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.



Friday, November 30, 2007


It’s Between the Brothers, Players


It’s that time of year when the Dutrows and Levines and Contessas excel: Winter Track time. But in today’s feature, it’s Dutrow that holds the upper hand. Which Dutrow? Read on.

More notorious on the national scene, Rick Dutrow is on a local roll, winning with every third starter he’s saddled at the meet. In this contest, he has Mr. Umphrey (3-1), who owns the fastest recent performance figure by virtue of a neck defeat in a small sprint stakes at the Meadowlands. Back in a “non-winners of three other than maiden or claiming or optional $75,000 claimer,” he also sheds four pounds with the switch to stable apprentice Angel Arroyo. A repeat of his most recent effort puts him in the circle here.

But the preferred Dutrow, Pavo, will be saddled by brother Anthony, as part of a stable coupling with Morine’s victory, the second fastest of this group. But it’s recent claim Pavo (7-2) we’re interested in here. The five-year-old gelding loves the winter track. All his best races have come on this surface and he’ll go first time for a man that’s 29 percent efficient on this track, showing a profit of nearly 10 cents on the dollar given a sample of over 300 races. Add in the fact that this chestnut’s big late kick fit’s the race shape today and will be partnered by Ramon Dominguez, who rides at 34 percent for the “lesser known” Dutrow sibling.

Taking Pavo to win at 5-2 or greater and an exacta box with Mr. Umphrey. Will also try to optimize the play with a trifecta key of Pavo first and second with Mr. Umphrey, surface-loving dropdown Southern Missile (12-1), and the well connected, well spotted, Callmetony (5-1).

Running Totals: (138) 49-30-15. Total Dollar Return: $289.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, November 29, 2007


These State-Bred Babies Can Run


It’s always been a cliché: to disparage the state-bred program or damn with feint praise. Today’s feature is an example of neither. This preliminary allowances for juvenile state-bred fillies at six furlongs is deep in speed and talent. We’ll look at three: Palmetto Blues (6-1); Jovanna (5-2) and Noble Fire (3-1).

Palmetto Blues ships in from her New Jersey base but has twice been successful with state-breds on the east side of the Hudson for Jim Ryerson and “Smarty“ Elliott. She showed improvement in her second start, drawing off in deep stretch following a pace duel. Visually, she looked like a filly that would rate, something that would be needed here as there is much early gas in this sprint. The rail should help insure a good trip, given her tactical speed.

Jovanna ran off the screen to win her debut then went up to Finger Lakes and was a very game, albeit disappointing second in her stakes debut. Recycled for 47 days since that effort, she returns to a more likely speed and her pace figures indicates she can be the speed of the speed, given an alert beginning. She’ll be partnered by a apprentice who thus far has not set the world on fire. But Rick Dutrow is giving young Angel Arroyo a big shot here. Who could argue with Dutrow, batting 33 percent at the present meet?

Noble Fire has similar form to Jovanna’s. She was an open lengths maiden winner then finished third in a state-bred stakes against some salty rivals. Like the better members of this group, she’s long on early speed, so it will be a question of whether she can be rated effectively then kick to the wire. If Dutrow is pushing all the right training buttons then Alan Garcia is doing the same on horseback. She seems the more likely to secure the better trip.

Taking Noble Fire to win at 2-1 or greater and keying her first and second with the other two fillies in exactas.

Running Totals: (137) 48-30-15. Total Dollar Return: $281.80 [win selections only] {Wednesday results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Know Thy Condition Book


Today’s feature, a preliminary allowances/optional $75,000 claimer for fillies and mares going six furlongs, marks the opening of the winter surface for the next five months--if there’s racing in New York for the next five months.

It has drawn a relatively full field including two entries and we’ll late at three: Rizzi’s Twist (2-1), La Presse (5-2) and Sunset Cocktail (4-1).

Rizzi’s Twist is part of the Bruce Levine entry, this one owned by the shrewd claiming outfit, Gumpster Stable. Under the unique conditions here, this one drops from secondary allowances because, as a three-year-old, she can enter with a claiming tag despite having won under this allowance condition two starts back. Can you say free ride? If not, can you say fastest filly in the race? Further, she’s good off a brief layup as is her trainer, who’s profitable entering back in this timeframe.

La Presse will try the main track for Kairan McLaughlin and Alan Garcia and should could prove the classiest filly here if she can transfer her solid turf form over to this surface. She came from a million lengths off the pace in her promising Saratoga debut--and might have been best--then she chased a strong pace in a rapid Belmont turf sprint that went in 1:07 4/5. She could easily prove the key here.

Sunset Cocktail is a horse for course, owning a (5) 2-2-0 winter track slate. She earned a competitive figure several starts back and ships in for an outfit adept with their shippers. Further, trainer Derek Ryan is a worthy 2-for-4 when using the live apprentice Carol Cedeno. Because of the low key connections, she could prove excellent value, so check the tote.

Still, we must take the fast, proven commodity, Rizzi’s Twist, at 8-5 or greater and key her first and second in exactas with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (137) 48-30-15. Total Dollar Return: $281.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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