John Pricci executive editor John Pricci contributes to his "Feature Race Analysis" section five times a week, focusing on New York.

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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.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Horse for the Spa Course

Two state-bred turf events at nine furlongs, one for the boys, one for the girls, is the highlight on today’s card and we’ll choose the West Point, given the larger field. There are three that are the most interesting; from the inside, out: Gimme Credit (9-2) Banrock (5-2) and Al Basha (7-2).

What Gimme Credit lacks in company lines, he makes up for in his love for the course, undefeated in two tries on Saratoga turf. His best go was three starts back, significantly at today’s distance, he makes his third start following a layup, a good percentage play for this barn, has drawn a coy inside position and gets Edgar Prado on the re-ride. Having survived rough trips in both recent starts, he appears set now.

Banrock is arguably the most accomplished, hence the short early odds if you’re classifying on the grass, never a bad option. A winner of the Thunder Puddles in his Belmont finale, he’s won over the local ground, too, however it does appear he’s at his best at a slightly shorter route. Kent Desormeaux will try to win his second straight on the five-year-old for a barn that’s gotten off slowly at this meet.

Al Basha, rated into submission in slow fractions in his recent four-year-old debut, finished willingly when cut loose and clearly should benefit from the season’s opener. Like Gimme Credit, he’s undefeated in two starts on the Spa turf and has won half his six starts at today’s distance. The main challenge for re-rider Cornelio Velasquez is overcoming the wide draw.

Taking Al Basha to win at 3-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (249) 78-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $472.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Out With the New and In With the Old

There are four overnight stakes on today’s card, with the nominal feature, the Duke of Magenta, replacing the rescheduled Yaddo Stakes. The headliners in this group are Magna Graduate and Fairbanks, or old Todd vs. same old Todd.

Magna Graduate (5-2) goes first time for Steve Asmussen today off the trainer change. Freshened since the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill in May, he returns off a series of steady works, including a bullet five furlongs, for a barn that’s 24 percent efficient with new acquisitions. With a bankroll of $2.3 million, this 6-year-old is clearly the most accomplished, but he’s never distinguished himself at the Spa, where he’s failed to hit the board in two lifetime appearances. A tactical speed racer, stable rider Shaun Bridgmohan takes the mount.

Fairbanks (3-1) is a forward racer, is fresh, and is the only member of the field boasting a victory over the track, all things that work to his advantage. That and the class edge he enjoys over the group, Magna Graduate notwithstanding. Perhaps most significantly is that the 5-year-old reunites with Richard Migliore, back in New York for good, and a jockey that his ridden this horse very well in the past. The Mig is most dangerous on a horse he can place wherever he wishes. Performance figure-wise, there’s not much separating these two on their best days.

Taking Fairbanks to win at 5-2 or more and exacta boxes with Magna Graduate and the long-winded Angliana (6-1).

Running Totals: (248) 77-51-29 Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Friday, August 08, 2008

Soft Ground Makes Upset Possible

Today’s nominal feature, the overnight Waya Stakes, has attracted a field of a half dozen turf mares going the 12-furlong marathon distance. The key to this might be which of these mares has circled this race on their calendars and which are using it as a bridge to something more significant.

The 6-5 early favorite Tejida, graded stakes placed, clearly has the look of a filly prepping for a return to that level. While her performance figures are very good, compared to the group, she doesn’t look like this race will be the prime goal. But the filly is in need of a confidence boost and could get it here..

The interesting mare here is Archstone (4-1), who has spend most of the spring chasing big-engined Mauralakana--no such rival here. Roger Horgan-trained filly has some races on her card that put her in the battle with the favorite, espeically given the likelihood of yielding to soft footing.

We'll take any value offered on Archstone at 4-1 or greater and an exacta box with the more accomplished Tejida.

Running Totals: (248) 77-51-29. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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