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, January 11, 2008

Light Tactic a Ruby Rubles Heavyweight

A nice little feature for a Friday afternoon, the Ruby Rubles Stakes for New York-bred fillies 4-four-years-old and up going six furlongs. The only knock is that this sprint doesn’t look all that competitive and it will be difficult taking a lot of money out of this event.

From inside to outside, the principal contenders are Tamberino (4-1), Light Tactic (3-1) and Karakorum Starlet (2-1).

Tamberino certainly is sharp enough to pull off a minor upset as she goes for her third straight score. She won the filly division of the Stallion Stakes two starts back at 7/8s an underscored her preference for the winter surface [(5) 2-2-0] when she turned back successfully to win here 36 days ago. Her lifetime best came on this surface and, make no mistake, this is her best distance (7) 3-2-0, too. She has carried weight successfully in the past (122 here) and the connections of Tom Bush and Alan Garcia won’t hurt.

Light Tactic might be the public choice at post time. By definition the fastest filly on performance figures, she’s undefeated at the distance (2-2) and over the surface (1-1). She made a favorable visual impression winning the Personal Bid last out and trainer Rick Schosberg has been on a tear. Ramon Dominguez has a return call. The only negative in today’s resume is she’s picking up five pounds (123) this afternoon. Mate One Tough Belle is better than an empty stall.

Karakorum Starlet almost never runs a bad race and always earns a competitive figure. She was a game second in the Interborough Handicap on New Year’s Day while earning a new pace top. She is, however, coming back quickly and her early line odds are unattractive.

Taking Light Tactic to win at 2-1 or greater, and making exacta and trifecta key boxes first and second with Tamberino and Karakorum Starlet.

Running Totals: (160) 58-34-17. Total Dollar Return: $365.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Right Moment for Recent Claim

Today’s feature is on the mundane side, a non-winners of 3 lifetime, optional $35,000 claimer that attracted a few old friends and very familiar names among the training ranks.

The three major contenders are, from inside, out: Maddy’s Lion (5-1), My Cousin Matt (5-2) and Royal Moment (3-1).

Maddy’s Lion might offer value given his lower profile connections. He’s a two-time winner on this surface and all five lifetime wins have come at today’s distance. He was narrowly beaten last time out and is versatile, either as an off-the-pace runner or a stalker from close range. Pablo Fragoso takes the re-ride and trainer Tim Hills is a profitable 19% efficient when his horses make their third starts off a layup.

My Cousin Matt is, from memory, the horse with the best performance figures. The 9-year-old veteran won both since starts following Tony Dutrow’s claim, even if one came last season here, necessitating a lengthy layoff. But he returned at Delaware Park Oct. 28 with a game come-again victory in an unintended match. He, too, is a dual winter-track winner and he owns eight victories at today’s six-furlong trip. Ramon Dominguez rides him back here.

Royal Moment is a sharp winner of his latest and was claimed from Steve Asmussen by Gary Contessa, pretty much a wash at this level. In fact, Contessa is a profitable 19 % first time off the claim and is another at home as a rallier or a stalker. He has finished off the board once in 14 starts at the distance, including four wins, and loves the surface, evidenced by his (5) 2-1-1 slate. Elliott gets along nicely with this guy and retains the mount despite the barn change. His outer position in a relatively small field should insure a pleasant trip.

Royal Moment is the percentage play at 5-2 or greater. Also, key him in exactas first and second with Maddy’s Lion and My Cousin Matt.

Running Totals: (159) 57-34-17. Total Dollar Return: $358.40 [win selections only}

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When In Doubt, Go Long

The New York racing week begins with an overnight stakes, the Fiesta Lady, for four-year-fillies at six furlongs.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I must say what I think: another relatively small field, another highly contentious race.

Any of the four wouldn’t surprise, from the inside, out: Ticket To Seattle (4-1), Golden Dawn (8-1), Dani Tom Boy (9-5) and Ghost Dancing (2-1). But the problem with them and some of the others is that they are best in front. And choosing the speed of the speed isn’t easy here.

Ticket To Seattle is, by definition, the fastest and has been battle tested in consistently tougher company. But she’s an in-and-out sort who needs the lead. She is, however, working very well and could outclass the group should she speed-pop and scoot away early.

Golden Dawn is coming off a pair of lifetime best efforts following a barn change to Mike Hushion and generally it’s hard to project a third straight forward move. But the races weren’t too fast as to automatically signal a regression and it’s very interesting to note that Hushion if 5 for his last 10 starts with runners making their third start off a layup.

As the racetrack cliché goes, Dani Tom Boy ran to parts unknown in her latest while coming off a layup. Trainer Ben Perkins’ stats actually improve in second start following a lengthy layup and, visually, her turn-move last time had to be seen to be appreciated. But the figure was so extraordinary that she just has to regress. But that win came on this surface and if she speed-pops the field….

Ghost Dancing comes from the Tony Dutrow barn that excels with long-layup returnees. She won on this surface last season and earned competitive figures as an early season three-year-old. If set for best best--and her best will be needed--she has the upside and connections (Ramon Dominguez up) to get the job done.

’Ticket’, ‘Dani and ‘Ghost’ all qualify as most probable winners, that’s why we must opt for potential value. Taking Golden Dawn to win at 6-1 or greater and keying her second and third in exactas and trifectas with the three more likely contenders.

Running Totals: (158) 56-34-17. Total Dollar Return: $347.60 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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