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.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pletcher’s Roll Continues in New York’s New York

The feature today is good and competitive, the Grade 2 New York Stakes for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, at 10 furlongs on the inner turf course. Half the field could win this eight-horse mile and a quarter. From the inside out; Jade Queen (5-2), Vacare (2-1), Barancella (5-1) and Makderah (8-1).

Vacare is a Grade 1 winner and deserving early line favorite. She’s won five of six career starts, looms the controlling speed, reunites with Prado (1-for-1 on the four-year-old), and never has taken a backward step on performance figures. But the high weight under 123 pounds spots her major contenders seven pounds. That’s not insignificant.

Barancella hails from the Frankel barn that has come alive in recent weeks. She’s been battle tested often in top graded company and never fails to fire. Her figures are competitive with the favorite on her best, and has a chance at what might be fair odds, early line price or higher.

Makderah will be tested for class but might be up to this in her current form. She’s much improved at 4 and owns a fast win over the course. She finished third in her only start at this distance in Europe. Alan Garcia is largely underrated and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is a profitable 24 percent with potential repeaters.

Jade Queen appears the most likely winner and could provide good value if the crowd over-bets Vacare, a distinct possibility. Well drawn inside her major rivals, she can set the pace or sit the good inside trip. Grade 1 placed, she returns sufficiently rested with competitive figures and attracts Garrett Gomez for the first time. And this just in, the Pletcher barn has been going well recently.

Taking Jade Queen to win at 2-1 or greater and using her in all three trifecta positions with the other three fillies.

Running Totals: (45) 22-9-9 Dollar Return: $127.40 [win selections only; does not reflect Friday’s results]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Preaching Promise Over Class In Belmont Feature

Been on a roll with some interesting feature races at Belmont Park and today’s no exception, the restricted Marking Time Stakes for three-year-old fillies that have not won a stakes race this year going a flat mile. The three main contenders are, from the rail out, Lady Marlboro (4-1), Autobahn Girl (2-1) and Mini Sermon (5-2).

Lady Marlboro is interesting in that in four career starts, her performance figures never have taken a backward step. While not as accomplished as the early line favorite, it is interesting to note her best effort came at Belmont Park last time out and the spacing of seven weeks is good. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is profitable first time going long.

Autobahn Girl has been underachieving thus far this season but clearly is the most accomplished. She’s been keeping much tougher company and is 4-for-4 at this distance, three under today’s one-turn scenario. She’s been working lights out at Saratoga and switches to Garrett Gomez, like another winner from this barn last week. She’s the deserving favorite.

Mini Sermon, who’s making her stakes debut, is really sharp, showing much improved early speed while winning her last at today’s distance on the front end, which may not be her best game. She has a good back-figure to improve on and has worked very well since her recent victory. She is ideally spotted outside her main rivals and could provide value relative to her chances for victory.

Taking Mini Sermon to win at 2-1 or greater, exacta key boxes with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (45) 22-9-9 Dollar Return: $127.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hunting For Another Winner

Today’s feature is an allowance event for non-winners of 2 lifetime at 1-1/16th miles for three-year-olds and up, but at this time of year you might get something special. Today’s field has that kind of potential. It’s even money one of these runners will win a stakes race somewhere by year’s end.

Of the eight entered, three have the best chance, from the inside out; Holy Rock (5-2), Shone (5-1) and Hunting (3-1).

Holy Rock proved second best last out but it was an excellent try under similar conditions. A fast effort, Rick Dutrow has given the colt 41 days to recover and Holy Rock figures rock solid once more. Dutrow is 28 percent effective with beaten favorites.

On performance figures, Shone is the fastest horse and by a fairly significant margin. One of those figures came in a Gulfstream Park mile, a similar dynamic to today’s. He matched that figure going seven furlongs last out and could break through with another fast effort. Thus far the colt has lacked a killer instinct but maybe Garrett Gomez could wake up the horse for Nick Zito, a profitable 19 percent with stretchouts.

Hunting, however, looms the most probable winner. Edgar Prado jumps off Holy Rock to ride the Shug McGaughey trainee, who’s come into his own since stretched to a mile for his last two starts. He’s had sufficient recovery, 39 days, a forward looking pattern, sheds four important pounds and boasts a series of sharp, purposeful works. Stalk, then pounce, looks like a winning tack.

Taking Hunting to win at 2-1 or greater, and exacta boxes with the two listed contenders.

Running Totals: (44) 21-9-9 Dollar Return: $119.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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