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, November 11, 2007


Royal Highness To Take Measure of European Three-Year-Old


Yesterday, the Red Smith, today, the distaff equivalent, the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, at 12 furlongs.

This fixture usually attracts European invaders and this year is no exception. The depth of quality, however, is lacking, and the only interesting filly that made the trip is Dalvina, a John Dunlop trainee getting first-time Lasix and attracting Cornelio Velasquez. She has been competitive in group events going a distance of ground and, as a three-year-old, has upside potential. She should handle whatever footing she encounters.

Christophe Clement has an uncoupled stable entry here and, clearly, Royal Highness is best of the American entrants. A winner of the Grade 1 Beverly D. last August, she raced evenly while wide throughout the G1 Flower Bowl. Less accomplished rivals, added distance, and the ability to handle any ground, suits the five-year-old owner of the best performance figures in the field. And she’s earned those figures with consistency. Expect Javier Castellano to time her late run perfectly.

Taking Royal Highness to win, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Dalvina.

Running Totals: (128) 44-29-14. Total Dollar Return: $261.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, November 10, 2007


The One Clement Left Behind


Today’s feature is one of the few remaining graded stakes of the New York season, the grassy G2 Red Smith Handicap. It’s probably a safe bet that the ground will be far from firm, the level of wetness depending on how much abuse the course received yesterday. The handicap has drawn a full field and all the entrants have warts. There aren’t too many legitimate G2 horses in the group.

We will concentrate on three, from the inside, out: Golden Strategy (10-1), Operation Red Dawn (8-1) and Sunshine Kid (12-1).

Golden Strategy ships up from Florida for the prolific Marty Wolfson, a true turf ace whose grass runners are profitable for his career as are his shippers. At 28 percent overall, Wolfson probably is enjoying a career year. Wolfson’s charge has run fast, has plenty of upside as a lightly raced four-year-old, showed potential in his only turf start, the G3 Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs, and attracts Eddie Castro, Wolfson’s go-to guy when the rider was hanging his tack in Florida.

Operation Red Dawn has stayed home for Christophe Clement, who has shipped many of his top class runners West to Hollywood Park. He finished like a rocket despite altering course in the G3 Knickerbocker here while prepping for this, and the late developing five-year-old gelding appears to have been raced into top form. Channing Hill is an underrated young rider that knows the value of saving ground on grass.

Sunshine Kid is interesting on many levels. Ridden by Herb McCauley, thus far making a successful comeback by going 5-for-15 at this meet through Thursday’s races, Sunshine Kid ships over for John Gosden, who is a worthy 18 percent efficient when he ships back to the U.S. Sunshine Kid is a late developing three-year-old that’s been competitive in French group company and has handled all kinds of footing. His outside post can be a hindrance, of course, but it also might help him earn a covered-up trip, the preferred tack for European turf runners.

Taking Operation Red Dawn to win at 9-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with Golden Strategy and Sunshine Kid.

Running Totals: (128) 44-29-14. Total Dollar Return: $261.50 [win wagers only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, November 09, 2007


Erring On the Side of Speed


Today’s feature is another flat mile for three-year-olds, a preliminary allowance, “non-winners of 2 lifetime or $75,000 claiming.”

Not much to separate the two choices, late running Gold Trippi (5-2) and the speedster R Clear Victory (3-1). But with the forecast calling for rain, we’ll err on the side of speed.

Gold Trippi is coming off a career best effort at the distance, and now returns to the track where he’s 1-for-1 lifetime and switches to Javier Castellano, the hottest rider on the circuit. Further, he takes the mount for Stanley Hough, a potent tandem. A five-week freshening should be enough recovery off the enervating run.

But R Clear Victory is, by definition, the fastest horse at the distance, makes his second start off a lengthy absence for Steve Asmussen who reaches out for the talented speed rider, Stewart Elliot. While he might face some early pressure, he is the speed of the speed and anyone who presses him early will severely compromise their chances. A speed favoring wet track would only enhance those chances.

Taking R Clear Victory to win at 2-1 or greater, and keying him in exactas first and second with Gold Trippi and price shot Portobello Road (12-1), who owns a competitive figure at Churchill Downs going seven-eighths and is coming off a new pace top, often a harbinger of improvement.

Running Totals: (127) 44-29-13. Total Dollar Return: $261.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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