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.



Sunday, September 16, 2007


Red Zipper Unlocks Mystery of Ashley T. Cole


We have all been here before, déjà vu fans, with today’s 32nd running of the Ashley T. Cole for older state-breds at nine furlongs on the Belmont inner turf. It least it always seems that way when this group gets together: many familiar names, many disparate results.

We’ve seen them most recently in the West Point at Saratoga; same distance, different course configuration. And that can be the winning difference here. We’ll concentrate on three, from the inside out: Red Zipper (5-2), Al Basha (8-1) and Foreverness (9-2).

Red Zipper was an excellent second in the West Point. Forced to run after a loose leader probably sooner than Eibar Coa wanted. Making the lead prematurely between calls, she hung on gamely but could not hold off last run Classic Park. She makes her second start off a freshening here, has a worthy (5) 2-1-0 slate at Belmont and never has been worse than second in three starts at the distance, winning one.

Foreverness was in that West Point stretch battle with Red Zipper, also gained the lead but settled for third. Today he switches to underrated turf rider Jose Lezcano and back to his favorite course. Four of his six lifetime wins came on Belmont turf.

The interesting horse is the three-year-old Al Basha. Not as accomplished as his older brethren, he came into his own when stretched to today’s trip, twice a winner at nine furlongs in three starts, one of them coming over this course. Angel Penna Jr. has been having an excellent season and has made most of the right moves with this late developer since June.

Taking Red Zipper, the most probable winner, at early line odds or greater, and keying him first and second in exacta boxes with the other two.

Running Totals: (103) 39-25-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, September 15, 2007


Protem Champ Back Home to Defend Her Turf


More stakes races on tap this afternoon at Belmont Park and, given the time of year, all interesting as the Breeders’ Cup championships approach.

The signature event, because of the presence of a classic winner, is the Gazelle featuring Rags To Riches, the 3-5 early line choice to win this nine furlong one-turner carded exclusively for three-year-old fillies.

I’m sure there will be some to say she's vulnerable today, given all the recent bad history, aborted or cancelled workouts, delayed schedules, races missed, and the like.

I’m not among them.

Is she vulnerable? Of course. They all get beat, the racetrackers say--and that's right. But your supposed to play this illogical game logically. In that content, she’s too classy, too fast, and too accomplished for these. Further, she loves to run outside horses and she has drawn the extreme outside slip in a short field.

As second choice, Lear’s Princess (2-1) may be vulnerable, too. Coming off a double top on the Equiform scale, she adds blinkers--not especially a dominating move for McLaughlin barn--turns back off two 10-furlongs tries which might mute her early speed, and she draws the pole. At the odds, she’s a toss.

The interesting filly is Dorm Fever (12-1). She’s coming off a career best but with sufficient rest, was very sharp in that seven furlong score and is well bred on the dam’s side for today's extra ground. Garrett Gomez takes the call for Jimmy Jerkens. At the price, she’s intriguing.

Rags To Riches is the most probable winner, but we’ll forsake a win play. Instead, taking an exacta box with price filly Dorm Fever, an extra ticket with the Belmont Stakes winner on top.

Running Totals: (102) 39-24-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, September 14, 2007


Contessa Has Two For The Money


An interesting wide open feature, a secondary allowances optional claiming $50,000 for older horses going a flat mile. The principal contenders are the Gary Contessa entry of Ricardo A and Shaky Town (5-1), Bribon (3-1) and Diamond Isle (5-1).

Contessa has a strong hand here. Ricardo A returns to his winning dynamic, a one-turn middle distance route in this class, on this track. Mate Shaky Town has not been as fast on performance figures but then never before has he raced for Contessa, a profitable 20 percent in first start off the claim. And it looks like Contessa has picked up a likely spot since ’Shaky’ is 5-for-8 at today’s distance.

Favorite Bribon should not be that short of a price but his last at 6-½ furlongs, after an extended turf campaign, was first rate, an excellent figure try with good energy distribution. Aside from the short price, the rail at this distance is no bargain.

Diamond Isle also will appreciate being back at today’s trip. He has fast performance figures and just missed in a key race under similar conditions. He belongs and attracts Cornelio Velasquez for Dick Dutrow. He might offer value, rare for a Dutrow performer.

But we must take the Contessa entry, as either is capable here, and will take 7-2 or greater to win. Also, keying one or both, first and second in exactas with the other contenders.

Running Totals: (101) 39-24-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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