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"
Friday, August 17, 2007
Didn’t You Get The Memo?
Can’t get over how good and competitive the stakes have been at Saratoga this year, especially on turf. Today’s feature, the Grade 2 Lake Placid for three-year-old fillies, underscores that assessment. It’s a beauty, with the opportunity for a score if you can nail the puzzle down.
We left five fillies open for consideration but will concentrate on three here; from the inside, out: Communiqué (8-1), New Edition (10-1) and Sharp Susan (7-2).
Communiqué, nicely drawn inside with a switch to turf ace Julien Leparoux, has been battle tested and has survived nicely in top company. Hindered by a slow pace in the salty, Grade 1 American Oaks, her prior was a career best try despite a tough trip in the Regret at today’s nine furlong trip. She is ready to step up a notch here For a barn whose horses re outrunning their odds at this meet.
New Edition was a game second behind juvenile champion Dreaming of Anna in the nine furlong Virginia Oaks last out, stalking the pace throughout after leaving from the 11 slip in the field of 12. It was her best performance figure to date and remarkably has never taken a backward step in five starts on turf. Her figures put her right in this at inflated odds.
Sharp Susan’s last was remarkable. Not so much that it was her career best but because it coincided with her first try on the Spa lawn and with the removal of blinkers. It also was her first go with Kent Desormeaux in the boot and she owns a win at today’s trip for Saratoga’s leading trainer, Bill Mott. She’ll make amends with a repeat of her most recent effort but doesn’t figure to offer value.
Taking Communiqué to win at 6-1 or greater and keying her first and second in exacta boxes with New Edition and Sharp Susan.
Running Totals: (82) 36-18-10 Dollar Return: $211.30 [win selections only]
Written by John Pricci
Thursday, August 16, 2007
No Shortage of Talent in Intriguing Saratoga Special
Today’s feature is a terrific horse race and a fascinating handicapping exercise, the Grade 2 Saratoga Special for juvenile colts at 6-½ furlongs.
Four horses will attract the most attention and rightfully so, from the rail out, Kodiak Kowboy (5-2), Sargent Seattle (2-1), Riley Tucker (3-1) and The Roundhouse (7-2).
Kodiak Kowboy is a deserving favorite. After winning a listed stakes at Woodbine, he shipped down to Churchill and won the G3 Bashford Manor, always a harbinger of quality in early season two-year-old stakes. His performance figure was fast and he’s had sufficient recovery time (40 days) since. The rail post is winning at a 20 percent rate in recent Spa sprints. The Kentucky team of Steve Asmussen and Shawn Bridgmohan are the connections.
Sargent Seattle was a visually impressive maiden breaker over this racetrack for Stanley Hough, earning a competitive figure, and returned with a strong half-mile work subsequently. The :47 2/5 drill was third fastest of 61 on the day. Of the major contenders, he’s the only one with a winning race over the course.
Riley Tucker returns for Bill Mott after breaking his maiden with style in his very well meant debut. His figure was competitive and the 1:01 drill since should toughen him sufficiently for today’s demanding assignment. Edgar Prado rides the son of Harlan’s Holiday.
The Roundhouse was a very willing third behind impressive stablemate Ready’s Image in the Sanford on the second day of this meet, and that’s after being bumped fairly soundly at the break and carried wide into the stretch. Since he’s coming back a little quick for the Todd Pletcher barn (3 weeks) he’s had a usefully soft half-mile work in :49, a move termed breezing, with the hope that the work will keep him right where he is now. Garrett Gomez has the mount.
It’s a tough call for the win between the top and bottom horses; Kodiak Kowboy having an experience and position edge; The Roundhouse owning an edge on performance figures and a race over the track. It’s even harder to know which horse the crowd will prefer.
Taking The Roundhouse to win at 5-2 or greater, an exacta box with Kodiak Kowboy of equal strength, using the other two colts to fill out trifecta positions in the second and third spots.
Running Totals: (81) 36-17-10 Dollar Return: $211.30 [win selections only]
Written by John Pricci
Monday, August 13, 2007
On Turf, Take Experience Over Speed
Today’s feature is the Troy, an overnight stakes for older horses going 5-½ furlongs on the Mellon turf course. There have been many short sprints run at this meet but this is the first we can remember for top echelon horses.
For us, this comes down to a three-horse affair, including both halves of the Saeed bin Suroor stable entry, Council Member and Afrashaad (6-5), second favorite First Word (3-1) and short-sprint specialist T.D. Vance (6-1).
The entry will be hard to beat. On performance figures Afrashaad is the fastest horse in here and by a significant margin. If he takes to the grass at all, being a first-time turfer, he will probably lead throughout. Stablemate Council Member showed an explosive turn of foot on the main track at Belmont this spring but won listed sprint stakes on turf in Europe. They will be formidable.
First Word is a Bobby Frankel trainee who finished second after making a bold mid-move in the listed Notoriety Stakes at seven furlongs. The turn-back suits his running style and Frankel is effective with horses shortening up. Grass maven Edgar Prado gets the call.
T. D. Vance is the interesting horse at early line odds. Never off the board in short turf sprints, he earned a good figure at this distance on the Keeneland turf last fall. A fresh five-year-old gelding, he’s stakes tough and won the Grade 2 Hall of Fame here as a three-year-old. Garrett Gomez, aboard for that Keeneland sprint, takes the call. He’s been working very well at his Fair Hill training center base.
We’ll take T. D. Vance to win at 4-1 or greater. Also making an exacta box with either or both halves of the Suroor entry and a trifecta part wheel of T. D. Vance and the Suroor entry first with those two and First Word in the second and third trifecta positions.
Running Totals: (79) 34-17-10 Dollar Return: $197.70 [win selections only]
Written by John Pricci