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, April 19, 2007

Filly Fills the Bill Will She Fill the Wallet?

If ever a horseplayer was looking for a winning pattern to repeat itself, it would be today: It’s not often that one can find a plausible longshot. Lady Jove (12-1) fills that bill.

Today’s Aqueduct sprint features fillies and mares 4-year-olds & Up under preliminary allowance conditions at six furlongs.

Unlike yesterday’s New York feature race, there are no dominant players in this group and there’s a diversity of running styles signed on as well. Lady Jove’s style should fit any scenario as she owns tactical speed and a good late kick.

Turning back into a sprint off a mile last November, she responded with a tactical, come-from-behind victory at today’s distance. More significantly, the effort came over today’s racetrack and it was, then as it is now, her lifetime best figure.

The one-mile to six-furlong cut-back situation exists here. Adding some confidence is the fact that young trainer Jacqueline Oleanik is 2-for-5 with her turn-back moves, showing a healthy return on investment. Jockey Mike Luzzi is a position-conscious rider. He should work out a good journey with the filly’s help, having drawn post five in a field of eight.

In our running totals each day, we calculate our personal ROI based on a $2 win wager. But when suggesting plays, it is based on how we would attack a particular situation. Based on knowable form, it’s wide open and the competition could come from anyone.

We’re taking Lady Jove across-the-board, and an exacta box with longshot Hand Me Down (10-1). Her trainer, Peter Pugh, is profitable when adding blinkers for the first time.

Running Totals: (10) 4-3-2 ROI: $24.30

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Which Jockey Will Go All In?

With race riders playing “horse-back poker” with their rivals, small-field racing and handicappping can be trappy. One can’t count on how the race shape shaking out the way it looks on paper. Having attracted a field of six, today’s Furlough Stakes at Aqueduct, for older fillies and mares that have not won a graded stakes from 2006 forward, is just such an event.

Half the field has an excellent chance to win the six-furlong sprint; the sharp favorite, Smart And Fancy (8-5), second favorite May Day Vow (5-2), the co-fastest filly going three-quarters of a mile, and Last Romance (4-1), not as accomplished sprinting as the other two but may hold a class edge and is returning as a first-time four-year-old.

Smart And Fancy comes from the high percentage Anthony Dutrow shed. She’s four for six at the distance and runs fast figures with consistency. Drawn inside with tactical speed, Ramon Dominguez should work out a perfect, ground-saving trip.

May Day Vow has earned a similar high sprint figure and, significantly, over today’s track. She’s won both starts on Aqueduct’s main track and has worked brilliantly for this. Her high early speed might be a problem here but she’s nicely drawn as the outside speed in a short field.

Last Romance is interesting. She’s been training steadily since February for her return for Dutrow’s brother, Rick, and was beaten only two lengths in last year’s Grade 1 Acorn mile. Given her newly found four-year-old maturity, her freshness puts her in the game early and she could out-kick both of they hook up right in front of her. She’ll need be wound tightly, however.

Post-time odds are always a determining factor before placing a wager. No more so that in this heat, such is the competitive nature of the event. Taking Smart And Fancy to win, exacta boxes with the other two fillies, and a trifecta part wheel with Smart And Fancy first with the others second and third.

Written by John Pricci

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Feature Race Analysis for Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Classic handicapping quandary in today’s Aqueduct feature, a “two other-than, optional claimer” at a flat, one-turn mile: Will it be one of the sharp New York “winter” horses, or a classy shipper from the south coming back home that gets it done? We’re thinking the latter. We’re also using a rarely mentioned handicapping tenet that helps solve such vexing puzzles as this: the old safety-in-numbers angle.

Doc Cheney (5-1) is part of a three-ply entry from the combined sheds of Nick Zito and Dick Dutrow, coupled due to common ownership. Flashy Bull (7-2) is the class-tested sort from the Kiaran McLaughlin entry. Each has license to improve and win here.

Doc Cheney has demonstrated that he can rebound in a big way from a poor performance. In fact, he earned a lifetime best figure off a poor effort when second in last year’s Grade 3 Withers Mile. The winner, eventual three-year-old champion Bernardini, won the Preakness Stakes in his next start. The pattern repeats here with Doc coming in off a poor turf try. Convenient, too, that Zito is a profitable 24% when his charges switch from turf to dirt. The 4-year-old has tactical speed and enough kick to get home. He will be the bigger price of the two.

Flashy Bull is Grade 2 placed and is making his third start off a layup, winning his Gulfstream Park finale last out. He comes up to the route perfectly off graduating distances, breezed a sharp 5 furlongs for this, and hails from a trainer-jockey (Alan Garcia) team that has won with three of their last seven starters in New York.

Flashy Bull was second in the Grade 2 Remsen to major stakes winner Bluegrass Cat in his lone Aqueduct appearance. He might be ready for stakes company again with a sharp effort today. He faced some of the three-year-old division's best before going to the sidelines last fall.

We’re taking Doc Cheney to win at 4-1 or greater, and an exacta box with Flashy Bull.

Written by John Pricci

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