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.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bet Linda Rice Will Have Silver Timber Set For Belmont Feature

Now that the 139th Belmont is in the books, the countdown to Saratoga will begin with today’s six furlong grass sprint for three-year-olds and up, a “non-winners of two other than maiden or claiming, or optional $50,000 claiming.”

Christophe Clement saddles the favored entry headed by Ever A Friend (2-1) that should be formidable. But we’ll call for a minor upset with the Linda Rice-trained Silver Timber (3-1).

Ever A Friend owns the fastest performance figures on turf by a significant margin, and just missed under these conditions at Belmont last out. Mate Quietly Mine is a budding Horse for Course, having won its only start given the same scenario. Since Garrett Gomez is named on both, however, only one will start. The latter would provide better value.

Silver Timber, meanwhile, earned competitive figures at three, is a turf sprint specialist, and has worked purposefully for his season’s debut. He returned last year with a victory following a similar layup and owns excellent late kick. Rice has developed a good working relationship with jockey Cornelio Velasquez. The eventual price should accurately reflect his winning chances.

Taking Silver Timber to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with the starting member of the Clement entry.

Running Totals: (38) 17-9-7 Dollar Return: $89.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Formful New York-bred Feature On The Belmont Turf

On the day after… the feature is the Mount Vernon for older state-bred fillies and mares going nine furlongs on the inner turf course. A good competitive field, as are most New York-bred grass routes, and we’ve narrowed it down to three strong contenders, from the inside, out: Half Heaven (8-1), Factual Contender (5-2) and Homerette (6-1).

Factual Contender is the most probable winner. She’s been a different filly over the last half-year since switching to turf for trainer Barclay Tagg. Her performance figures are consistently fast, she has tactical speed but can kick home, too, and she’s been most effective at today’s distance. She defeated open company last out and has worked four times since. She won’t make you rich.

The only problem with Half Heaven is that she’s unproven at the distance. Otherwise, she’s as fast as the favorite on figures, is drawn well with tactical speed, has been successful in open company, and hails from a barn that’s 22 percent efficient and profitable with their shippers.

Homerette is by definition the fastest on figures but this represents a tough test having drawn outside vs. some salty rivals. She was finishing well after the fact in her recent four-year-old debut sprinting against open company and has been more effective in routes. But she, too, is an unknown quantity at five furlongs.

Taking Factual Contender to win with no price restrictions, and an exacta key box with Half Heaven and Homerette.

Running Totals: (36) 16-9-7 [does not reflect Belmont Stakes results] Dollar Return: $86.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Mott, Prado and Marcavelly Winning Team in Belmont Feature

The Friday Belmont Week card is topped by the Grade 3 Hill Prince for three-year-old grass runners going a mile on the Widener turf course. What it lacks in quantity it offers in quality, a two-horse battle between Storm In May and Marcavelly.

When last seen, Storm In May was looking at the hindquarters of Street Sense, among others, in the Kentucky Derby. The start before that it was Curlin, while finishing second in the Arkansas Derby. Back to reality, and turf, today.

Storm In May never has finished off the board on grass in six lifetime starts, including two victories. He worked a bullet for this at his Calder base, trainer Kaplan is profitable with this kind of freshening, and regular rider Juan Leyva is up from Florida for the ride.

Hopefully, he will attract a lot of play on company lines because Marcavelly is the most probable winner. He’s faster on performance figures, is a Grade 3 winner on grass, and broke his maiden on Belmont turf at 2. Edgar Prado, his regular rider, gets a leg up from Bill Mott. He won’t make you rich.

We’re taking Marcavelly to win, no price restrictions, and a cold exacta with Storm in May.

Running Totals: (35) 15-9-7 Dollar Return $82.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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