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.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Not What Columbus Had in Mind

Today's Belmont feature is the Pebbles Stakes for 3YO fillies, a.k.a. the Chad Brown Handicap, going a mile on turf. As suggested, Brown has himself to beat with three of the eight entrants his. We prefer Partisan Politics (5-2) in a toss up over first-Lasix, first-time U.S. and first-time Chad Brown trainee, Light in Paris (3-1).

It took a little longer for Partisan Politics to get in gear than the late runner normally takes, but when she did, whoosh! Flying home, she missed by a nose to Stormy Regent. Returning with ideal spacing, she should very well make amends here.

Taking Partisan Politics to win, no price restrictions, and key-boxing exactas with both uncoupled mates, which includes the former Euro and Consumer Credit (4-1).

Number of Selections since 2007: 1845

Number of Win and Place Finishes: 555-355

Amount Wagered: $3,690 [$2 to win only]

Total Dollar Return on Investment: $3,792.80

Profit to Date: $102.80

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

I Have a Dream Today

Shipping to Lexington for today's feature, a secondary allowances/optional claimer at a mile and sixteenth for 3YOs and up and it's easy to spot the deserving favorite, Hazards of Love (9-5).

His figures, on anyone's scale, gives him a wide margin, and the trainer change to Chris Richard augurs well, especially with the spacing between the veteran gets between starts..

But we're risking a gamble on a Saratoga horse of watch, Zambian Dream (5-1), who is making his dirt debut following a series of strong works, the latest over this track, the second fastest of 50 at the distance.

After a magical mystery trip in his U.S. debut, he showed surprising early speed, was pressured all the way, but held very well for third--all this after a troubled start. He is primed for this wake-up call with the switch to Jersey Joe.

Taking Zambian Dancer to win at 5-1 or greater and an exacta box with the favorite.

Number of Selections since 2007: 1844

Number of Win and Place Finishes: 555-354

Amount Wagered: $3,688 [$2 to win only]

Total Dollar Return on Investment: $3,792.80

Profit to Date: $104.80

Written by John Pricci

Comments (0)


Saturday, October 10, 2015

All Those Stakes--and the International Trot, Too!

Today’s expanded Feature Race Analysis brought to you via special promotion arrangement with

The significant Breeders’ Cup preps are in the books, but there may be a couple of stragglers. Today’s Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland could easily produce a starter or two for the Filly and Mare Turf, perhaps even the turf Mile.

The same might be said of Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes for older turf males going 9 furlongs, but that’s a big ‘if’ given the paucity of legitimate Grade 1 talent in the lineup.

On the Left Coast, meanwhile, there are a pair of one mile stakes for juvenile on the grass, one for each sex, and given the nature of young horses, especially grass runners, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turfs could possibly pick up another starter or two.

But today is special in another way: The International Trot, pioneered back in the day at Roosevelt Raceway--the first live race I ever saw in 1960 thanks to mom and dad—will have its revival at Yonkers Raceway this afternoon at 3:10 EDT after a 20-year absence.

We intend to celebrate its return with a token wager. For more ambitious punters, Yonkers is offering a 50-Cent Pick 5 with a seeded pool of $25,000 and guaranteed at $75,000.

Whatever your wagering pleasure, here’s one handicappers look at today’s four potential preps and the International Trot. First, the G1 QE II at the site of Breeders’ Cup XXXII.


Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth:
Unlike many traditional fall stakes at Keeneland, the Queen Elizabeth II for three-year-old turf fillies usually produces a formful result despite the always competitive nature of the competitors.

We’re not saying that Sentiero Italia (6-5) is a cinch but she surely has been a revelation this summer, taking Saratoga’s G2 Lake Placid and Belmont Park’s G2 Sands Point with style. She owns a tremendous turn of foot and gets along very well with Joel Rosario.

After her, I left five of the remaining eight horses open as possible upsetters: Miss Temple City goes first-Lasix for Graham Motion, a profitable 25% angle.

Then, from the inside-out, the California pair of Prize Exhibit and Her Emmynency, second-time Lasix import Blond Me, the Sands Point runner-up and Feathered, a fast developing three-year-old who was a dogged second in the G2 Lake George.

Bettables: The fastest filly on the Thoro-Graph scale, my Energy Ratings indicate she’s versatile enough to handle any pace scenario. She’s won on first and good ground.

We’ll take her to win at early line odds or greater, and key-box her first and second in super-exotics with the fillies listed above, exactas with Blond Me and Feathered.


Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes:
War Dancer (7-2) and Mr Speaker (4-1), the top choices on the early line, probably will be ante post favorites as well.

