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.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks for a Hot Pace

The Fall Highweight Handicap, the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature, has drawn a talented, well matched field of nine going six furlongs on the Aqueduct main track. How you view the race depends on where you think of Idiot Proof, a proven classy sprinter that’s fallen on hard times in SoCal but ships into Bruce Levine’s New York barn, who’s a profitable 30 percent effective with new acquisitions. Or whether the ship out to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint took any remaining starch out of Grade 1 sprinter Fabulous Strike.

Then there’s the surging Grand Champion; the super talented but troubled Songster, and either of Rick Dutrow’s pair--quick turnaround Stormin Normandy and his new acquisition by way of Kentucky, Nakayama Arashi. Dutrow is 36 percent efficient first time off the claim. Despite the apparent lack of proven high class, the percentages favor Grand Champion and Nakayama Arashi.

No member of this field seems to be doing better at this moment than the Jimmy Jerkens five year old gelding. He’s won thrice beneath Eibar Coa, is the defending champion in this race, fits the race shape nicely with his tactical speed and late kick. And what he might lack in class he makes up for in consistency, with five wins in 11 starts at the distance with one off-the-board performance and he’s won two of three on the Big A main oval. He should sit an inside trip until Coa pushes the button.

Nakayama Arashiwas claimed from the underrated Akiko Gothard. This developing four-year-old has a pair of fairly recent races that would be very competitive here, he has the right running style vis a vis race shape and at 126 pounds gets in "light." Another factor: Normally outside positions are an advantage in one-turn sprints and--this colt is well drawn--that's especially ture under higher imposts. You don't want your momentum broken then try to re-rally under high weights.

So we'll take Nakayama Arashi to win at 8-1 or greater and exacta key boxes first and second with Grand Champion and Fabulous Strike, a classy weight carrier with regular rider Ramon Dominguez up.

Running Totals: (318) 96-65-43. Total Dollar Return: $661.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Bud’s For You

Today’s feature to begin the NYRA holiday week is the Star De Lady Anne for three-year-olds that have not won a stakes this year. The six furlong sprint likely will see A Rose For You (7-2) and Ididntmeantoo (5-2) vie for favoritism--and probably the lion’s share of the purse.

A Rose For You has improved dramatically since moving into the Trombetta barn. A winner of two of three at the distance, she is arguably the second best filly on performance figures and likely will shake clear on the early lead with Eibar Coa taking the ride. The bad news, however, is that her early pace performances came at speed friendly Delaware and she’s coming back in 17 days off two enervating efforts. Conversely, it could be that she’s just a late developer and Trombetta’s found the hole card.

Meanwhile, Ididntmeantoo, the other filly with the best performance figures, also improved with a barn switch. Rick Dutrow is calling the shots now and the filly has gotten dramatically better. Back in 27 days, she has the benefit of a race over the track, the site of a lifetime best effort, and should sit a good stalking trip outside the speed. But she does seem ripe for a regression.

Taking A Rose For You to win at 3-1 or greater, and exacta key boxes with Ididntmeantoo and the sharp, improving Wish For Success (3-1).

Running Totals: (317) 95-65-43. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stormin’ From Gate to Wire

It’s only fitting that as the temperatures plummet this weekend the featured Itaka for state-breds 3 & Up going a flat mile will come down to a battle between the Rick Dutrow trained Stormin Normandy (8-5), Barclay Tagg’s Big Truck (7-2), who began to serve notice at this time last year, and old pro Gold and Roses (6-1), a natural at the distance on this track.

The question with Stormin Normandy is how effective will he be stretching out here. He’s faster sprinting, but owns a competitive figure score under these conditions last spring--the only time he’s gone a mile on the Aqueduct main track. Super sharp, he’s had two maintenance works over his home track and Edgar Prado takes the re-ride on the recent Hudson winner. Dutrow’s 38 percent efficient when seeking to repeat.

Big Truck, scratched from yesterday’s open, graded Discovery for this, finds a better spot, not only for the class relief but for the one-turn mile scenario. His most effective game seems as a middle-distance closing sprinter, he gained conditioning from recent turf routes and now returns to dirt, a profitable scenario for these connections.

Gold And Roses is 4-for-7 at the distance and 3-for-7 over this track but of greater significance is going in the right direction again following a recent barn change. The major issue, however, is that he finished behind the favorite in each of their last three meetings. But today’s distance might prove the great equalizer; might, the operative word.

Taking Stormin Normandy to win, no price restrictions, keying him first and second in the exotics with his rivals here.

Running Totals: (316) 95-65-43. Total Dollar Return: $650.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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