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.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Take The Other Pletcher In The Woodward

The calendar says itís not yet fall but when you look at a Saratoga Grade 1 at nine furlongs for three-year-olds and up and see all the entrants carrying scale-weight of 126 pounds, the calendar lies. Itís weight-for-age time.

Todayís Win-And-Youíre-In Woodward is Lawyer Ronís to lose, IF he can duplicate his career best performance figure earned in the Whitney. While the odds are against that happening, given the level of performance, are slim, thereís reason to think it might.

Itís been five weeks, arguably enough time, and the fact that itís Saratoga, where horseís fill up quickly, given the cooler nights, environment, etc., rebounding becomes more than a reasonable expectation. Further, if you love this surface, you love it, and that effort came at todayís distance from post 10. Today Lawyer Ron (2-1) gets the pole and virtually the same rivals he beat last out.

Two of them figure to improve, however, and both are well drawn in posts two and three, respectively.

Diamond Stripes (4-1) also had a wide draw in the Whitney and didnít run nearly as well as Lawyer Ron. But he did make a wide mid-race move and finished willingly without threatening. Returning from his Aqueduct best, he appears set for best in third start off the brief layoff.

Magna Graduate (5-1), the uncoupled mate of Lawyer Ron, never had a chance in the Whitney, stuck down on the inside--not the best place that day--all the way. Those tactics donít suit the horseís comfort zone, either. In his prior, a tough trip cost him a score in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. He figures to improve here and Garrett Gomez hasnít lost confidence in him and will ride him back.

Taking the value offered on Magna Graduate at 9-2 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with Lawyer Ron and Diamond Stripes.

Running Totals: (94) 38-22-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, August 31, 2007

It’s Two… Two Stakes In One!

As advertised, itís the With Anticipation/P.G. Johnson Stakes, restricted to two-year-olds but for colts AND fillies. (The Johnson originally didnít fill, thus the dual stakes).

Kind of an interesting concept, actually.

Itís wide open, as you might expect, but weíve narrowed it down to five (two geldings, a colt, and two fillies). From the inside, out: Sherine (7-2), Carry the Day (12-1), High Appeal (3-1), Pulla Fast One (12-1) and the filly, Sea Chanter, 8-1.

Sherine is the fastest on performance figures, owns a strong late kick, attracts Alan Garcia, who's riding the turf course very well, and hails from a clever barn. The hope is that her mates will scratch so that some value might be available. Certainly don't want to take a short price with such a competitive group.

Carry the Day shipped to Monmouth for the Continental Mile after breaking his (turf) maiden at Belmont Park but the trip wasted his time after the race was rescheduled to the main track. But heís right back in 13 days here, is back on turf, and Gary Contessa reaches out for turf ace Garrett Gomez. He showed good late kick in his grass score, has some tactical speed and is drawn inside. Good value at early line odds.

High Appeal has done nothing wrong, as his 2-for-2 grass slate suggests. He has dominated both sprints, including the Chenery at Colonial last out, hails from excellent Maryland connections and is stoutly bred on the damís side (Sadlerís Wells). He is the controlling speed and hails from the hot Trombetta/Dominguez team. Ramon is adept at nursing speed horses on the grass and he figures to shake loose without much difficulty here.

Pulla Fast One broke his maiden with determination over this course, at this distance, August 19 after the removal of front bandages. Itís not often you see such gameness from a young, inexperienced animal but the pedigree for grass probably makes this all possible, by More Than Ready, from an A.P. Indy mare. Horses fill up quickly here in Saratoga so the fact that heís entered back quickly is not as significant a factor as it might be at another venue. Besides, the early line odds are attractive.

The other filly, Sea Chanter, also is interesting. Stabled at Belmont Park, set to reopen next week, why ship up here to meet colts? The answers lie in the fact that Todd Pletcher is a profitable 28 percent the first time his horses go long and her bullet work is second fastest of 48 two-year-old fillies to work that week at Belmont Park. Sheís reuniting with winning rider Johnny Velazquez and her pedigree suits todayís route. A real interesting spot to be sure.

Taking a filly, Sherine, to win at 3-1 or greater, keying her first and second in trifectas with the other listed contenders.

Running Totals: (93) 38-21-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Don’t Get Mixed Up, Take Favorite In Turf Writers’ Cup

Weíve already discussed the merits of Mixed Up, the favorite for todayís Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Steeplechase Cup Handicap (see Saratoga Diary on home page). His prep for this, the Smithwick Memorial, was first rate. But today thereís added distance and weight, significant variables, but the eight-year-old continues in sharp form for Jonathan Sheppard.

The interesting runner here is The Looper (12-1), trained by Tom Voss. He clearly needed his race in the Sheppard, benefits from a weight switch, the added ground, and the price is intriguing.

Taking Mixed Up to win at 8-5 or greater and an exacta box with The Looper, extra ticket with Mixed Up first.

Running Totals: (92) 38-21-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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