The distinction is deserved as they hail from top outfits and have faced excellent company, especially the former who has knocking heads with the division’s best.

He’s the most probable winner although you never want to take too short a price on a horse that’s been knocked on the noggin so often that it might have taken some of the fight away. If, however, he shows his class, 5-2 would be fair odds.

Instead, we will mix it up in here, or should that be box it up: We normally eschew three horse exacta boxes but at probable fair post time odds for all, we’ll take these three:

Messi, 5-1 early line, bobbled at the start of the mile and a half G1 Sword Dancer, but even if he hadn’t there was no beating course record setter and subsequent Arc runner-up Flintshire on that Travers afternoon. He’s won his only Belmont start and today’s 9F trip suits him much better.

Legendary (8-1) had come into his own as a gelded 6-year-old, he’s G1 and G2 placed this year and is 3-for-4 at Belmont and also benefits from shorter trip. Out-of-town connections should insure a fair price.

All Included (4-1) is a late-developing Pletcher-trained 4-year-old who finished with good energy when third in Ironicus’ course record Bernard Baruch last out, is bred both sides for the mini-stretchout and has won 2-of-3 on Belmont turf.

Bettables: Betting Legendary to win at anything close to early line odds and will key-box Legendary and War Dancer in separate wagers with each other, adding Mr Speaker to one mix and Messi to the other. Capice?


Surfer Girl Stakes:
The two likely post timer favorites, Doug O’Neil’s Jakaby Jade (3-1) and Jerry Hollendorfer’s Imflatoutsweet (5-1) are the most likely to succeed in this group.

Jakaby is the more accomplished, winning her Great Britain finale and Lingfield on soft ground sprinting then showed versatility and class winning Del Mar’s Juvenile Fillies Turf on firm ground around two turns.

In the latter, she outfinished Imflatoutsweet with the benefit of an easier trip; she saved ground with a rail rally while favorite ‘Flatout’ spun into the 5-path turning from home.

Bettables: With a switch to James Graham and the addition of blinkers, she appears to have more upside here and is taken at 3-1 or greater to make amends for disappointing as the favorite in So-SoCal.

Zuma Beach Stakes: Imalreadythere (5-2) clearly looks like the Hollendorfer horse to beat. Purchased privately after her maiden breaker at Gulfstream Park, he shipped out for the Del Mar Juvenile Turf and was a willing third in a wide-open 11-horse scramble.

But we’re looking for a minor upset with well-regarded maiden Dressed in Hermes (3-1). In his second start and turf debut, the gelded Hat Trick baby battled on the pace early, dropped back, then re-rallied for a gutsy third-place finish.

Janet Armstrong, a profitable 24% effective returning with this spacing, pointed directly to this. The workline got faster, the blinkers come off and Gary Stevens goes on.

Bettables: I’m sold, at early odds or greater taking Dressed in Hermes to win and key-boxing exactas with the favorite and Optimism and Hope (12-1), going first time for Phil D’Amato and picking up Mike Smith.


International Trot:
A rare afternoon card features the return of the storied trot for the first time in two decades. Kudos to Tim Rooney and to New York’s Standardbred Owners who ponied up the $25,000 seed money for the 50-Cent Pick 5.

Imagine, horsemen putting up money for bettors instead of vice versa. Cool!

Whenever we go to the harness races, we go equipped with Trackmaster Ultimate PPs; very comprehensive. But not this time.

When European Thoroughbreds ship over, at least there are fairly descriptive comment lines describing the trip, finish, name of race, company lines, etc. But the information on the International field was very sparse.

Consequently, after conceding the race to Bee a Magician (3-1), 10-for-14 this year with Brian Sears in the bike, we checked some videos and will take a small upset shot with Creatine (4-1) who has a lot of early gas and is a likely trip sitter for Johnny Takter from the pole.

Speed is always a great weapon to have, even around three turns at a mile and a quarter. Trotter king Jimmy Takter took over the training of the Andover Hall 5YO this summer and that might signal an upset should the favorite disappoint, unlikely on paper.

Creatine’s early line just might hold and looks like the minimum we’d accept to win, exacta boxing with the favorite.

For daily Feature Race Analysis rolling totals purposes, we're going on record with Legendary (8-1) in Belmont Park's Knickerbocker to win, taking him at 6-1 or greater and boxing the exacta with War Dancer.

Number of Selections since 2007: 1843

Number of Win and Place Finishes: 555-354

Amount Wagered: $3,686 [$2 to win only]

Total Dollar Return on Investment: $3,792.80

Profit to Date: $106.80

Written by John Pricci

Comments (1)


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