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, 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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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Value Available in Big A Feature

Fresh, fairly fit and, hopefully, dangerous. Thanks for your patience, understanding and kind words re: our feature race analysis.

Today’s centerpiece is a non-winners of 5 other than… optional $75,000 claimer going a flat mile on the Aqueduct main track.

The early odds on the Gary Contessa entry likely will be a shorter at post time than the 3-1 offered on the early line, but at this moment it’s enough to know that the line-maker has the incorrect favorite.

We understand that Out Of Gwedda has good company lines, and that Explosive Heat (2-1) is sharp but either half of the entry could win this and in the event of a scratch, the price on the other should price proportionately.

Think Indian War Dance is a distance specialist with a liking for the surface? It’s not rocket science when the career box rolls a perfect seven at the distance and four wins from six tries over this ground. Throw in competitive speed figures and you would think the gelding can handle today’s class rise.

But I’d prefer if Contessa would choose Stolen Time as a stand-alone starter here. A profitable 20% effective with new acquisitions, Stolen Time has been working very well for his new connections, is well suited to prevailing conditions, and attracts Eddie Castro, aboard for this veteran’s last victory.

Owning tactical speed and kick, his outer position should enable Castro a good view from the catbird seat and allow him to get the jump on his rivals when ready. He is well suited to race shape dynamics here.

We’re looking for 2-1 on the entry to win if both start, 5-2 on one half should the stable-mate be scratched.

Running Totals: (126) 44-28-13. Total Dollar Return: $261.50 [based on win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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