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.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Getting Fat With The Truffle Man

Today’s feature for state-bred three-year-old sprinters is named for one of the fastest New York-bred sprinters to race here, Appealing Guy. Today’s running draws an interesting mix including, from the rail out: Be Bullish (3-1), That’srightofficer (4-1), Another Foose (7-2) and The Truffle Man (5-1).

Be Bullish was dominant winning his last in front-running fashion, earning a lifetime best performance figure. He’s been given five weeks recovery time by trainer Scott Schwartz, which should suffice, he returns at his best distance, is nicely drawn inside and speed guru C.C. Lopez takes the re-ride.

After a top-figure maiden score, That’srightofficer stumbled at the start of his second race, virtually eliminating any chance for a repeat victory. From the resurgent Rick Schosberg shed, he is in position to rebound as he fit’s the speedy shape of this race nicely. Switching to Norberto Arroyo Jr., whose strong-finish style seems to suit the dynamics and the colt perfectly.

Another Foose was beaten by Be Bullish two back after being pressured on the pace throughout. Having drawn outside that rival today, he’ll be able to place that speed challenger under the gun, Ramon Dominguez waiting until he’s ready to pull the trigger. From the dominant Contessa barn, his recent blowout for this was the fastest of 33 sophomores to work 3 furlongs that week. His development has been incremental, indicating another forward move may be forthcoming.

The Truffle Man, meanwhile, is another bounce-rebounder, only he figures to fall between the parimutuel cracks given lower profile connections. With these horses so close on performance figures, determing the speed of the speed becomes important. On pace figures, The Truffle Man has that edge. Not only did he have a right to bounce off his double-top two starts back and the sloppy track likely didn't help. He worked very quickly in his blow for this, a move termed breezing. Young Rajiv Maragh has been rding with great confidence and will have this colt in contention throughout.

Taking the value offered on The Truffle Man at early line odds of 5-1 or greater and a trifecta key in all money positions with the other three contenders.

Running Totals: (171) 62-37-18. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Body Doubles Need Not Apply

There are two added money events to begin the NYRA week and we’ll go with the nominal feature, the eighth race, the Ground Storm and a mile and 70 yards for four-year-olds and up. The six-horse group, including an uncoupled entry, is not every enticing. It appears to be a two-horse battle between probable favorite Stunt Man and potential wakeup Like Now.

Like Now it might be recalled was on the Triple Crown trail briefly for Kairan McLaughlin in 2006 and last year tried the Grade 1 Forego to now available after running off the screen to win a Saratoga allowances. He seems to have fallen on hard times.

Now in the hands of Billy Badgett, he prepped against better in the Paumonok sprinting last time out now stretches out to a two-turn route, which better suits him. Badgett, a profitable 21% effective with horses making their second start for the outfit, clearly has been pointing for this as his route-running and surface preference (3-for-5 on this track) figure to suit him very well. The trainer is pulling out all stops with the switch to Alan Garcia. It’s a matter of whether he is the same horse he was at 3.

There are no such concerns with Stunt Man. He runs his race virtually every time, generally good enough to win, he speed but can stalk from close range, has never finished off the board at this trip and is a multiple inner track winner. The spacing seems to be right here, as Stunt Man returns with 34 days rest, and Ramon Dominguez, aboard for recent starts, accepts the re-ride on the Gray Contessa trainee. Not very interesting but, under the circumstances…

Taking Stunt Man to win, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Like Now.

Running Totals: (170) 62-37-18. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Speed Will Open Doors for La Porta

Today’s Glory In Motion Stakes for three-year-old fillies is around two turns at a mile and seventy yards, and it’s hard to envision it being more than a two-horse race between La Porta and Wonderwho’sbest.

Both fillies are coming out of the same solid event, the Busanda, and while La Porta finished ahead of today’s main rival, she did benefit from a slightly easier trip. It was a case where the speedy filly did all the work but the other picked up the better pieces.

Wonderwho’sbest has improved since Bruce Levine’s claim and her last, in addition to chasing and/or setting the pace throughout, can be forgiven because she might have reacted to a career best figure in a prior start. Levine has not backed off from spotting this filly aggressively and Alan Garcia takes the re-ride.

La Porta, meanwhile, has been racing in excellent form since competing around two turns, for which she is well suited by pedigree. And while the Levine filly did the dirty work in the Busanda, La Porta was uncustomarily far back herself after encountering traffic on the first turn. She made a strong mid-race move into contention then continued to fight gamely, just missing by a neck on the line. Mike Luzzi rides her back this afternoon.

Not getting too fancy here. Taking La Porta to win at 7-5 or greater and an exacta box with Wonderwho’sbest.

Running Totals: (170) 62-37-18. Total Dollar Return: $387.20 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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