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, July 16, 2009

Clement’s Hot, So Is His Gelding

Today’s Belmont feature is the Virgo Libra for state-bred 3-year-old males going a mile on the turf. It has a bit of everything: good speed types, good kickers and a number of talented dirt sprinters trying turf for the first time.

Strong Impact is the early line favorite (3-1) and even if he’s the public choice at off time the odds will be bettable, such is the competitiveness of this group. Working strongly since finishing third in the NY Stallion Stakes, the challenge is for him to rate and finish going this trip.

Katskill Bay (5-1) is interesting in that he had a very tough trip in that same race now tries turf a second time with grass ace Alan Garcia for a barn, Rodrigo Ubillo, that’s 21 percent profitable with horses going sprint to route. Ubillo is in the midst of a career year and his runner fit’s the race shape nicely here.

But it’s the gelding Hot Money (7-2) who rates the call. Fastest on performance figures, he showed courage in his game maiden win then overcame a series of problems in his latest--at the gate, approaching the turn, and again on turn--to remain undefeated on grass for Christophe Clement, batting 28 percent at the meet. He certainly has enough pedigree to get him one more furlong successfully.

Taking Hot Money to win at 3-1 or greater and keying him first and second in exactas with his rivals here. Trifecta players can add Pegasus Tommy D. (10-1) to their mix.

Running Totals: (461) 139-95-63 Total Dollar Return: $969.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Belmont Feature a Tricky Read

Today’s Belmont Park feature, the Jersey Girl Stakes, restricted to three year old fillies sprinting six and a half furlongs, is a competitive six horse field despite the presence of a fast filly on a three-race win streak that looms an odds-on choice; Slam The Cat (6-5) is just significantly faster than the group on performance figures.

But she’s no gim’me. She comes back on 17 days rest after three straight enervating wins, her last after re-adding front bandages. Despite her considerable edge on figures and a New Pace Top, she appears vulnerable. But where do you go?

Union City (9-2) is well spotted here. She gained experience at this hybrid distance vs. a salty group at Philly Park last out now makes her local debut five weeks fresh, drew nicely outside in a short field, picks up Johnny Velazquez, and blew out smartly for this. She’s very quick.

But, returning to Handicapping 101 here, there’s a lot of speed signed on and one filly with a good turn of foot, demonstrated winning her last at Churchill Downs over the hard hitting Honchis n Ponchis, is suited by the race shape and her present conditioning. Still, her figures would need to improve dramatically.

In a head scratcher, we're taking Union City to win at 4-1 or greater, boxing her in exactas with Kiddari and Slam The Cat.

Running Totals: (461) 139-95-63 Total Dollar Return: $969.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Only If You Must Have Action….

The job becomes tedious when on days like today the feature race drew so few entries that NYRA is running as the third race, keeping it out of the Pick 4 and Pick 6 sequences. The mile and a sixteenth Pearl Necklace for older fillies and mares attracted a field of five.

If someone is to beat Sea Chanter (4-5), we don’t know who it is. This looks like the classic case of building a horse’s confidence before she tries the division’s elite again. The Todd Pletcher trainee has found the right group. She’s been competitive in G1s and G2s on dirt all season and meets no such rivals among these.

We must take her to win this, with no price restrictions. It’s doubtful she’ll be bettable. So, if you must, try exactas and trifectas, if offered, with My Dinah (5-1), who set a pressured pace in the G1 Ogden Phipps and is one of two fillies here that own a win over big sandy.

Running Totals: (460) 138-95-63 Total Dollar Return: $967.10 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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