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.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Tour De Force for Take D’ Tour

It’s that time of year at Belmont Park; another Saturday, another Grade 1. Only this one is for older fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth, the Ogden Phipps.

This event is old hat for Take D’ Tour, who’s back trying to defend her 2006 title in this race. She will be extremely hard to deny.

Pointed toward this since finishing second to the improved Ermine in Oaklawn’s Grade 1 Apple Blossom last out, she’s had a six-week freshening for a return to a surface she really likes, taking a (4) 2-1-0 slate back to Long Island.

By definition the fastest mare on performance figures, and by a considerable margin, has owns excellent early speed and can carry it a distance. Eibar Coa is likely to stalk the pace of Bushfire (3-for-3 at 1-1/16th miles, and from a key race) until a quarter-mile from home before making her move. She’s been working bullets at her Calder Race Course base.

The main danger is the improving Ginger Punch who will be seriously tested for class today. But her figures are improving, besting the others, and she flashed much improved early pace in her latest win. From the rail, David Flores will try not to get bottled up until he makes his late move. Her recent work was best of 42 that week for a filly on this track.

Taking Take D’ Tour to win, no price restrictions, and keying her in exactas with Bushfire and Ginger Punch, extra ticket with the latter.

Running Totals: (40) 18-9-8 Dollar Return: $101.40 [win selections only; does not reflect Friday’s results]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Terrific Betting Race Looms in Belmont Feature

A very interesting and wide open feature at Belmont Park as 11 fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, travel one mile in a preliminary allowances, $75,000 optional claimer. Four fillies hold a wide edge over the rest, from the inside, out; Unenchanted, Partida, Stolen Star and Lost Etiquette.

Unenchanted showed much improvement to break her maiden over this track, at this distance, last out. She is developing nicely and takes the next logical step for the Todd and Johnny team. Amazing that after over 1,700 rides, the Pletcher/Velazquez tandem is showing a flat-bet profit.

Partida is by definition the fastest filly in here off her recent 6-˝ furlong victory. Interesting to note, too, that trainer Jimmy Jerkens is profitable in three relevant categories: first-time route, sprint-to-route and is an impressive 29 percent with horses coming off a maiden win in their most recent start. By Monarchos, the added distance suits well, too.

Four-year-old Stolen Star meets younger rivals and was a good second in a recent New York-bred stakes at today’s distance over the track. Her figures are solid and competitive but she’s been a long time trying to shake this condition.

Looks like “go day” for Lost Etiquette. Her speed sharpened with first-time blinkers last out, they are appropriately removed today and are accompanied by a switch to Edgar Prado, aboard for her only career win. Note that trainer Pat Reynolds is 4-for-10 when using Edgar. This filly earned fast figures at 2 and earlier this year at 3 and has been tested in two graded stakes. If not today, when?

Taking Lost Etiquette to win, with no price restrictions, and making an exacta box with Partida and keying her in all three positions in trifectas with all fillies named.

Running Totals: (39) 17-9-8 Dollar Return: $89.80 [win only selections, does not reflect Thursday’s results]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Zito Filly Gets Wake-Up Call at Belmont Park

An unappealing midweek feature at Belmont Park, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares eligible for “non-winners of 2 other/than, three lifetime, or optional claiming $50,000,” that has drawn a field of five.

The fastest horse and most probable winner is Just Starting (8-5), 3-for-5 since moving to the NYRA circuit and will be saddled by Anthony Dutrow’s assistant, Dove Houghton. The five-year-old mare is consistently the fastest on performance figures and owns the best pace figures as well, a formidable combination.

The good/bad news is that she gets in lighter today at 116 pounds, most of it apprentice Jose Bracetty. Thus far, no one has accused the seven-pound bug with Joe Talamo, and his low winning percentage testimony to that perception. Here, it will be a case of go to the front and improve your position.

The interesting filly, and our call, goes to the Nick Zito-trained Debbie Got Even (4-1). After going 2-for-2 early in her juvenile year, she has been most disappointing in 2007 with a far from stellar South Florida campaign. But she returns to the New York circuit today where she could find the deeper surface to her liking and tries this distance for the first time.

The hope is that early line favorite Dixie Dawn (7-5), another filly with early speed and good figures, will find enough zip from her inside post to pressure the faster favorite, setting the table for Debbie’s late run. Working strongly, the Zito trainee picks up Garrett Gomez for the first time. He should be focused, given the abuse he’s taken recently for his Belmont ride on Hard Spun.

Taking Debbie Got Even to win at 7-2 or more, and an exacta box with Just Starting and Dixie Dawn.

Running Totals: (38) 17-9-7. Dollar Return: $89.80 [does not reflect Wednesday’s results].

Written by John Pricci

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