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 14, 2009

A Race Worthy of its Honorees

No problem getting value in today’s G2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes. The problem will be picking a winner in a deep and highly contentious field.

Of the 10 entered; Straight Story, Sal the Barber, Al Khali and El Crespo appear the most logical. And I’m sure I’m leaving some worthy contender out.

But for the top of the ticket, we’ve narrowed the choices to two. Straight Story (7-2) has been nothing if not unlucky--and you might have to worry about his psyche.

In his last two, he’s been beaten narrowly--and we do mean narrowly--by divisional leader Battle of Hastings. Graded stakes toughened, he turns back to a distance that should better suit his abilities, has drawn the rail with tactical speed but most significantly, picks up Johnny Velazquez.

Meanwhile, there’s no telling how good Sal the Barber (5-1) is. He won a recent overnight stakes at the distance, earning an excellent performance, has been given more than enough recovery time, and his trainer, Christophe Clement, is in the midst of a career year.

While he stole his last on a slow pace, he nonetheless exploded into a fast final figure and Ramon Dominguez can make good use of his proven versatility, also having won from far back to remain undefeated in two starts at the distance.

Taking Straight Story to win at 5-2 or greater, boxing him in the exacta with Sal the Barber, and keying him first and second in trifectas with his other rivals named here.

Running Totals: (481) 144-99-66 Total Dollar Return: $994.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Value a Must in Statue of Liberty

It's the fillies turn in the New York Stallion Series, Statue of Liberty division, for 3-year-olds going a mile and a sixteenth on the Saratoga turf. The battle will be among late running favorite Wild Awake (5-2), the speedy Mother Russia (3-1) and the versatile Sezzana (4-1).

The favorite is a deep closer who's finished second in four straight appearances. As the favorite, I don't think so. Neither does Ramon Dominguez, who switches from the public choice to Mother Russian. And doesn't Linda Rice win all the state-bred turf races? Well, a lot of them, anyway.

But versatility, pedigree for the stretch-out, and emerging from a key Finger Lakes stakes that has produced two winners from three starters. Seeking her fourth straight, she's working well for Jim Bond, still has upside and could offer good value here.

Taking Sezzana to win at 3-1 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas and trifectas with her two rivals here.

Running Totals: (480) 144-99-66 Total Dollar Return: $994.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Make’m Holler Uncle

Today’s Cab Calloway Division of the New York Stallion series for New York-bred three-year-old turf horses is always entertaining and on occasion points out a promising runner or two. In this case, two: Early line favorite Uncle Ts Seven (5-2) and third choice Scientist (4-1).

If speed figures are the measure, then Uncle T is the fastest, and it’s not really close. Left with too much to do when a very game third in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes, he returns to turf, over which he’s always run well. In fact, he was overconfidently handled and might have been best in his Belmont turf stakes finale. This looks like atonement here, especially with the switch to Julien. Today’s mile and a sixteenth distance should suit perfectly.

Scientist, meanwhile, couldn’t be coming up to this any better. The Intidab colt is coming up to this perfectly, his turf figures continue to improve, never having taken a backward step on grass, and he’s worked very well locally for this. Kent Desormeaux, a turf ace, takes the re-ride for Bill Phipps.

Taking Uncle Ts Seven to win, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Scientist.

Running Totals: (479) 143-99-66 Total Dollar Return: $987.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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