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 20, 2008


NYRA Feature: It’s Between the Brothers


Not much of a feature today in terms of appeal, a preliminary allowances/optional $75,000 claimer that has drawn six betting interests. Of those, two have the best chance.

The key to this will be Starship Cruiser (1-1), by definition the fastest mare in here. But sheís raced only four times, suggesting major issues, but when she shows up she runs. But this time itís off a 207-day layoff and is expected to be fit enough to get all of todayís 1-1/16th miles. Ramon Dominguez takes the call for Rick Dutrow, suggesting sheís live, and sheĎs 1-for-1 on this surface.

But the most probable winner is Street Bird (2-1), a winner under these conditions two back for Tony Dutrow on this track, her first start off a claim. Her performance figure improved, expectedly, and last out her early foot was sharpened against better rivals, indeed a new pace top figure. Two of her three lifetime wins came at todayís distance and she reunites with Alan Garcia, aboard for her two-back victory.

Taking Street Bird to win at 8-5 or greater, and an exacta box with Starship Cruiser.

Running Totals: (166) 60-35-18. Total Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, January 19, 2008


Featuring the Seventh at the Fair Grounds


The feature race for me today doesnít have a name. The seventh at the Fair Grounds is a preliminary allowances for three-year-olds at a mile and 40 yards.

As a self-described wiseguy, I use the term feature race to describe my best value play of the day. Not this time. The value I would get is nonexistent and the colt is no cinch given the race dynamics. Unless heís as special as I think he might be.

Denis of Cork is quite possibly my Derby horse. Other wiseguys know all about him. After today he might even break into the bottom of some Top Ten Derby lists you see around. Or he could disappear completely. Thatís the thing about developing young stock.

Before getting to Denis, I was interested to see this week that Nick Zito plans to bring out certain juvenile champion War Pass in Florida next month, then take the Street Sense path to Tampa. After that, the Wood, then hopefully on to Louisville. Sounds like a perfect schedule.

The 2007 two-year-old that impressed as ďThe Juvenile Most Likely to Succeed in Louisville on Mayís First SaturdayĒ was Remsen winner Court Vision. Havenít even seen his name on the work tab yet. Heís probably with Bill Mott at Payson Park, 90 minutes up I-95 from Gulfstream Park. I assume the Hall of Famer has a plan.

Denis of Cork (5-2) will break from the disadvantageous 7 post in a field of eight, with a short run to the first turn. Post probably wonít matter. Heís likely to just fall out of there and Calvin will take him straight to the fence. From there, his Derby education will begin.

On paper itís clear the Mott-trained Heís The Commander (4-1), Sagaponok (8-1) and Unbridled Vicar (3-1) will provide the sitffest competition. But Denis not only is the probable favorite but also most likely to be overbet. We shall see.

As we've said before (Jan. 4 HRI archives), Denis Of Cork might be very special. His victory is in the conversation for the most impressive debut weíve ever seen. (See for yourself, CD, Nov. 6th race). Moreover, it came at seven-eighths over the Derby track and he did it the right way, increasing his tempo with every stride.

He broke his maiden with a dramatic 5-path sweep. Letís see what Borel does with him today around a second turn. Iím not likely to be betting, just watching. Either way, itís the race Iím looking forward to most. Check the colt out. It could be worth it.

Written by John Pricci

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Youthful Exuberance vs. Professional Veteran


Evening Attire, arguably the most popular horse stabled in New York, is the logical favorite in todayís Aqueduct Handicap at 1-1/16 miles for older horses. The hard-trying war horse will be a tough out, per usual, but probably is worth trying to beat given his expected short odds.

Letís look at two others in addition to the sentimental favorite, Pink Vipor and Angliana, the horses that jockey Alan Garcia get off and get on, respectively.

Thereís no argument that the 10-year-old Evening Attire, winner of the Queens County Handicap over the winter track in December returns at a distance a little short of his best, but the remarkable old pro worked three times since the Queens County, including a bullet half-mile in :47 4/5 termed breezing. Clearly, he loves his job. The challenge today is the anticipated soft pace.

That scenario fits Pink Vipor very well. A horse with tactical speed that can kick on, he draws the pole position with the underrated Rajiv Maragh and figures to get an excellent trip. The colt never has been as good as he is right now, given recent performance figures, and as a newly turned four-year-old, thereís still some upside here.

Angliana, meanwhile, the horse Garcia gets on, is making his second start following a long layup. He is back classy, very fast, and hails from the top Kairan McLaughlin shed. He has every reason to move forward from his latest although, curiously, second start following a long layoff has not been one of this barnís strength. The thing about Garciaís decision is that you canít be sure heís choosing the horse or the outfit. We shall see.

Taking the value offered on the sharp, developing Pink Vipor at 8-1 or greater, and exacta key boxes first and second with Evening Attire and Angliana.

Running Totals: (165) 60-35-18. Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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