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.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

E Z Warrior More Than Ready for Belmont Feature

Today’s mid-week feature offering is a treat, the More Than Ready overnight stakes for three-year-olds at one mile. Of the seven entered, four are of major interest, from the inside, out: Flashstorm, Shopton Lane, E Z Warrior and Tiz Wonderful.

Flashstorm is a talented colt that deserves a little more luck than he’s had. But when spotted properly, such as today’s middle distance sprint, he’s very effective. When last seen, he was setting a legitimate pressured pace in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. However, he was a very good second in a one-turn mile at Churchill earlier this year. Cornelio Velasquez accepts a call from Wayne Lukas.

Shopton Lane showed immediate improvement in his first start for Bruce Levine, an open lengths winner of a high level optional claimer around two turns at Monmouth Park, earning a lifetime best performance figure that puts him right in the middle of this chase. He has won sprinting and takes a three-race win streak into this. Richard Migliore, apparently back home during the Southern California fair season, takes the mount.

E Z Warrior comes from the white hot connections of Bob Baffert and owner Ahmed Zayat. The only two races he lost came in Grade 1 company, one on Polytrack, and was a good third despite a very tough trip in Hard Spun’s King’s Bishop on the Travers undercard. Following a troubled start, he showed a new dimension as a late rally performer while racing beyond six furlongs. Interesting that David Flores is not letting the colt out of his sights, in from California for the ride despite the modest purse. Speed and stamina augurs well for his chances here.

Tiz Wonderful was just awful in the Jim Dandy, chasing Flashstorm before stopping badly at mid-turn. It was the first start of the year for a colt that surely would have been one of the Kentucky Derby favorites had he not suffered an injury early in the Triple Crown campaign. He has speed and class and comes into this off a series of stamina works for Steve Asmussen. He will be a much tougher customer here with Johnny Velazquez taking the return call.

Taking E Z Warrior to win at 2-1 or greater and keying him first and second in trifectas with the other major contenders listed.

Running Totals: (99) 39-24-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

She’ll Win From Here to Schenectady

Not a lot to get exited about today. The Schenectady Handicap at six furlongs for New York-bred fillies, 3 & up, features Oprah Winney, who looms unbeatable and is 2-5 on the early line. Perhaps even shorter than that at post time.

On performance figures, she’s about 10 lengths better than the competition. Not only that but at 4 she’s finally learning to distribute her energy more efficiently. The outside post suits her ideally and should suit Garrett Gomez’s tactics perfectly.

Of her five rivals, Gold Like U (8-1) has the most upside despite the fact she’s a six-year-old mare. But since being claimed by Gary Contessa for $40,000 two starts back, she came back to win a state-bred stakes at Finger Lakes last out, earning a figure that gives her an edge over all except the favorite. In fact, her internal fraction two starts back on this track widens her advantage.

Oprah Winney is clearly the most probable winner and, since her odds will be prohibitive, we’ll simply make a cold exacta with Gold Like U to finish second.

Running Totals: (98) 38-24-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sunriver Looks Loose On Favorite Course

The marquee event on today’s multi Grade 1 card is the Man o’ War at 11 furlongs on the turf. And you can bet that Sunriver (5-2) will be happy to be back at Belmont Park.

When last seen he was setting pace in the 10-furlong Arlington Million in Chicago. The turf course there is much different than the one on which he delivered a lifetime best performance two starts back at today‘s distance.

He is the fastest horse on performance figures and figures to control the pace here and that appears the dominant variable in this matchup. Garrett Gomez takes the call from Todd Pletcher and Sunriver is most likely to rebound.

That same day in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga, Trippi’s Storm (12-1) was making a premature move to the lead then tired late behind Grand Couturier. In his prior, he was an excellent second to Sunriver in the Bowling Green. The attraction here clearly is his early line odds.

Of the two Europeans, three-year-old Yellowstone (4-1) looks the most interesting. From Rags To Riches’ connections, Aidan O’Brien sends this one over getting first-time Lasix, ships over with regular rider John Murtaugh and the promise of firmer ground than he gets in Europe is very likely to help here.

Taking Sunriver to win at 2-1 or greater and keying him first and second with Trippi’s Storm and Yellowstone, extra ticket with the latter.

Running Totals: (97) 38-23-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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