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, June 14, 2008

Stronach, Frankel Playing Both Aces

How one beats the Frank Stronach owned, Bobby Frankel trained entry of Ginger Punch and Spring Waltz in today’s Grade 1 Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares at nine furlongs, I’m not sure.

They look like the perfect tag team, although you’d think having Ginger Punch in the barn is enough in these situations. Last year’s Distaff heroine owns wins at the distance, likes Belmont Park, and has the perfect stalking style and outside position for today’s conditions. Ensuring an honest pace, her streaking stablemate, Spring Waltz, is a great insurance policy in the late stages.

The interesting fillies in here are Moon Catcher and Golden Velvet. The former will be tested for class but could be up to this. Her last was her lifetime best, competitive with the favorite’s, and she’s had sufficient recovery time for Christophe Clement and Edgar Prado. The lone problematical issue could be today’s nine furlongs.

But that’s not the case with Golden Velvet, who earned an excellent figure winning the G3 Sixty Sails at Hawthorne at this distance. She’s had eight weeks rest since that strongly run effort, goes well for Eibar Coa, and Kiaran McLaughlin is showing a hot hand with his stakes fillies this season. The thing about these fillies is that their consistency is matched with laudable versatility, capable of making their own good trips.

Taking the Frankel entry to win with no price restrictions; one, the other, or both, and keying them first and second in trifecta keys with their main rivals here. Also taking exactas with the Frankel ladies on top only.

Running Totals: (219) 70-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $437.10 [win selections only] {Friday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci


Friday, June 13, 2008

Don’t Go to Sleep on Hammock

Today’s feature is for state-breds at a mile and a sixteenths for males on the inner turf course, a “non-winners of 2 other than… optional $30,000 claiming.” You might expect a big field and there is. The bad news is that it’s difficult to make a case for any other than the three early line favorites.

Akebono (3-1) won at this level two back after meeting tougher in a state-bred overnight stakes last time and draws the inside slip for the white hot team of Michael Hushion and Channing Hill. There appears to be sufficient early speed signed on to insure a realistic pace for this late running four-year-old.

Hammock (7-2) is also returning to allowance company after meeting stakes rivals in last. In fact, he been meeting stakes types virtually throughout his lightly raced career and today makes his second start following a lengthy layup. Since his last, Rick Schosberg has drilled him thrice for this, each a good move that was forwardly placed on that day’s worktab. He has good early foot, can kick, and gets a favorable draw toward the inside. Rajiv Maragh replaces Edgar Prado.

Prado lands on Logic Way (4-1), whose both lifetime victories came on Belmont turf and at today’s distance. He’ll be making his second start for Rick Dutrow, who helped the connections earn quick dividends on the barn change last out. He runs late, but did show improved lick in his first start for Dutrow and it’s not surprising Prado takes the re-ride on the Freud four-year-old this afternoon. It will be up to the future Hall of Fame inductee to work out a trip from an outside post.

Taking Hammock to win at 3-1 or greater, keying him in exacta boxes with his main rivals here. Trifecta players can add Couth (6-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (217) 69-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only] {does not reflect Thursday’s results}

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Halation Hell to Pay at Square Price

Same type of race as yesterday’s feature, though, not so much. Going seven furlongs on the Widener course rings a bell, but this one, while also for preliminary allowance types, is eligible only to those bred in the Empire State.

If Halation can run back to his latest on this course, at this distance, early line odds of 12-1 would be a steal. That’s, of course, if he can catch early favorite, Iron Curtain (3-1).

It wasn’t so much that he won his 3-year-old debut earning a good performance figure, but he did it stylishly as if going through his conditions while sprinting on grass would be routine. Well drawn again beneath Javier Castellano, the gelding stretches out a furlong, which should enable him to relax near the lead no matter what the fractions, even dictate them if conditions are suitable. Trainer Steve Klesaris is 26 percent profitable second off that layup and recent maiden winners also are very effective winning right back. Klesaris has won half of his four starts at the meet.

It’s hard to project that we’ll get a repeat effort from Halation. But guessing at 12-1 can be rewarding in the long term. Always under restraint while within striking range under Jean Luc Samyn, he dropped back entering the turn as if he were done, then made a strong late rally down the center of the course for the maiden win. It was newcomer David Prine his first career win and it came at odds of 72-1. Perhaps there’s some value left in those scenarios. I would be less than enthusiastic if front bandages, taken off last time, are back on today.

Taking Halation to win at 8-1 or greater, an exacta box with Iron Curtain, and in a trifecta mix with turf debuting Yukon Gold Rush (4-1).

Running Totals: (217) 69-46-24. Total Dollar Return: $427.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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