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.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Watch Out For Traps In Belmont Feature

Today’s restricted stakes at Belmont Park, the Evil Bear, features older fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs on the inner turf course. It a tough one. Four of the six could win it.

Our statement is to try to beat Brushed Bayou, the 3-1 third choice, who beat most of these last out. Don’t think she’ll get the perfect sailing that she got in last, and she must spot the group five pounds under a 123-pound impost.

Three we’re singling out are Queen Amira (5-1), Somethinaboutbetty (5-2) and Lemon Drop Gal (2-1).

Queen Amira didn’t get untracked until it was too late last time, when she split Brushed Bayou and Runaway Cat. Her inside post with Garrett Gomez makes her eligible for a good trip here at fair odds for Bill Mott.

Somethinaboutbetty is fast on performance figures, owns excellent tactical speed and also can work out a trip under these conditions. She’s shown continued development at four for Todd Pletcher and today’s distance would appear to suit her perfectly, as does the presence of John Velazquez.

But Lemon Drop Gal looms the most probable winner. She had a very tough trip when favored vs. many of these last out, her five-year-old debut. After getting bumped at the break, she rallied well outside on the turn then flattened out late, as if in need of the effort. Her figure showed continued development and the Jimmy Jerkens barn has been on a roll. Further, Jerkens is 24 percent efficient and profitable with horses making their second start following a layoff.

Taking Lemon Drop Gal to win at 8-5 or more, and exacta key boxes with Queen Amira and Somethinaboutbetty

Running Totals: (48) 24-9-9 Dollar Return: $141.00 [win selections only, does not reflect Wednesday’s results]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Value Aplenty In Belmont Park Feature

The racing week at Belmont Park begins with an inscrutable restricted stakes, the seven-furlong Stage View, for New York-bred fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up. Half the 12-horse field could win, and the one thing no one wants here is a short price.

From the inside, out: Homerette, Sabellina, Willshefire, Mohegan Sky, Artistic Express and Wild Berry all have merit. The three that are most interesting are Homerette (12-1), Willshefire (8-1) and Artistic Express (6-1).

Homerette has won at the distance on Belmont grass and is turning back to that distance for trainer Pat Kelly. Kelly is profitable with his turn-backs and has an excellent slate in non-graded stakes. Historically, the four-year-old filly has proven fast enough on performance figures to win here. A longshot that can win this.

Willshefire is a tough read because her performance figure jumped up significantly in her four-year-old debut. A positive sign of development, the figure represented a big move, indicating a possible bounce. But then maybe new trainer Barclay Tagg improved her significantly over the winter freshening period. At early line odds, she would be worth the risk.

Artistic Express intrigues us most. Another improving four-year-old, she has a healthy, forward looking pattern and her slower figures should offer her backers fair value. She is 1-for-1 at this distance on Belmont grass and trainer Mike Hernandez is 20 percent efficient with horses turning back into sprints. The filly has tactical speed, late kick and a position-conscious rider in Cornelio Velasquez. The key is to stay covered up until ready and not lose too much ground from her outside post.

Taking Artistic Express to win at 5-1 or greater and, because of inflated early line odds, we’re taking a three-horse box including Homerette and Willshefire.

Running Totals: (47) 24-9-9 Dollar Return: $141.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bobbing In The Lake For Big Apples

Today’s feature, the Mike Lee for state-bred three-year-olds at seven furlongs, is named for the late sports editor of the late Long Island Press and is the first leg of the OTB Big Apple Triple, a three-race series that moves on to Finger Lakes and concludes at Saratoga.

The race has drawn a field of six but the win prize likely will go to one of two, the likely odds-on post time favorite, What A Tale, or likely second choice, Chief’s Lake. Value may be hard to find in the Mike Lee.

What A Tale, while the most probable winner, is a tough read. His local debut was so fast--many lengths ahead of today’s rivals--that a bounce is almost assured despite 36 days of recovery.

What makes it so tough is that it was the colt’s first start for Bruce Levine and first over the track, a combination that might have helped produce such a Herculean effort. Levine is a profitable 27 percent with potential repeaters.

Chief’s Lake could provide value if bet sensibly relative to What A Tale. He broke through his juvenile top in his recent sophomore debut, a good sign of development, and while the move was significant it still seems to have left room for another forward move.

This colt is 3-for-4 at Belmont Park and 2-for-3 beneath Garrett Gomez. Trainer Scott Lake is 22 percent profitable with horses making their second start for him.

Seeking value, we're taking Chief’s Lake to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with What A Tale.

Running Totals: (47) 23-9-9 Dollar Return: $132.10 [win selections only; does not reflect Saturday's results]

Written by John Pricci

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