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, August 03, 2007

Kelly To Uphold Winning Tradition For Von Hemel Family at Spa

Handicappers should always be concerned when the projected outcome of a race looks too easy. But that’s the feeling one gets when you check the PPs for the G2 Honorable Miss for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, at 6 furlongs.

How can they beat Miss Macy Sue (5-2)? Don’t think they can. At least, on paper, I can’t.

Kelly Von Hemel’s Midwest flyer has everything: raging form off four straight wins, including eight wins at the distance, the stalking speed and kick needed to press fast fractions then go on, a fair impost (117 pounds), a bullet blowout over the main track, and Edgar Prado. Otherwise, she doesn’t have much going for her.

Indian Flare (9-5) is sure to attract attention off her tough-trip non-effort in the G1 Princess Rooney at Calder, a course that many horses simply can’t handle. But we think that an extra half-furlong is really her best game, and we’ll try to beat the early line choice.

The one we fear is Todd Pletcher trainee G City Gal (2-1), who moved forward in her second start of the year, the aforementioned Rooney. She appears to be cycling back into top form.

Taking Miss Macy Sue to win at 8-5 or greater and an exacta box with G City Gal.

Running Totals: (72) 33-15-10 Dollar Return: $193.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

To Need One Or Not To Need One, That Is The Question

Since we’ve gotten here, this is the first Saratoga feature race without a name attached to it, but there are some names within the race that should be familiar to racetrack households. Like the returning Shakespeare (8-5), who’s been away from the races since October 2005.

Shakespeare is now under the care of Kairan McLaughlin and he’s been working bullets for his return. But, like the odds, the distance is a little short and the layup a little too long. We’re betting against.

Unfortunately, the only one we’re left with is the 6-5 early line choice, Art Master. He won the G3 Poker at the distance in very fast time last out, has run nearly that fast in the past, so that a bounce is a little less likely. Four of his five lifetime wins from 10 starts have come at this trip. Bobby Frankel’s 29 percent effective with horses trying to repeat recent scores.

Taking Art Master to win at 4-5 or greater, keying him in trifectas over Gun Salute, Gigawatt and Electric Light. Also, cold exacta Art Master with Electric Light.

Running Totals: (71) 33-14-10 Dollar Return: $193.20 [based on win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Money To Be Made In De La Rose

The nominal feature that begins Week 2 at Saratoga is the relatively new De La Rose Stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on the inner turf course. The key to the outcome is whether 2-1 early line favorite Roshini draws into the race from the also-eligible list.

She’s talented, classy, hails from top connections and owns the fastest performance figure, but we hope she doesn’t draw in. It’s a much better betting race without her.

We’ll concentrate on four fillies as win possibilities, from the inside, out: A True Pussycat (10-1), Amansara (5-1), Ballet Pacifica (5-2) and Beat the Band (10-1).

A True Pussycat earned an excellent figure two starts back, competitive with this group, then was seriously compromised by a slow pace last time out. The conditions today suit her better, Alan Garcia is riding well even if his business has fallen off at this meet, and the filly is nicely drawn inside.

Amansara earned a figure that’s as good as any of these fillies, Roshini notwithstanding, last year as a three-year-old. With four-year-old maturity and from a barn that‘s profitable with its returning absentees, George Weaver’s, she could easily prove the best of these if set for her best go. An inside post and Edgar Prado can’t hurt. As an absentee, she could provide good value.

Ballet Pacifica has shown promise since shipping across the pond. She’s fast, consistent, is also coming off a turf decline line on the Equiform scale (hungry pace) and figures to move forward. She comes off an especially tough trip and might respond very favorably to the addition of blinkers. Stable rider Julien Leparoux takes the call from Patrick Biancone.

Beat the Band earned the fastest performance figure at Monmouth last time, has excellent early speed, and attracts Ramon Dominguez. Trainer Larry Jones is profitable with his shippers and his turf runners. Last out, the five-year-old was an excellent second to a consistent and talented graded stakes performer.

This race is a tough call but could be worth the trouble. Roshini, an unlikely starter, is the most probable winner but you wouldn’t want less than early line odds to win from a wide post. We’ll take Amansara to win at 5-1 or greater and take her in all trifecta positions with the other three (or four) fillies. Additionally, we would use Rich Fantasy (15-1), third on trifecta tickets.

Running Totals: (70) 33-13-10 Dollar Return: $193.20

Written by John Pricci

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