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.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Personal Showdown

Unlike tomorrow’s Travers, which is a great betting race, not so today’s Grade 1 Personal Ensign. But don’t sell the excitement level short. This two horse race on paper, just like the Alabama, could turn out to be a highly dramatic affair. The great equalizer is the 10-furlong distance.

G1 Go for Wand winner Ginger Punch (4-5) is a champion and she’s never lost a race at Saratoga. There were anxious moments in the Go for Wand when she had nowhere to go for the longest time. But Rafael Bejarano never panicked and his filly never wavered, bursting through a seem and drew away late. Despite an amazing career, she’s never been asked to go this far.

Unbridled Belle (9-5) has, on five occasions, hitting the board three times and winning once, last year’s G2 Delaware Handicap. Making her third start off a layup for Todd Pletcher, who got Wait A While back in top form and into the winner’s circle, she goes postward with Ramon Dominguez, who really gets along with her. The former has a class and speed edge; the latter an edge at the distance. May the best mare win.

Taking Ginger Punch to win, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Unbridled Belle.

Running Totals: (258) 79-51-30. Total Dollar Return: $481.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Susan Sharp for Lake Placid

How you look at today’s Grade 2 Lake Placid for older fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth on grass depends on your assessment of the current condition of turf champion Wait A While (8-5), making her second start since returning from a long layup following some health issues. Did she get enough out of the Grade 1 Diana to move forward? Is there anything left in the tank?

She’s come back to work twice since the Diana, one being a very sharp half-mile, you can take a positive view. She is classy, obviously, and gets leading rider Johnny Velazquez. With not much speed signed on, her tactical ability could prove the key here.

The main danger is Sharp Susan (3-1) who also loves this course, is very sharp, and has shown a preference for the distance. She, too, is capable of dictating the pace and Kent Desormeaux has on occasion been known to steal a paceless turf race. At the price, she makes the most sense in a race in which four of the five entrants have a license to win.

Taking Sharp Susan at 3-1 or more, an exacta box with Wait A While.

Running Totals: (257) 79-51-30. Total Dollar Return: $481.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This Truck Was Made for Runnin’

It might only seem like Barclay Tagg never loses but he’s really not that good. He’s only won with six of his last 11 starters! And it’s his Big Truck (7-2) that stands tallest in the way of immensely talented Tin Cup Chalice (2-1), looking to become the first horse to sweep the Big Apple Triple and its attendant bonus. Throw in Preakness third Icabad Crane and you get a very classy renewal of the Albany Handicap.

After winning the Tampa Bay Derby, Tagg decided to Ky.-Derby prep his three-year-old at Keeneland but he seemed to hate Polytrack. In any event, he go nothing out of the Blue Grass and never was a factor in Louisville. Subsequently, however, he’s trained in very high style, with about a month’s break in between, and looks back on high track right now. Eibar Coa figures to shadow the early favorite into the first turn.

Tin Cup Chalice is highly likely to go for the lead like he has in his last four appearances, but he’ll need to deal with improving, lightly raced Writingonthewall (6-1) who figures to take advantage of his inside position and stretch to two turns. This is ambitious but he might be this good. Tin Cup Chalice must prove that he wants all of nine furlongs. Either that, or his demonstrated class will get him there.

Since his disappointing effort in the key race Belmont that has produced three next out winners, Icabad Crane is training well at his Mid-Atlantic base for Graham Motion who gives a leg up to main man Ramon Dominguez. He has more tactical speed than the deep late runners and might get the jump on those, especially since he’s fresh. This is a hell of a horse race.

We’ll take Big Truck to win at 3-1 or greater and key him in exacta and trifecta money positions with his three rivals here.

Running Totals: (256) 79-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $481.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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