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, May 13, 2007

Mom, Put Your Money On Dave

The Mother’s Day feature at Belmont Park is the nine-furlong Kingston Stakes for New York breds on the inner turf course. The race drew it’s customary large, competitive group. We’ve narrowed it down to three principal contenders.

Dave (5-1) makes his season’s debut for Barclay Tagg, adept with returnees off a lengthy layoff. Nicely drawn inside, Dave has tactical and late speed and in John Velazquez a rider who knows how to gain position, work out a beneficial trip from an inside slip, and time the move perfectly. Dave handles the turf course and the distance well.

Certifiably Crazy owns the best performance figures and is a tactical speedster. He likes the Belmont turf course and is versatile at any two-turn distance. The problem for him is that he has a speed horse directly to his inside him and he might be forced to chase the pace at the loss of some ground. In that context, he’s a poor percentage play.

Golden Commander is the early line favorite at 5-2 and just missed in an open class graded stakes, a much tougher test than he faces here. But a short price, a compromising outside post, and returning on short rest is not a sensible percentage play, either. Further, he’s only 1-for-13 on the Belmont turf.

Taking Dave to win at 4-1 or greater, and keying him first and second in exactas with Certifiably Crazy and Golden Commander.

Running Totals: (20) 8-6-4. ROI: $52.60.

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sing Along With Songster

From a betting perspective, Saturday’s featured Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at 6 furlongs is not very enticing but it does offer a glimpse at a horse that should make run at the sprint title at year’s end, four-year-old Godolphin runner, Songster.

Making his season’s debut for new trainer Saaed bin Suroor, he returns to Belmont Park where he’s 1-for-1 and retains the services of regular rider Edgar Prado. A talented speedster, he proved to be a bit brittle at 3 and the hope is that with maturity comes a new measure of toughness.

Fresh off the 259-day break, he boasts a very sharp breeze for his return and hails from a barn that not only is 35% effective with long-layup types but has the same lofty percentage in graded stakes. Suroor’s figures rise to 39% with horses making their first start for him. Songster will be part of the pace throughout.

If there is a chance to find value, it would be in keeping likely second choice Anew out of the exacta. Steve Asmussen is not known for his overall effectiveness with long absentees and the thinking is the gelding’s real target is the Grade 2 True North on Belmont day.

We’re taking Songster to win with no price restrictions, and will try to complete the exacta with the bounce/rebound candidate, Pavo. There should be sufficient pace on to assist the five-year-old’s late run. He has a history of bouncing back off poor efforts.

[Thursday’s top selection, Hither Lane, was scratched. Winning second choice Council Member was not included in totals recap].

Running Totals (excluding Friday results): (19) 7-5-4. ROI: $49.80.

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Tread Lightly In Belmont Waters

Friday’s Belmont feature for state-breds, a “non-winners of two other than/$30,000 optional claimer,” drew a large competitive field. Looks like a race with money-making potential. The problem is how.

There are younger, classy types--not as accomplished, but with great potential--vs. some very sharp, older hard hitters. We’ve narrowed the field down to four, from the inside out; recent returnee Ruffino, ship-in Lookmeintheeye, classy layup Devil’s Concierge, and the pointing Building New Era.

Ruffino may battle for favoritism with Devil’s Concierge. Lightly raced, Ruffino wins by large margins and is a perfect 2-for-2 at the distance around one turn. Generally, when Jimmy Bond’s horses get good, they stay that was for a while. Speed and finishing power are great weapons. His preference for Belmont’s surface is an unknown.

Lookmeintheeye ships in for crafty connections and broke his maiden vs. New York breds on this racetrack, at this distance. Not insignificant, that. Trainer Michael Aro brings Ryan Barber along from Philly Park to guide the potential surprise package.

When last seen, Devil’s Concierge was tiring after moving wide into a lively pace in the Grade 2 Bay Shore at 3. He’s working bullets for his return for Rick Dutrow, adept with long term absentees, and names Edgar Prado. Think he’s live?

Building New Era makes his second start off the freshening for Gary Contessa with a switch to Alan Garcia, a potent tandem in New York this season. His tactical speed and outside position should enable a comfortable stalking trip, and he figures to be in this to the finish.

In a tough, tough heat, taking Ruffino to win at 3-1 or greater, and keying him first and second in trifectas with Devil’s Concierge, Lookmeintheeye and Building New Era.

Running Totals (through Wednesday‘s racing): (19) 7-5-4. ROI: $49.80

Written by John Pricci

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