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, April 24, 2009

Always Think Price First

The fun part of handicapping difficult races--and Keeneland leads the league--especially in turf marathons, is looking at the age of the competitors. Among the four horses we’ve seriously considered in today’s Grade 2 Elkhorn at 12 furlongs, the youngest is six, the oldest is 10. It’s just cool, that’s all.

Question: When don’t you want to see Garrett Gomez named on your horse?

Answer: When there’s a chance to beat the favorite and your horse is 8-1 on the early line. The presence of GG surely will deflate the odds. (Too bad this race wasn’t in New York. The crowd there might have overbet Dominguez).

Anyway, there’s a lot to like about Always First. In addition to Gomez, a marathoner couldn’t find many better teachers than Tom Voss. This turf veteran’s best game, according to his performance figures, is 12 furlongs. And he seems to love the Keeneland course, as well.

The 8-year-old gelding PP’s indicate he’s really more G3 than G2, which would have been built into the price, GG notwithstanding, and he’s never been off the board in three local starts and is a 5-time winner at the route. He has a big kick and it’s doubtful there’s another rider on the planet that finishes as strongly as Gomez.

Taking Always First to win at 6-1 or greater, keying him in exotics with Better Talk Now (5-1), a former champion now 10 years old who goes well fresh and with regular partner Ramon Dominguez; Brass Hat (12-1), a generous price on the early line, third off a layoff, third in this race last year and a possible ground saver beneath Borel, and Champs Elysees, a deserving 2-1 favorite, recently second to Einstein in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, a winner of the G1 Hollywood Turf Cup late last year at today’s trip and reuniting with winning partner, Jose Valdivia. (The concern is 124 pounds of high weight).

Running Totals: (411) 125-87-55 Total Dollar Return: $854.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Here’s the Memo on Communique

It just might be that the stakes run Bill Mott and Kent Desormeaux have been on at this meet might come to an end, as the equally hot Rusty Arnold steps up to the plate with Communique, second choice at 2-1 and defending 2008 Bewitch Stakes winner.

Favored Dress Rehearsal (8-5) does come in off a good line, improving with each recent start and a winner over good ground at this distance on good Gulfstream turf. But good at GP and good at Keeneland are two different animals. But she does have the live connections with four year old upside.

Communique, meanwhile, came back to the races with an even effort in the G3 Endeavor at Tampa, a race she badly needed. Now she returns to her favorite course, her optimal distance, is consistently faster than the group by a significant margin, and reunites with Garrett Gomez, who rode her to victory in this race last year.

Taking Communique to win at 2-1 or greater, an exacta box with Dress Rehearsal, and adding Caprice (6-1) and Winter View (8-1) to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (410) 125-86-55 Total Dollar Return: $854.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Lady on the Attack

Today’s Keeneland feature is a money allowances for fillies and mares going nine furlongs on the turf. Per usual, it’s highly competitive. Four horses in this limit field look most interesting: Belle Allure (3-1), Lady Attack (6-1), Impressionism (6-1) and Cherokee Queen (6-1).

Belle Allure kept good company in Europe (Zarkava), has won at the distance, now goes first time Lasix/Clement/Gomez in his second U.S. start. Improvement expected.

Lady Attack is also making her second start off a long layoff in which she was heavily backed after showing class at 3 placing in two New York turf stakes. Training purposefully since, she has a modicum of tactical speed in a paceless field with Robby Albarado in the boot. She, too, will improve.

Impressionism found herself on the lead in a Gulfstream off-the-turfer after being outrun from impossible position in a Tampa stakes. Shug McGaughey has been on an absolute tear at this meet, she picks up Johnny Velazquez and worked very well for this.

Cherokee Queen ships in sharp for Graham Motion and owns a win at today’s trip. The four-year-old miss keeps developing in a manner suggesting a top effort is forthcoming here, with Edgar Prado picking up the mount. She earned a performance figure at 3 that’s more than competitive in this spot.

Thinking, however, that Lady Attack has the most upside for today’s event and the price will be fair. Taking Lady Attack to win at 4-1 or greater, keying her first and second in all exotic pools with her rivals listed here.

Running Totals: (409) 125-86-54 Total Dollar Return: $854.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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