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, April 25, 2007

When Read Is Tricky Value A Must

Today’s feature race at Aqueduct, a preliminary allowances for state-bred three-year-olds going seven furlongs, is a tricky read. Each major contender has pluses and minuses. In terms of making a wager, post time odds will never be as significant as it is in races of this type.

The contenders are Radio Freq (5-2), Victorious Affair (3-1) and Stunt Man at 9-2.

The early line favorite was a game winner of his maiden debut. He battled on the lead throughout then gamely held his advantage while dogged by a rival through the stretch. Radio Freq comes back with sufficient rest and trainer Charlton Baker’s three-year-old runners move to a new top effort nearly half the time in their second career starts. However, he moves up in class and distance for the second career run.

Victorious Affair, meanwhile, hails from the George Weaver shed, a barn whose three-year-olds keep moving forward before peaking in their third lifetime start. That’s the case here, although this colt ran its best race on a wet surface for which he is suited by pedigree.

Stunt Man has fewer negatives than his main rivals, although he is meeting classier competition. Off-setting that, however, is the fact he is the fastest horse on performance figures, has experience at a similar distance and a trainer whose horses win more often in their second start for the new barn.

Gary Contessa’s horse improved right off the claim to earn that top figure when third last out. But if the trainer’s personal stats are the measure, then another forward move is forthcoming. A repeat of his last would easily be good enough to win here.

Taking Stunt Man to win at 7-2 or greater. Making exacta key boxes of Stunt Man with Radio Freq and Victorious Affair.

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Feature Race Analysis for Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rather Lay the Favorite Than Play the Favorite

Let's look at the Park Avenue Division, that is to say, the distaff half of the New York Stallion Stakes for New York-breds going as today’s seventh race at Aqueduct.

You’ll need no search warrant to find the favorite here. That would be early line choice Mighty Eros (5-2), who won his debut by a pole in exceptionally fast time. She has sufficient recovery time coming back for this--six weeks--but she’ll need to be stronger later, given today’s added furlong.

As the likely heavy favorite, however, we must play ‘Eros’ to back up.

The filly that figures to improve is Laurentide Ice (7-2) for Mark Hennig. Visually she appeared in need of her recent return from a layup, and the stats may back up that perception. Hennig is around 12% effective coming off a lengthy break but almost 18% in his second start returning from a layoff.

Laurentide Ice proved she was fast enough in her maiden effort at two. More recently her best figure was earned going a flat mile, a similar dynamic to today’s seven furlongs. Returning from his home base, where he won the Federico Tesio yesterday with Xchanger as easily as horses win races, Ramon Dominguez is likely to work out a ground-saving journey before setting sail into the long Aqueduct straight.

Taking Laurentide Ice to win, at 3-1 or greater; exacta box with Mighty Eros.

Written by John Pricci

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Feature Race Analysis for Saturday, April 21, 2007

Double Your Pleasure At Keeneland

With only five horses entered in today’s Grade 2 Bed o’ Roses at Aqueduct, two from the same barn, we’ll provide bonus coverage of the G2 Lexington Stakes from Keeneland, a race that may provide an additional Kentucky Derby starter or two.

In the Bed o’ Roses, Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens has himself to beat. Any Limit might be a 6-½ furlong specialist, but she did win going a mile on this track last fall and owns the fastest figures.

Stablemate Swap Fliperoo, turning back from an unsuitable two-turn route, is more than capable of running her mate down late. Any Limit rates the call to win, but not by much. Price, as always, should be your guide.

The mile and a sixteenth Lexington is far more interesting and likely will be a good betting race. Belgravia [3-1] is a worthy early favorite and probably will be the public’s choice at post time. When last seen, he suffered through a difficult trip at Hollywood Park--like today’s track, an artificial surface--and was considered a serious Derby prospect by his connections last year.

But a minor setback scrapped those plans and this might serve as his Preakness prep should trainer Patrick Biancone decide to go in that direction. Biancone has a fast, talented colt, the gifted Julien Leparoux aboard and is a profitable 30% off this kind of layoff.

Two interesting contenders are Sacrifice Bunt [6-1] and Joe Got Even [5-1]. (Forty Grams probably has more talent than either one, but may be less effective as a speed type on the Polytrack surface and likely be a shorter price).

Sacrifice Bunt was a strong-rally fourth off a very slow pace in the Illinois Derby. He has developed nicely over the winter and raised his game last time out. His running style is well suited to Polytrack. Joe Got Even, meanwhile, is as hard-hitting as they come and never has finished off the board on artificial tracks, winning three of six starts. A switch to Fernando Jara is a positive one.

Taking Belgravia to win 2-1 or better; exacta boxes with Sacrifice Bunt and Joe Got Even.

Written by John Pricci

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