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.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Settling for Stettler

Today’s feature is a preliminary allowances, $75,000 optional claiming, a category which the connections of early line favorite Stettler--Bruce Levine for owner Roddy Valente--seem to excel. For sure, their entrant will be a very tough out today.

As usual, the team made an astute claim in Southern California, watched it improve for Bill Spawr, then shipped it East where Stettler was a game second in her good figure winter-track debut.

But what really impressed was the way she swept to the lead in a quick final quarter-mile, appearing to have something left at the finish. Sometimes, you play the hand you’re dealt.

Taking Stettler to win at 8-5 or greater and keying her first and second in the trifecta with Mikeslittlegirl (8-1), Casino Key (4-1) and Yankee Victoria (5-2).

Running Totals: (350) 106-71-47 Total Dollar Return: $749.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Err on the Side of Value in Contentious Paumonok

Lots of gas in today’s featured Paumonok, featuring hard-hitting older sprinters going three-quarters on the winter track. It appears we have two choices in today’s six-horse matchup: The top and the bottom, as the racetrackers say.

Ravalo (5-1) breaks from the pole position and is quite remarkable really. He’s won 10 of 21 lifetime starts--off the board only four times--two of those victories coming on today’s surface, where he reunites with Mike Luzzi, aboard the winning Ravalo at the last winter meet here.

He has a high turn of early speed but can sit and pounce if necessary, which is the most likely scenario here. His last was an excellent top figure score at Laurel, where he’s worked well subsequently for this, and ships into the barn of Cleveland Johnson, a Rick Dutrow associate. His early line odds seem out of line given his accomplishments.

The main danger comes from Accredit, on a recent tear and a winner over this surface last out. Accredit hails from the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin, who is showing a profit from all sprint starters in his career--quite an achievement.

McLaughlin reaches out for Rajiv Maragh, a hot pairing of late, is nicely drawn outside with tactical speed and kick and, as a four-year-old, still has some upside potential for added development. Given today’s race dynamics, the break might mean everything here. We’ll count on Mr. Luzzi to make the most of his opportunity.

Taking Ravalo to win at 4-1 or greater, boxing him in the exacta with Accredit and True Quality (2-1), who's coming off a New Pace Top Equiform pattern..

Running Totals: (349) 106-71-46 Total Dollar Return: $749.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, January 23, 2009

Don’t Forget About Numaany

Today’s feature is quite similar to yesterday’s; a two-turner at a mile and 70 yards but we’ll kick it up a notch to secondary allowances, optional claiming $50,000. There’s no shortage of speed, ability nor high profile connections in this spot. While the presence of all that gas will suit early line favorite Helsinki (2-1), it always worth trying to beat this deep closer.

The speed of the speed looks like Take The Bluff (6-1), reuniting with winning rider two back; Mike Luzzi. The Violette trainee is coming off a New Pace Top, always a favorable angle for horses with competitive final figures. But his outside post with its short run to the first turn doesn’t help.

Helsinki is consistently a top figure runner in this field but he needs to get a favorable trip to be at his most effective. He’ll be running late for sure, but it’s his style and relatively short rest (3 weeks) that’s the concern. Every so often, Run With A Lark (10-1) throws in a bad one and he’s nicely drawn, but is today the day? It might pay to find out at anything near early line odds.

And what about Quip (9-2), a winner over this surface last year, with an effective kick and tactical speed, a fresh runner who picks up the position conscious strong finisher Richard Migliore. The Mig does well for Kiaran McLaughlin, especially this time of year, and the barn is very adept with fresh runners. He could easily prove the key here.

But we’ll try to get the money with Numaany (6-1). A little too close to the pace last out and wide, it was the kind of trip which usually is detrimental to his kind. But he, too, is coming off a NPT, has worked purposefully since, is drawn toward the inside and might be in the best spot to take advantage of prevailing conditions. Who could argue to Ramon Dominguez on the re-ride for Tom Albertrani?

Taking Numaany to win at 9-2 or greater, boxing him in the exacta with Quip, and keying him first and second in trifectas with all other rivals named here. If it breaks the best way…

Running Totals: (348) 106-71-46 Total Dollar Return: $749.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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