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.



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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Youthful Exuberance vs. Professional Veteran


Evening Attire, arguably the most popular horse stabled in New York, is the logical favorite in today’s Aqueduct Handicap at 1-1/16 miles for older horses. The hard-trying war horse will be a tough out, per usual, but probably is worth trying to beat given his expected short odds.

Let’s look at two others in addition to the sentimental favorite, Pink Vipor and Angliana, the horses that jockey Alan Garcia get off and get on, respectively.

There’s no argument that the 10-year-old Evening Attire, winner of the Queens County Handicap over the winter track in December returns at a distance a little short of his best, but the remarkable old pro worked three times since the Queens County, including a bullet half-mile in :47 4/5 termed breezing. Clearly, he loves his job. The challenge today is the anticipated soft pace.

That scenario fits Pink Vipor very well. A horse with tactical speed that can kick on, he draws the pole position with the underrated Rajiv Maragh and figures to get an excellent trip. The colt never has been as good as he is right now, given recent performance figures, and as a newly turned four-year-old, there’s still some upside here.

Angliana, meanwhile, the horse Garcia gets on, is making his second start following a long layup. He is back classy, very fast, and hails from the top Kairan McLaughlin shed. He has every reason to move forward from his latest although, curiously, second start following a long layoff has not been one of this barn’s strength. The thing about Garcia’s decision is that you can’t be sure he’s choosing the horse or the outfit. We shall see.

Taking the value offered on the sharp, developing Pink Vipor at 8-1 or greater, and exacta key boxes first and second with Evening Attire and Angliana.

Running Totals: (165) 60-35-18. Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, January 18, 2008


Go Long in Big A Feature


Today’s feature is another of those short-field competitive sprints where strategy and luck often make the difference. This secondary allowances/$50,000 optional claiming event drew seven, including an entry.

We’ll look at four, from the inside, out: Samsincharge (20-1), Rite Moment (8-5), Littletown Bridge (3-1) and Sky Island (7-2).

Samsincharge is an intriguing price play. Making her second start off a lengthy layup and dropping one solid level, half of her six lifetime victories have come over this surface and, of greater significance, upon which she earned a lifetime best performance figure, among the fastest in the field. She has worked twice since her return and her latest move was excellent. Speed and the rail (24% this meet) doesn’t hurt. Carol Cedeno is more than capable here.

Rite Moment earned a competitive figure winning her winter track/Gary Contessa debut but more significantly never has taken a backward step figure-wise. The problem is that her lifetime best effort came over a sloppy surface and she returns on relatively short rest, 17 days. But Contessa is, after all, a winter juggernaut.

Littletown Bridge is making her third start off a layup, a good percentage play for Kairan McLaughlin and is turning back from a route, a profitable barn scenario. The last time this filly went from long to short, her figure improved. Why not again? She must improve, however, if the others bring their A game.

Sky Island looks explosive in here having gotten back to her lifetime top last out. She worked very strongly for this since her recent rough-trip third, moves outside and benefits from a switch to Alan Garcia. She is part of a Tony Dutrow-trained entry.

In honor of the impending NFL conference championships, we’re throwing deep. Take Samsincharge to win at 15-1 or greater, and key her in all trifecta positions with Rite Moment, Littletown Bridge and Sky Island.

Running Totals: (165) 60-35-18. Total Dollar Return: $376.90 [win selections only] {excludes Thursday’s results}

Written by John Pricci

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