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.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Best Offense is First Defence

With four graded stakes to choose from, we’ll choose the Grade 2 Vanderbilt and try to beat the undefeated Bustin Stones (2-1). Why, aside from the short price? Because he missed a scheduled appointment in the Met Mile, is coming off a lifetime best effort and looks a tad tougher at seven-eighths than three-quarters. He remains, obviously, the one to fear.

We look to upset with a horse that loves the course, First Defence (4-1). He ran his best race ever on this track last year, narrowly beaten by Hard Spun in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop. His form this year has been good.

First Defence won his season’s debut, chased an extraordinary hot pace in the aforementioned Met Mile, then won the Grade 3 Jaipur on yielding turf at today’s distance. He’s had four works since, including a recent bullet and has the style to sit behind a plethora of speed and get the jump on the late runners. Regular rider Javeir Castellano rides him like he owns him.

Taking First Defence to win at early line odds of 4-1 or greater and an exacta box with Bustin Stones.

Running Totals: (239) 74-49-27. Total Dollar Return: $452.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, July 25, 2008

Viva La Chocolate Mousse

The Friday feature, the Grade 2 Lake George for three-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf--if it stays on the turf--is a tricky, trappy little 7-horse collection, feature speed types, stalkers and ralliers. If one of those groups don’t do as expected, chaos will reign.

If that weren’t enough, a French filly ships over, the Group 2 placed Mousse Au Chocolat (2-1). And who doesn’t like mouse au chocolat? She comes equipped with a new trainer, but with an old rider who’s ridden her to victory in the past. Given the comment lines, she’ll be either mid-pack or farther back. She has won on yielding and good ground.

The best of these closely matched American fillies, at this juncture, anyway, appears to be My Princess Jess (8-5). Recent winner of the G3 Boiling Springs over a solid field at Monmouth Park June 28, she owns an explosive turn of foot, which is good news and bad news here. Lengthening stride suddenly is not the desired action over boggy ground.

At Monmouth, Joe Bravo pulled the trigger a bit quickly, opening a long lead midstretch, but was driving hard to hold off a flying Much Obliged. Figure that Eibar Coa, who does much of Barclay Tagg’s riding, will keep her in the game off an expected slow pace given the soggy conditions. She has run well over three different course conditions.

Taking the classy invader, Mousse Au Chocolat, to win at early line odds 2-1 or more and an exacta box with My Princess Jess.

Running Totals: (238) 74-49-27. Total Dollar Return: $452.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Don’t Like the Favorite? We’re Notonthesamepage

Today’s feature, the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes, traditionally is won by horses with winning experience in stakes race. Only one fills that bill here, Dagnabit (4-1), winner of the Tremont Stakes last time out. All others are recent maiden graduates.

But it’s also been a race where favorites have dominated, and Notonthesamepage (6-5) earned one of the fastest early season two-year-old figures we’ve ever seen. Repeat, ever. Accordingly, his pace figures give him an edge right from the start as well.

Desert Party (6-1) was a very impressive winner of his Arlington debut. The problem is translating the Polytrack form to here, although the barn is 2 for 7 under those conditions. And the chatter is the Darley folks are very high on the colt.

Bullion Cache (12-1) showed the kind of improvement for the Pletcher/Velazquez team that you want from a second time starter, namely maturity. His pedestrian performance figure should insure the early line odds remain high at post time.

Notonthesamepage is the most probable winner and we’ll key him over the other three in trifectas. Also, we’ll wager on the slower Dagnabit to win at 4-1 or greater, boxing him in the exacta with Notonthesamepage.

Running Totals: (238) 74-49-27. Total Dollar Return: $452.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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