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, June 13, 2008

Don’t Go to Sleep on Hammock

Today’s feature is for state-breds at a mile and a sixteenths for males on the inner turf course, a “non-winners of 2 other than… optional $30,000 claiming.” You might expect a big field and there is. The bad news is that it’s difficult to make a case for any other than the three early line favorites.

Akebono (3-1) won at this level two back after meeting tougher in a state-bred overnight stakes last time and draws the inside slip for the white hot team of Michael Hushion and Channing Hill. There appears to be sufficient early speed signed on to insure a realistic pace for this late running four-year-old.

Hammock (7-2) is also returning to allowance company after meeting stakes rivals in last. In fact, he been meeting stakes types virtually throughout his lightly raced career and today makes his second start following a lengthy layup. Since his last, Rick Schosberg has drilled him thrice for this, each a good move that was forwardly placed on that day’s worktab. He has good early foot, can kick, and gets a favorable draw toward the inside. Rajiv Maragh replaces Edgar Prado.

Prado lands on Logic Way (4-1), whose both lifetime victories came on Belmont turf and at today’s distance. He’ll be making his second start for Rick Dutrow, who helped the connections earn quick dividends on the barn change last out. He runs late, but did show improved lick in his first start for Dutrow and it’s not surprising Prado takes the re-ride on the Freud four-year-old this afternoon. It will be up to the future Hall of Fame inductee to work out a trip from an outside post.

Taking Hammock to win at 3-1 or greater, keying him in exacta boxes with his main rivals here. Trifecta players can add Couth (6-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (217) 69-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only] {does not reflect Thursday’s results}

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Halation Hell to Pay at Square Price

Same type of race as yesterday’s feature, though, not so much. Going seven furlongs on the Widener course rings a bell, but this one, while also for preliminary allowance types, is eligible only to those bred in the Empire State.

If Halation can run back to his latest on this course, at this distance, early line odds of 12-1 would be a steal. That’s, of course, if he can catch early favorite, Iron Curtain (3-1).

It wasn’t so much that he won his 3-year-old debut earning a good performance figure, but he did it stylishly as if going through his conditions while sprinting on grass would be routine. Well drawn again beneath Javier Castellano, the gelding stretches out a furlong, which should enable him to relax near the lead no matter what the fractions, even dictate them if conditions are suitable. Trainer Steve Klesaris is 26 percent profitable second off that layup and recent maiden winners also are very effective winning right back. Klesaris has won half of his four starts at the meet.

It’s hard to project that we’ll get a repeat effort from Halation. But guessing at 12-1 can be rewarding in the long term. Always under restraint while within striking range under Jean Luc Samyn, he dropped back entering the turn as if he were done, then made a strong late rally down the center of the course for the maiden win. It was newcomer David Prine his first career win and it came at odds of 72-1. Perhaps there’s some value left in those scenarios. I would be less than enthusiastic if front bandages, taken off last time, are back on today.

Taking Halation to win at 8-1 or greater, an exacta box with Iron Curtain, and in a trifecta mix with turf debuting Yukon Gold Rush (4-1).

Running Totals: (217) 69-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taking the Value Is Just Right

The post Belmont 140 era begins with a preliminary allowances for three-year-olds and up at 7 furlongs on the Widener turf course, and if you’re looking for a horse to single in the $1 million-plus carryover, look elsewhere.

The speed of the speed, Forest of Dreams (3-1), has never run on turf but trainer Jimmy Jerkens is profitable in all relevant categories. Neither has a well bred mid-race mover, Papa Bear (6-1), but he has run very well on the synthetics and trainer Mike Hushion has been 31 percent efficient over the last three months.

Then there’s Pennington (5-1), a 4-year-old gelding with a good-figure win over the course, is 3-for-3 beneath Eibar Coa, but is turning back with quicker and potentially better sprinters. Betelo (9-2), a recent maiden winner who’s developing nicely, is fresh, well drawn and suited by the prevailing conditions. Raynicks Fan (6-1), a course lover coming off a sharp spring season debut and is six weeks fresh for Steve Asmussen and Cornelio Velasquez. Like we said, it’s open.

The favorite has a huge pace edge, a capable turf sire and 29 percent turf-debut trainer. Papa Bear, the fastest here on performance figures, has excellent synthetic figures which should translate to grass. Forest Of Dreams is the most likely but Papa Bear the likely value.

Taking Papa Bear at 6-1 or greater and keying him first and second with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (216) 69-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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