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, May 14, 2008

Single Pick Six in Today’s Feature at Belmont


Terrific race to begin the Belmont week, a full field of secondary allowance types for older horses going a mile and a sixteenth on the turf, likely to be rated good. The three main contenders are Cougar Bay (2-1), Pick Six (4-1) and Best Alibi (8-1).

Cougar Bay is a deserving favorite. By definition the fastest horse on performance figures, he returns fresh for Barclay Tagg, who’s been on a tear since returning from Florida and Kentucky, winning with five of 14 recent starters and is very effective when returning his charges on two months rest. Two starts back, Cougar Bay was a good fourth behind Grade 1 winner Einstein and also suffered through a tough trip in his last when an excellent third in a G2 event after making a bold, albeit premature, move to the lead. The shorter distance and class relief makes him a very tough out at a very short price.

Shug McGaughey is also going well with his returnees to this surface. In Pick Six, he has a developing four-year-old coming off an excellent placing in his season’s debut at Keeneland after breaking slowly and making a five wide rally that fell short of victory by a half length. He figures to benefit from that effort, has competitive, forward-looking figures and retains regular rider Johnny Velazquez. Nicely positioned inside, he owns a win on the Belmont lawn.

Best Alibi gets Lasix for the first time making his U.S. debut for Saeed bin Suroor, who’s 38 percent efficient with horses shipping to America for the first time. He’s been competitive in European graded company and his trainer is also adept with horses returning from lengthy layups and adding the diuretic for the first time. Veteran turf ace Jean Luc Samyn has the mount.

Taking Pick Six to win at 7-2 or greater and keying him in exacta boxes first and second with his two main rivals here.

Running Totals: (207) 66-44-24. Total Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Will Rail Open for Red Zipper?

Today’s Belmont feature is the Kingston for older New York bred turf specialists going a mile and a sixteenth. Yesterday, the ground was soft but played fairly honestly, favoring no particular style. What makes today’s test so difficult is that there are so many returning from layups. Those that are not are making significant distance switches.

Contenders of interest are Red Zipper (7-2), Dave (4-1) and Retribution (10-1). The play for us is to ignore early line Spurred (3-1). While the Donk barn has been going very well of late, today’s dynamic does seem to suit his 4-year-old Northern Spur colt.

Red Zipper is making his five year old debut attracting Johnny Velazquez and breaking from the rail. Good fresh, he’s been legged up on Polytrack at the owner’s farm upstate, has tactical speed and his inside draw is suited well to his versatile style. Very game, he figures to make best use of his talent in an expected ground-saving effort.

Dave is arguably the class and has beaten better state-breds and his acquitted himself well in open company. Barclay Tagg has been very live with his Florida shippers at this young meet. Seven-year-old gelding has been keeping open graded stakes company of late and has had four local works since shipping here with the rest of the barn in early April. The switch to Eibar Coa augurs well.

Retribution has an extremely high turn of early speed and makes his first start for the Contessa barn, a profitable 25 percent angle. Six-year-old gelding has worked six times since early April for this and attracts Rajiv Maragh, who’s done a lot of winning for this barn since the winter Aqueduct meet, gets the call. The outfit is also profitable returning from lengthy layups and he will take catching at fair odds.

Taking Red Zipper to win at early line odds of 7-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exacta boxes with his two rivals here. Trifecta players add price shot Banrock (15-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (206) 66-44-24. Totals Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Spike in the Market

It’s not often this daily feature gets to analyze a prep for the third leg of racing’s Triple Crown.

The Grade 2 nine furlong Peter Pan has drawn an eclectic group. Casino Drive, from the dam that produced the last two Belmont winners, is the 2-1 favorite off an 11 length score in his native Japan. At the price, no think you, he must prove he fits with a group like this.

Only two of these runners are likely to land on the top of my exotic tickets; Tomcito (6-1) and Golden Spikes (3-1).

Tomcito will probably half his early line odds by post time. A strong finish, albeit distance, third in Big Brown’s Florida Derby, his Lexington is better than it looked because he was compelled to race closer to the early pace, not his preferred style. His two U.S. starts have been good, the added distance suits, and he gets a switch to the very effective Cornelio Velasquez. He worked a bullet in preparation for this.

Golden Spikes simply keeps improving. He broke through to run an excellent figure in December sprinting at Calder and broke through again, distributing his energy much more efficiently when second to Recapturetheglory in the rapidly run Illinois Derby. With five weeks rest, a stalk and pounce style that suits today’s race shape, and a switch to Edgar Prado, he is the most probably winner at fair odds.

Taking Golden Spikes to win at 5-2 and an exacta box with Tomcito. Trifecta players can use Ready’s Echo (6-1) and Cosmic (8-1) second and third.

Running Totals: (205) 66-44-24. Total Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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