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, January 12, 2008

Don’t Fall in Love with Affectionately Favorites

Today’s featured Affectionately Handicap, like many traditional New York features, have fallen on hard times. The race is no longer graded and today’s renewal has attracted at least a couple of fillies of G3 stature.

Anyway, this is very competitive in that you have several fillies on the come, some already proven commodities and still others that might jump up and surprise. I could see any of the seven winning. We’ll winnow it down to four: Aliysa (10-1), Stage Luck (5-2), Lucky Revival (10-1) and Victory Pool (7-2).

Aliysa is a “now” filly who will be tested for class here. A repeat of her last at Philadelphia Park would put her right in this. Never taken a backward step on the Equiform scale, she’s learning how to better distribute her energy and, as a South American 5-year-old, she has some upside on the age scale. With Seth Benzel calling the shots for Todd Pletcher, the pole, and Ramon Dominguez, she could be ready to pull off an upset.

Stage Luck probably will be the post time favorite. A repeat of or two-back effort would make her very difficult to beat. It was among the fastest figures in the field. With only three lifetime starts, the 4-year-old Unbridled filly has tremendous upset. She’s well drawn, well trained and ridden, and her tactical gas will come in very handy from her inside slip.

Lucky Revival is apt to fall through the pari-mutuel cracks. She was a good third three starts back behind Baby Bird--one of today’s many contenders--and is coming off a new pace top while winning her winter track debut Dec. 12. She has a worthy (5) 2-1-2 slate at the distance but does lose Dominguez to Aliysa. Norberto Arroyo is a very able substitute.

Victory Pool makes her career finale this afternoon, heading off to the breeding shed. Competitive in graded company, she’s never finished off the board in seven starts over this surface, earns good figures with consistency, and picks up Alan Garcia, who finished third aboard the filly in the G3 Turnback the Alarm. Her tactical speed will help gain position and she can kick late.

Taking the potential value offered on Stage Luck to win at 6-1 or greater, and keying her in all trifecta money positions; exactas if good odds available nearing post time.

Running Totals: (161) 58-34-18. Total Dollar Return: $365.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Light Tactic a Ruby Rubles Heavyweight

A nice little feature for a Friday afternoon, the Ruby Rubles Stakes for New York-bred fillies 4-four-years-old and up going six furlongs. The only knock is that this sprint doesn’t look all that competitive and it will be difficult taking a lot of money out of this event.

From inside to outside, the principal contenders are Tamberino (4-1), Light Tactic (3-1) and Karakorum Starlet (2-1).

Tamberino certainly is sharp enough to pull off a minor upset as she goes for her third straight score. She won the filly division of the Stallion Stakes two starts back at 7/8s an underscored her preference for the winter surface [(5) 2-2-0] when she turned back successfully to win here 36 days ago. Her lifetime best came on this surface and, make no mistake, this is her best distance (7) 3-2-0, too. She has carried weight successfully in the past (122 here) and the connections of Tom Bush and Alan Garcia won’t hurt.

Light Tactic might be the public choice at post time. By definition the fastest filly on performance figures, she’s undefeated at the distance (2-2) and over the surface (1-1). She made a favorable visual impression winning the Personal Bid last out and trainer Rick Schosberg has been on a tear. Ramon Dominguez has a return call. The only negative in today’s resume is she’s picking up five pounds (123) this afternoon. Mate One Tough Belle is better than an empty stall.

Karakorum Starlet almost never runs a bad race and always earns a competitive figure. She was a game second in the Interborough Handicap on New Year’s Day while earning a new pace top. She is, however, coming back quickly and her early line odds are unattractive.

Taking Light Tactic to win at 2-1 or greater, and making exacta and trifecta key boxes first and second with Tamberino and Karakorum Starlet.

Running Totals: (160) 58-34-17. Total Dollar Return: $365.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Right Moment for Recent Claim

Today’s feature is on the mundane side, a non-winners of 3 lifetime, optional $35,000 claimer that attracted a few old friends and very familiar names among the training ranks.

The three major contenders are, from inside, out: Maddy’s Lion (5-1), My Cousin Matt (5-2) and Royal Moment (3-1).

Maddy’s Lion might offer value given his lower profile connections. He’s a two-time winner on this surface and all five lifetime wins have come at today’s distance. He was narrowly beaten last time out and is versatile, either as an off-the-pace runner or a stalker from close range. Pablo Fragoso takes the re-ride and trainer Tim Hills is a profitable 19% efficient when his horses make their third starts off a layup.

My Cousin Matt is, from memory, the horse with the best performance figures. The 9-year-old veteran won both since starts following Tony Dutrow’s claim, even if one came last season here, necessitating a lengthy layoff. But he returned at Delaware Park Oct. 28 with a game come-again victory in an unintended match. He, too, is a dual winter-track winner and he owns eight victories at today’s six-furlong trip. Ramon Dominguez rides him back here.

Royal Moment is a sharp winner of his latest and was claimed from Steve Asmussen by Gary Contessa, pretty much a wash at this level. In fact, Contessa is a profitable 19 % first time off the claim and is another at home as a rallier or a stalker. He has finished off the board once in 14 starts at the distance, including four wins, and loves the surface, evidenced by his (5) 2-1-1 slate. Elliott gets along nicely with this guy and retains the mount despite the barn change. His outer position in a relatively small field should insure a pleasant trip.

Royal Moment is the percentage play at 5-2 or greater. Also, key him in exactas first and second with Maddy’s Lion and My Cousin Matt.

Running Totals: (159) 57-34-17. Total Dollar Return: $358.40 [win selections only}

Written by John Pricci

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