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, February 27, 2008


Having Fun with Playtime


The NYRA week begins with a preliminary allowances for older New York-bred fillies and mares going a mile and 70 yards. It has attracted a relatively full field of nine but appears a two-horse battle between a pair of very sharp 4-year-olds: Regal Playtime and Twistaway.

Regal Playtime really has come into her own since late last season. She’s won her last two starts, handled the stretch-out to a mile very nicely last out, and has proven quite the horse for course. She has finished in the money in half of her 16 lifetime starts, winning three. If you counted only her races not conducted on the winter track, it’s an unfortunate 0-for-11.

Along with her recent improvement go faster performances figures, indeed, among the fastest in the group. The pole won’t hurt, she gets along real well with stable rider Norberto Arroyo Jr., and has trained very well since her last for high-percentage newcomer Gregory Diprima.

While Twistaway does have some lamentable bridesmaid tendencies, she comes from a long series of competitive events vs. sharp and arguable stronger stock. She has earned excellent performance figures along the way and appears to be cycling back to a lifetime best. Her recent route figure was a pairing of her lifetime best going long, and that makes her look explosive.

Having drawn a better position after her very game second from a wide post at today’s distance last out, trainer John Terranova, who’s won with six of his 24 starters over the past three months, is a profitable 30 percent efficient when running back a beaten favorite. Mike Luzzi, who had a big recent weekend, takes the re-ride.

Taking Regal Playtime to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with Twistaway. Trifecta players can add recent claim Alchera to their mix, a filly who earned an excellent figure last out and significantly drops 10 pounds.

Running Totals: (180) 62-38-21. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, February 24, 2008


An Offer You Can’t Refuse


This is getting a little silly, these New York features. Gary Contessa just has been so dominating, and in today’s Busher for three-year-old fillies going a mile and a sixteenth, he will start half the field of six, including a two-ply entry and an uncoupled starter. He’ll try for a sweep of the weekend stakes and today has himself to beat.

Deities Day and Love Co are coupled for the barn, due to common ownership interests. The stronger half of the favored entry (7-5) is Love Co. She’s really improved since going long as her Equiform figures will attest. She is paying for that recent win, asked to tote 122 pounds and Ramon Dominguez this afternoon.

The value on the early line is the uncoupled Contessa entrant, Sweet Vendetta (4-1), who moved way up with the addition of blinkers last out. In four lifetime starts, the first two on turf, she has never taken a backward step on figures.

Of greater significance, Sweet Vendetta showed good energy distribution in her main track debut then showed a more powerful late run in her last with the hood. The bad news is that she comes back quickly--especially for a filly--10 days; the good news is that she gets six pounds from her favored mate.

Taking Sweet Vendetta to win at 3-1 or greater and an exacta box with her coupled stablemates.

Running Totals: (179) 62-37-21. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, February 23, 2008


Swapping Racing Luck for Stage Luck


Quick: What do all members of the six-horse Rare Treat have in common? Right, none have a win at the 9-furlong distance. In fact, only one of the older fillies even has experience going this far.

What to do? The next best thing. The surface probably will be wet, damp at minimum. Then there’s those who race well, or have inexperience, over the winter track. But there are too many in this very trappy contest, in which the four fastest females all figure very closely.

Aliysa (5-2) is 5-for-6 on wet tracks and first and second in two inner track starts, but she’s coming back a little quick, 22 days. Runway Rosie (4-1) also does very well over wet and inner track surfaces but she’s coming back even sooner and is a little short on the dam’s side of her pedigree. Then there’s Wild Hoots (3-1) with her extremely fast figures going shorter at Laurel. A pair of double tops now changing venues in 28 days, a lot to ask from a filly.

Obviously, this leaves us with the favorite, Stage Luck (9-5), who has the most upside being second off a layoff, a newly gained four-year-old maturity, a strong determination to win and, most significantly, is 42 days fresh.

Not everyone will rush to the lead but there’s a lot of speed signed on here, making this a rider’s race. Don’t like those kind of race where happenstance; who gets the best ride, the best trip, wins. Of those, Aliysa seems like the prime suspect. But Stage Luck closed fiercely to win her last when all appeared lost. The lightly raced Albertrani trainee looks like she wants to be a racehorse.

Taking Stage Luck to win, at 2-1 or greater, and exacta and trifecta key boxes with Aliysa and Wild Hoots.

Running Totals: (178) 62-37-20. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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