. Ridden with confidence by Kent Desormeaux, who’s taking a return call here from Bill Mott, the Smoke Glacken filly has had two very sharp works since, indicating she’s held that good form. She fits the race shape well, a pace presser that can kick, and might be ready to jump to a higher level in the future. But right now she can handle this level and looms a deserving favorite.

Sugar Swirl, meanwhile, has been working like a tigress. She’s fresh for Bobby Frankel, always a good thing, and boasts a series of bullet workouts for a return to what might be her favorite surface. She earned a career best figure here at three and she matched that figure in her last race, the Alyssum at Belmont Park going today’s hybrid distance. Garrett Gomez takes the return call. Of the two most probable winners, she and Cuaba, Sugar Swirl likely will prove the value here.

Taking Sugar Swirl to win at 2-1 or greater, and exacta box with Cuaba, and a trifecta key first and second with the major contenders here.

Running Totals: (90) 38-19-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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