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, April 02, 2009

Here Comes the Judge

Today’s feature race in New York is the restricted Smart Coupons Stakes for state-breds going 9 furlongs. A half dozen will clash, meeting in various stages of the form cycles with no discernable patterns. In short, it’s a tough read.

But not if you believe that Judge William (5-2) can get loose on an easy lead, a distinct possibility, especially with the switch back to the aggressive C.C. Lopez. Three of this four-year-old’s five lifetime wins have come on this surface, and while he’s never been the distance, sire Judge T C gives him a good chance to go this far.

The Scott Schwartz barn has come alive recently and it’s been very effective with quick turnarounds, in fact, profitable for a career in that scenario.

If See More Spirit (3-1) can duplicate his last race, everyone’s running for second here. But the effort represented such a big forward move that he must be played to regress. Still, using him defensively seems prudent in this spot.

Taking Judge William to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with See More Spirit.

Running Totals: (394) 121-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $834.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Looking Robust in the Feature

Myself notwithstanding, no living breathing thing is as happy to see the return of New York racing to the main track as is Hale and Hearty, half the Gary Contessa-trained at 3-1 on the early line. The main danger appears to be Half Metal Jacket (5-2), making his second start off the Pablo Ortiz claimed.

Half of Hale and Hearty’s six lifetime wins have come over today’s surface, including a win at eight furlongs. Class-wise, he’s well spotted in this $50,000 starter allowances, has excellent outside position, gets Jorge Chavez on the re-ride and, on balance, is clearly faster than this group. Contessa, who claimed this runner two back, has enjoyed much success stretching to a route off two recent sprints.

Half Metal Jacket is the main danger. He has a versatile running style, won both his starts over today’s surface and also owns a victory at a flat mile. At 111 pounds and breaking from an outside position, the 4-year-old gelding also promises to get a favorable trip. It will be up to Andrea Terrill to time her move perfectly.

Taking Hale and Hearty to win at 2-1 or greater and boxing him in the exacta with Half Metal Jacket.

Running Totals: (393) 121-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $834.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, March 29, 2009

African Violet, By Any Other Name, Spells Value

Today’s feature to close Florida Derby weekend is the Grade 2 Rampart for fillies and mares going 9 furlongs and it drew an interesting group. The early line favorite, One Caroline (5-2) is the fastest on performance figures and is undefeated in two starts.

She has been pointed toward this, and so it appears to be the case with “house horse” Ginger Brew (3-1) and the interesting African Violet (10-1).

What makes One Caroline formidable, her recent fast figure notwithstanding, is that two of those wins came on this surface, she looms the controlling early speed, which played very well yesterday, and clearly is bred for the added distance.

Not only is Ginger Brew competitive and well drawn inside, she hails from a barn that’s a profitable 32 percent efficient with third-time starters following a layoff. Javier Castellano, who won three straight aboard the filly at this time last year, gets the ride back.

But African Violet is also 2-for-2 on this surface, makes her second start off the layup going turf to dirt for Graham Motion, earned competitive figures last season, is coming off a delayed pace top and drilled a strong five furlongs preparing for this at the Palm Meadows training facility.

She’s drawn outside, which suits her stalking style, and picks up Julien Leparoux--amazingly cool while getting the job done aboard Justwhistlindixie under similar conditions in Friday’s Bonnie Miss. Yes, she clearly looked like the class going on; this one looks like indisputable value at early line odds.

Betting African Violet to win at 8-1 or greater and keying her first and second in exactas with her two rivals here, extra tickets with One Caroline.

Running Totals: (392) 121-81-53 Total Dollar Return: $834.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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