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 06, 2008

Where There’s Early Smoke, There’s Fire

Todays feature is the Ruthless for three-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs. A closely matched group, at least half the fillies entered could win it. Well look at three, from the rail out, Expect the Wind (9-5), Carolyns Cat (5-2) and Noble Fire (4-1).

The favorite has been toughened by a series of stakes races and has gained super conditioning from recent appearances going longer. Ambitiously placed in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, she won her last two sprint appearances, handling state-bred stakes fillies with authority. Shes a deserving favorite.

Carolyns Cat broke through with a top performance figure last out and was wisely given recovery time by trainer Kairan McLaughlin. But while on the sidelines shes been training up a storm, including a pair of very sharp half-mile works in her last two preps. She likely will be stalking from close range beneath Alan Garcia, her only rider in three lifetime appearances.

Noble Fire is part of an uncoupled pair from Linda Rice. A good third in a restricted stakes two back, she showed much improved early speed last time, earning a career best pace figure, and was still around at the finish. Position conscious Rajiv Maragh picks up the mount on the only major contender here with a race over the winter surface.

Taking the value offered on Noble Fire at 3-1 or greater, and keying her in exacta boxes first and second with the two listed contenders.

Running Totals: (157) 56-34-17. Total Dollar Return: $347.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

New York to Louisville Route Runs Through Philadelphia

The New York Road to the Derby begins with todays Count Fleet Stakes at a mile and 70 yards. These races for young three-year-olds are always a tricky forecast because young horses develop in leaps and bounds--or not.

On demonstrable form and performance-figure patterns, the field of seven looks like a two-horse affair for the top prize: Roman Emperor (4-1) vs. Giant Moon (5-2).

Roman Emperor is by the hottest sire of the moment, Empire Maker, whose offspring just keep getting better as the distances lengthen. Since adding blinkers for his second start, the Steve Klesaris trainee is 2-for-2, his latest showing improved early speed, a career pace top. The effort came at todays distance and indicated another forward move is forthcoming. There should be enough early pace to suit his considerable late foot. Jeremy Rose ships in for the mount.

Giant Moon is undefeated in three career starts and this will be his toughest test on several levels. It will be his first start in open company vs. a group he cannot dominate on talent alone. Couple that with an outside post, speed to his inside, and a short run to the first turn; its not an inviting play at short odds. The good news for his fans, however, is that he wasnt wound tightly for his last, according to trainer Rick Schosberg, and still won. No question that talent is there.

But were taking Roman Emperor to win at 5-2 or greater and an exacta box with Giant Moon. Trifecta players should consider Red Reef (6-1) and Run With Me (12-1) in money positions second and third.

Running Totals: (156) 56-34-16. Total Dollar Return: $347.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, January 04, 2008

I’ll See Your Dutrows and Raise You One McLaughlin

Todays feature, a secondary allowances optional $75,000 claiming for fillies and mares going a mile and 70 yards, has drawn seven entrants, including an entry. What a skull buster! And if youre a wee bit paranoid, consider that Tony Dutrow saddles favorite Street Bird (2-1), while brother Rick the entry, including surface loving Maggies Smile (3-1).

Street Bird drew off to win her latest by open lengths under similar conditions. Owning early speed, the rail, and speed maven C. C. Lopez, shell be a tough out. However, were hoping the class rise and stuffer competition might neutralize those advantages.

Maggies Smile is 3-for-4 on this surface and has been toughened in a series of stakes. However, she, too, is long on early speed and appears one dimensional. Brother vs. brother in a speed duel? Unlikely, but who knows?

Littletown Bridge (4-1) might provide good value. The Kairan McLaughlin trainee, switching to Alan Garcia, is coming off a very sharp sprint effort and earned her best performance figure going long on this surface last year. Coupled with the fact that the barn is a profitable 21% efficient when stretching from a sprint to a route, and comes from a live race (the only runner to emerge from that race won her next start), there is reason to expect further improvement in her second start off the layup.

Taking Littletown Bridge to win at 3-1 or greater, boxing her in the exacta with Maggies Smile, and adding late-running Morning Gallop in second and third positions in the trifecta.

Running Totals: (155) 56-33-16. Total Dollar Return: $347.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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