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.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Euro Invader in Pilgrim? Of Course

A pair of rare midweek stakes for juveniles looking for a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile turf races for fillies and colts. Today we’ll look at the colts for the Grade 3 Pilgrim which has drawn no less than a handful of promising youngsters, concentrating on two: Bittel Road and Duke of Homberg.

It’s impossible to knock what we’ve seen from Bittel Road (5-2), undefeated in two starts, one over this course, the second at this distance in Saratoga. There’s no doubt trainer Todd Pletcher is treating him like a good horse, giving him proper spacing between starts with enough time into this following his score in the With Anticipation Stakes.

The impressive thing about his record to date is his demonstrated versatility and class, winning his debut from in front, his stakes debut from off the pace after being sloughed badly at the start. Not only did he answer two significant questions but proved he wants to be a racehorse with his game eyeball-to-eyeball test last time. Pletcher’s on a roll, as is stable rider Johnny Velazquez. Bittel Road is a solid favorite.

But Europeans have been taking out measure consistently on grass and Duke of Homberg (3-1) won his second start with style, showing an ability to make multiple moves then sustain his run through the stretch. His recent win in a maiden stakes came out a distance which by pedigree he seems unsuited, given the average winning distance of the offspring of his sire and grandsire are 8.4 and 8.3 furlongs, respectively. Add in first-time Lasix and a switch to turf ace Edgar Prado and an upset is a strong possibility given anticipated continued improvement.

Taking Duke of Homberg to win at 3-1 or greater, an exacta key box with Bittel Road, and a trifecta key first and second. adding promising Herr Mozart (4-1) and Relatively Ready (6-1) in money positions.

Running Totals: (283) 86-59-33. Total Dollar Return: $515.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stalingrad Wins the Battle of Kelso

Today’s featured Kelso Handicap, a Grade 2 eight furlongs for Breeders’ Cup Mile aspirants, has attracted six entrants and the value would be in defeated 5-2 early line favorite Operation Red Dawn. The two having the best chance are a pair of 3-1 early line options, Tam Lin and Stalingrad.

Tam Lin finally returns to his most effective distance and he’s been very good on this course, too, never off the board in three starts under those conditions. Further, trainer Saeed bin Suroor recently has won with half of the six starters he’s stretched out from a sprint. Tam Lin reunites with Javier Castellano, a winner in his only try aboard the Selkirk five-year-old.

Stalingrad is coming up to this fresh and fit. He just missed in the G2 Fourstardave at Saratoga despite a considerable loss of ground. Prior to that he was unsuited by the conditions and the company in the G1 Manhattan previously, that after winning both prior starts as a four-year-old. Stalingrad won his only start at today’s distance and has found his niche for the Mike Hushion/Channing Hill team.

Taking Stalingrad to win at 5-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his main here.

Running Totals: (282) 86-58-33. Total Dollar Return: $515.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

You Need Fabulous Speed to Win the Vosburgh

The five Grade 1 stakes on the Jockey Club Gold Cup card comes replete with many hard-to-beat short-priced favorites, headed by Curlin (3-5) in the JCGC. Consequently, we’ll take a short detour and look at the highly contentious Vosburgh at six furlongs. We view it as a battle of the two early choices, with the hope the linemaker has the wrong public choice.

Fabulous Strike would have been one of the BC Sprint favorites had he not gone wrong following his 2007 Vosburgh score. Freshened since winning his season’s debut earlier this year, Fabulous Strike (5-2) has earned the fastest performance figures with consistency, he can front run or stalk from close range, and earned his lifetime best figure on a wet track, which he figures to get today, and has won three of four lifetime starts on this strip. Ramon Dominguez will not hurt his chances.

Lucky Island (2-1) is right behind figure-wise and, after disappointing in his lone Saratoga start, returns to the surface over which he earned his best figures and is undefeated in two starts. After a poor start, he rallied strongly for a money position behind First Defence in the Forego, which has produced a winner from one subsequent starter. Today, Lucky Island returns to his best distance and retains Alan Garcia.

Taking whatever value is offered on Fabulous Strike at 3-1 or greater, an exacta box with Lucky Island, and as a trifecta key that includes price shot Kodiak Kowboy (10-1).

Running Totals: (281) 86-57-33. Total Dollar Return: $515.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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