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, August 11, 2007

On Paper, Sword Dancer Now A One Horse Affair

With the anticipated scratch of Better Talk Now from the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational due to a minor injury, the strong match-up between Graham Motionís gelding and English Channel that was highly anticipated wonít happen.

Figure the odds on English Channel (8-5) to be around 1-2 at post time. On paper, he looks unbeatable and we wonít try. But thatís not to say thereís not an interesting upstart in here.

His name is Always First and hails from the top Maryland outfit of trainer Tommy Voss. What makes him a little special here is his affinity for todayís marathon route and an ability to handle less than firm footing, which is the prospect today.

Six-year-old gelding is in top form, has earned most of his money at todayís route, going seven-for-eight in the money at 12 furlongs, including three victories, and his best figure was earned over soft ground at Arlington Park last out in the G3 Stars N Stripes.

He has a puncherís chance with Cornelio Velasquez in the boot but will be hard pressed to beat the favorite thatís won four Grade 1s in the last year.

Taking English Channel to win, no price restrictions, and the only play weíll make is an exacta box with Always First, an additional ticket with the favorite on top.

Running Totals: (77) 34-16-10 Dollar Return: $197.70 [win selections only] (Friday results not included)

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, August 10, 2007

All Todd All The TIme

An overnight stakes, The Heed, for three-year-old fillies going a mile on the inner turf. There is a forecast for showers. Should the race be rescheduled to the main track, Awesome Ashley would be the most probable winner.

Meanwhile, todayís winner likely will come from the Todd Pletcher shed, anyway, such was the quality of Christies Treasureís (3-1) recent effort. She would have won the Tweedside had it not been for a bad stumble leaving the gate. Following that might have been a premature move into contention. She finished one-paced late. But the pace was slow, too, and the pace was hungry. Still, her performance figure vs. older fillies was the fastest on the page.

The competition will come from Pay Wright (9-2), Unspoken Word (4-1) and Luna Dorado (15-1) and Le Chateau (20-1).

Pay Wright should benefit from her recent prep race vs. colts. She raced well on Spa grass last year and stretches to a more suitable distance and reunites with Eibar Coa, aboard for both recent victories. She has tactical speed and the pole, too.

Unspoken Word set the pace when third behind Christies Treasure two back and she earns good figures with consistency. She picks up hot riding Kent Desormeaux.

Luna Dorada is a huge price on the early line. She earned a competitive figure when narrowly beaten over yielding ground in one of these two back in Churchill and her effort in the Grade 3 Regret was better than it looked.

Le Chateau is a late developing Chester House filly thatís been ambitiously placed in recent starts. She makes her first start for Wayne Lukas and switches to Cornelio Velasquez, Wayneís go-to guy in Saratoga. She took can prove an interest price play.

Taking Christies Treasure to win at 2-1 or greater and keying her first and second in trifectas with the four other fillies.

Running Totals: (77) 34-16-10 Dollar Return $197.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Old Stature of Liberty Play: Laurentide Ice

Today itís the ladiesí turn, the New York Stallion series, Statue of Liberty division, for three-year-old fillies going nine furlongs on the inner turf course. This race is not as neatly defined as the boys were yesterday, with many either trying turf, going long for the first time, and other assorted puzzles.

Of the eight entered, weíre taking a closer look at four of them, from the inside, out, Donít Mind Me (2-1), Tishmeister (6-1), Laurentide Ice (7-2) and Karakorum Elektra (10-1).

Donít Mind Me is the favorite, understandably. She broke her debut at two on the Saratoga turf and never has taken a backward step on performance figures. She is, by definition, the second fastest filly in here, she hails from a white hot Galluscio barn and picks up Ramon Dominguez. She has pedigree on both sides suited to todayís stretchout. Her early line odds are a bit short, however.

Tishmeister is the fastest filly and has the benefit of a recent race over this course. After her maiden breaker two back, she set the pace but settled for second on July 26. The odds are more than fair. The problems are that her speedy style is anti-profile and has that lone win but five seconds in 14 career tries. JJ Castellano suits her nicely.

Laurentide Ice has better figures on dirt but her grass debut was OK, considering she broke from the 10 post in a field of 10 and raced very wide off a hungry pace in that turf debut. Interestingly, the hot Kent Desormeaux chooses her over the early line favorite. On all counts that makes her interesting.

Karakorum Elektra was sharpened for speed in a recent turf sprint but has come from off the pace successfully going long, breaking her maiden May 3rd. She figures to benefit from her most recent start.

Taking Laurentide Ice to win at 5-2 or greater and keying her in three trifecta positions with the other three fillies.

Running Totals: (76) 34-16-10 Dollar Return: $197.70

Written by John Pricci

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