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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I’ve Got the Fever

Today’s feature as we approach the home stretch of the Keeneland spring meet is a money allowances/optional claiming for fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs. Three interesting fillies here are two of the favorites; Sly Storm (5-2), Rising Fever (3-1) and the price shot Adrhythm (10-1).

Sly Storm is a deserving favorite owing to her 5-for-7 lifetime mark. While she clearly owns bigger victories, her biggest with respect to today was her maiden breaker on this track, at this distance at 3. Training strongly for her 4-year-old debut, she returns for Tom Proctor, who certainly can come out firing off the bench, and attracts Rene Douglas, who’s awakened following a disappointing Gulfstream meet.

Rising Fever makes her Keeneland debut for Christophe Clement who’s come out firing at this meeting with a 2-2-0 slate in seven starts. This filly is having a good winter, just missing behind the talented Dream Rush at today’s distance before winning the 7 furlong Manatee next out. With tactical speed and an outside slip in a relatively small field, she’s not only well positioned but attracts Garrett Gomez.

Adrhythm probably prefers more ground, as her record attests, but clearly is a horse for the course. She won her only start on this track last season at 7 furlongs, earning a lifetime best figure. With a return to Keeneland and reuniting with Kent Desormeaux, aboard fro her most recent victory, she likely will work out a decent trip behind what figures to be a live and contested pace. She has an excellent puncher's chance to outrun odds.

But we'll take the New Pace Top, Rising Fever, at 2-1 or greater, and keying her first and second in exactas with her rivals here.

Running Totals: (404) 124-85-53 Total Dollar Return: $849.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting the Lay of the Land in the Bluegrass

If it’s Saturday and if it's…oh, you get the idea…

But today is the centerpiece of the Keeneland meet, the Grade 1 Blue Grass, a pivotal Kentucky Derby prep. Pre-Poly, anyway.

Even though he’s automatically in, Euro shipper Mafaaz is prepping again for the Derby, John Gosden electing for two preps instead of one. However, why no Lasix today? Saving it for Louisville?

And how about this spot for a 3-year-old debut? That’s what Kiaran McLaughlin is doing with Charitable Man (4-1), an undefeated Grade 2 winner as a juvenile and working lights out for this. One certainly can leg up on Polytrack, it’s three weeks from the dance, and he’s 2-for-2 on dirt. McLaughlin is first rate off lengthy layups, this colt is fast, and attracts stable rider Alan Garcia.

Favorite Hold Me Back (3-1) was very impressive winning the Lane’s End in his season’s debut and is now 3-for-4 on three different synthetic surfaces. To come from far back on the cupping out Turfway Polytrack is not easy. He is, however, likely to regress off a big lifetime top Equiform figure, although 3-year-olds are known to pair tops in the spring. But at the price and wide draw, we’ll play against.

Theregoesjojo (7-2) has been terrific this season and is the only colt to finish ahead of Quality Road. Interestingly, if he wants a Derby run, his earnings are on the bubble. He doesn’t have to win this, but needs a healthy slice. He’s worked well for his synthetic debut.

Terrain (6-1) is second off the layup for Al Stall, a good percentage move in and of itself. He finished very well late when third in the G2 Louisiana Derby behind the streaking Friesan Fire, was second in a G1 on this track at 2 and was beaten less than three lengths after a tough first turn in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Pro-Ride. He has two sharp works over the surface and attracts Keeneland’s hottest rider not named Johnny Velazquez in Julien Leparoux.

Betting Terrain to win at 5-1 or greater and keying him in exacta and trifecta money positions with Charitable Man, Hold Me Back and Theregoesjojo, adding General Quarters (15-1), on the bounce-rebound and switching to Eibar Coa with a sharp recent work, to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (403) 124-85-53 Total Dollar Return: $849.00 [win selections only]

There will be no selections in this space tomorrow. Happy Easter, Happy Passover to all our loyal readers

Written by John Pricci


Friday, April 10, 2009

Next Round’s on Mott

If it’s Keeneland and if it’s Friday, it must be a Grade 1. Boutique meet, indeed.

But having said that, this isn’t one of the strongest renewals of the Maker’s Mark Mile. And it’s not easy, either.

The favorite Thorn Song (5-2) is probably the most effective miler. He likes the Keeneland course--unusual for a frontrunner--and he has run well fresh. And Robby Albarado really get s along with these types, this one trained by Dale Romans. He’s won 3 of 5 at the distance and his best Equiform figure came on this surface.

We don’t know how good Fluke (7-2) or whether his last race at Santa Anita was, you know, for real. But the Frankel trainee with Garrett Gomez on the re-ride, won his last at today’s distance in 1:33 3/5, on or near the pace throughout, racing each quarter-mile in :23-and-change. He’s showing excellent development.

The newly turned 4-year-old was Grade 1 placed in fast time in his native Brazil and still has some developing to do at his age. He’s interesting but the class hike despite the competition is still steep and there’s a world of difference between Santa Anita and Keeneland turf.

Mr. Sidney (4-1) turns back to a distance at which he’s 2-for-2 lifetime and hails from the hot team of Bill Mott and Kent Desormeaux. While the lightly raced 5 year old has yet to be tested at this level, but he’s unlikely to find a softer G1 group. Further, coming off a turf decline line, he projects to earn a figure competitive with Thorn Song’s best.

Taking Mr. Sidney to win at 7-2 or greater and keying him in exactas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (402) 123-85-53 Total Dollar Return: $840.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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