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, January 21, 2008


The WInkfield Horses: These Are Their Stories


Today’s feature honors one of the great African American jockeys of a century ago, the legendary Jimmy Winkfield, who won two Kentucky Derbies before he was 23. This afternoon, seven three-year-old colts, several promising sprinters, will race three-quarters of a mile in the now traditional Martin Luther King Day feature.

We’ll look at three, from the rail, out: All Expenses Paid (5-1), Accredit (2-1) and Law And Dora (4-1). The race has a nice blend of speed, mid-speed and late pace. The trip will make the difference.

All Expenses Paid has the most experience but it wasn’t until start number six, and his first following Rick Dutrow’s claim, that he moved up. Recent performance figures were excellent and he looks poised for a forward move. The rail position at 6 furlongs is winning at a 21% rate this meet and he figures to sit a good trip beneath Channing Hill.

Accredit is the key. He earned an excellent figure in his maiden breaker last out and is, by definition, the fastest horse in here. Kiaran McLaughlin has given the E Dubai colt a full 60 days to recover, the trainer profitable with horses returning in that time frame. He’s trained steadily since the maiden win, as if pointing for this spot. Rajiv Maragh takes the re-ride. The unknown is whether he can handle stronger pace pressure while stepping up here.

Law And Dora is undefeated in three starts. His performance figures are competitive, but of greater significance is his running style. Whether on the lead or off the pace, the result has always been the same. He’s handled trouble and needs no made to order conditions. His outside slip is a tactical advantage, giving white hot Ramon Dominguez options to play the race off the break. His bullet :59 2/5 at his Philly Park base, termed breezing, indicates he’s held form well.

Taking Law And Dora to win at 5-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exacta boxes with his major rivals here. Trifecta players can add Go Go Shoot (8-1), coming off a new pace top, in all money positions.

Running Totals: (167) 61-35-18. Total Dollar Return: $382.00 [win selections only] {excluding Sunday's results}

Written by John Pricci

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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 she’s raced only four times, suggesting major issues, but when she shows up she runs. But this time it’s off a 207-day layoff and is expected to be fit enough to get all of today’s 1-1/16th miles. Ramon Dominguez takes the call for Rick Dutrow, suggesting she’s live, and she‘s 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 today’s 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 doesn’t 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 he’s 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. That’s 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 “The Juvenile Most Likely to Succeed in Louisville on May’s First Saturday” was Remsen winner Court Vision. Haven’t even seen his name on the work tab yet. He’s 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 won’t matter. He’s 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 it’s clear the Mott-trained He’s 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 we’ve 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. Let’s see what Borel does with him today around a second turn. I’m not likely to be betting, just watching. Either way, it’s the race I’m looking forward to most. Check the colt out. It could be worth it.

Written by John Pricci

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