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, December 13, 2007

Wild Scramble Likely in Big A Feature

Today’s feature is a bit of a wild one, having drawn 11 overnight, including two entries, with young developing stock meeting faster elders--in same cases, much older stock. This secondary allowances, optional $50,000 claimer is an open contest. We’ll look at three entities:

Missile Motor (3-1) is part of the Gary Contessa entry, a 4-year-old that earned an extremely fast performance figure last out, fastest in this race, and by a lot. If he repeats that effort, the competition is running for second money. But a repeat, given the nature of that lifetime top and the relatively short recovery time. Still, he has tactical speed, kick, and an enviable inside draw in a bulky field. He’s a worthy favorite.

The Anthony Dutrow entry, headed by My Cousin Matt (9-2), is formidable. Each has tactical speed, position conscious riders and either figures to be in a position to win throughout the six furlong sprint. Mate Serious Fever is young, fresh with upside potential and could insure an honest pace for his pace stalking mate. He’s been in the money twice on this surface, including a victory, and no local barn is hotter than this one at the moment.

Spooky Mulder (4-1) is a game and prolific old pro that loves this surface, having won half of his 12 starts at this venue. Scott Lake has the 9-year-old back on track, he’s suitably fresh here and also owns a helpful inside post with tactical speed and kick that could get it done late beneath the position conscious Joe Bravo.

Given the bulky field and the live and talented connections, it will be racing luck that determines the outcome more than any other variable, Missile Motor’s repeat of his most recent effort notwithstanding.

Taking My Cousin Matt to win at 3-1 or more and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with Missile Motor and Spooky Mulder.

Running Totals: (147) 54-31-16. Total Dollar Return: $325.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Promising Colts Clash in Capote

Today’s feature is the kind that causes some excitement, soon-to-be three-year-old colts sprinting six furlongs in the Capote Stakes. What’s interesting about this one is that it has it all; speed, mid-movers and finishers. We’ll look at three of the seven entered:

Grand Minstrel (3-1) middle-moved into a hot-for-the-day pace in his latest start, effectively ruining his winning prospects. His prior performance figure was a career best effort, the best in the race, and he’s come back subsequently to work purposefully and fast. He’s recent bullet half-mile was best of 89 workers and Jimmy Jerkens switches to Eibar Coa, a winner of two of five for this barn recently. He figures to be in this from his inside draw throughout.

Red Reef (9-2) is undefeated in two career starts and has shown the ability to kick late, an effective ploy if suicidal fractions prevail here, a distinct possibility. The white hot Tony Dutrow saddles this one for the prolific Zayat Stables and the Red Ransom colt gets a switch to Ramon Dominguez, who’s nine for his last 19 rides for this barn. He’s worked thrice at five-eighths since his latest Pha. Park score, including two over today’s surface. He would benefit most from a pace meltdown.

Go Go Shoot (8-1) is a well named home-bred owned by sensational Duke point guard Bobby Hurley. The gelding set a pressured, albeit relatively soft pace, but then drew off strongly from in front to earn a competitive figure score. The Songandaprayer gelding won its first race and now returns from a barn, Jimmy Ryerson’s, that’s a profitable 24 percent effective with second-time starters.

But we’re taking the new-pace-top, Grand Minstrel, to win at 5-2 or greater, and keying him first and second in exactas and trifectas with his main rivals here.

Running Totals: (146) 53-31-16. Total Dollar Return: $318.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Damon Runyon Would Love This Value Play

Today’s feature for state-bred juveniles, the Damon Runyon, is a good one despite having drawn six entrants. Half this field could easily win it.

Giant Moon breaks from the rail and has been handled very deliberately. Undefeated in two lifetime starts, he broke his maiden sprinting then won the Sleepy Hollow on the stretch out to a mile in his Belmont finale. Today’s added sixteenth can only the son of Giant’s Causeway. He will stalk from close range beneath Ramon Dominguez and a victory today should earn him the New York-bred juvenile title.

Spanky Fischbein is the most experienced to date and the most accomplished. Winner of a state-bred stakes last out, he finished second in three other stakes including the open class Tyro at Monmouth last summer. He, too, will stalk from close range and his experience is a big plus here. He’s never taken a backward step on performance figures and is a deserving favorite. John Velazquez rides for Todd Pletcher.

Coastal Drive is interesting. A $25,000 claim by Rick Dutrow, he returned in the Sleepy Hollow, finished very well, and lost a narrow photo from Giant Moon. The race shape suits him here with plenty of speed signed on, he’s demonstrated the best late kick thus far, owing to his stout bottom-side pedigree and, as a non-stakes winner, gets six pounds from the two likely public choices. Additionally, he’s stabled at Aqueduct and is the only major contender with as much as a workout over the racing surface.

Taking the value here with Coastal Drive to win at 4-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with Giant Moon and Spanky Fischbein. Trifectra players can add Captain Backfire (8-1) in money positions.

Running Totals: (145) 53-31-16. Total Dollar Return: $318.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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