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, April 03, 2009

Value Is as Value Does

What many believe is the best race meeting in America, Keeneland spring, opens today with the Grade 3 Central Bank Transylvania Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth for three-year-olds on the turf.

The strength here seems to be position outside with early line favorite Stormalory (2-1) having drawn post 8, and Mikoshi (6-1), to his inside in slip 7.

Stormalory hails from the Mott barn that’s been firing on all cylinders in various venues these days. Storm Cat colt was a good third despite turn troubles in the recent G3 Palm Beach and his effort two back was excellent on the performance figure scale. In his favor here is a race shape filled with speed to suit his late kick and the switch back to Julien Leparoux, aboard for the two-back win. This is a solid, logical favorite.

But Mikoshi sure is interesting. This is a colt with tactical speed and good kick who’s coming to hand rapidly for Michael Matz and attracts perennial Kentucky Midwest star Robbie Albarado. At today’s distance two back, he just missed breaking maiden behind Florentino, well regarded here at 3-1 with Alan Garcia.

He’s on an explosive line figure-wise, drops five pounds and returns with seven weeks rest. He’ll be good value and just might appreciate the switch to the deeper Keeneland turf course.

Taking Mikoshi to win at early line odds of 6-1 or greater and an exacta box with Stormalory.

Running Totals: (395) 121-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $834.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Here Comes the Judge

Today’s feature race in New York is the restricted Smart Coupons Stakes for state-breds going 9 furlongs. A half dozen will clash, meeting in various stages of the form cycles with no discernable patterns. In short, it’s a tough read.

But not if you believe that Judge William (5-2) can get loose on an easy lead, a distinct possibility, especially with the switch back to the aggressive C.C. Lopez. Three of this four-year-old’s five lifetime wins have come on this surface, and while he’s never been the distance, sire Judge T C gives him a good chance to go this far.

The Scott Schwartz barn has come alive recently and it’s been very effective with quick turnarounds, in fact, profitable for a career in that scenario.

If See More Spirit (3-1) can duplicate his last race, everyone’s running for second here. But the effort represented such a big forward move that he must be played to regress. Still, using him defensively seems prudent in this spot.

Taking Judge William to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with See More Spirit.

Running Totals: (394) 121-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $834.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Looking Robust in the Feature

Myself notwithstanding, no living breathing thing is as happy to see the return of New York racing to the main track as is Hale and Hearty, half the Gary Contessa-trained at 3-1 on the early line. The main danger appears to be Half Metal Jacket (5-2), making his second start off the Pablo Ortiz claimed.

Half of Hale and Hearty’s six lifetime wins have come over today’s surface, including a win at eight furlongs. Class-wise, he’s well spotted in this $50,000 starter allowances, has excellent outside position, gets Jorge Chavez on the re-ride and, on balance, is clearly faster than this group. Contessa, who claimed this runner two back, has enjoyed much success stretching to a route off two recent sprints.

Half Metal Jacket is the main danger. He has a versatile running style, won both his starts over today’s surface and also owns a victory at a flat mile. At 111 pounds and breaking from an outside position, the 4-year-old gelding also promises to get a favorable trip. It will be up to Andrea Terrill to time her move perfectly.

Taking Hale and Hearty to win at 2-1 or greater and boxing him in the exacta with Half Metal Jacket.

Running Totals: (393) 121-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $834.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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