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, May 26, 2007

Sometimes You Just Need To Go For It

Today’s feature at Belmont Park, the Grade 3 Jaipur Stakes for three-year-olds and Up on the inner turf at six furlongs is, simply stated, a great betting race. Of course, you need to pick the winner and apply the best wagering strategy. We believe the reward will be worth the risk..

The attractiveness is betting against early line favorite at 7-2, Will He Shine. A talented sprinter? Yes. Turf experience? No. We won’t pay the privilege to find out if he likes grass at short odds, especially suitable pedigree for the surface in question. And this is a salty group for all, anyway.

From the rail out, there are five horses of interest: Salute The Count (8-1); Metro Meteor (12-1); Congo King (4-1); Weigelia (9-2) and Southern Missile (20-1). We’ll look at two that will key our play.

Congo King’s future is on turf. The four-year-old proved as much in two recent turf stakes vs. strong sprint competition, earning competitive performance figures in his first races for a new barn, Patrick Biancone’s. King has demonstrated enough tactical speed and kick, which fits the speedy race shape here, picks up a position conscious Johnny Velazquez, and worked a bullet half-mile in preparation.

Metro Meteor, meanwhile. is making his second start as a four-year-old and first for very live connections, the Winning Move Stable/Gary Contessa team. Contessa is a winning 21 percent with his starters first off the claim, and the colt demonstrated enough class and kick on the grass at 3 to run down the speed here, with expected improvement, from his inside post at generous odds.

The competition is strong, including the very fast Salute The Count from the rail; the classy winner of last year‘s Jaipur, Weigelia, and the very sharp longshot, Southern Missile, whose only knock is his outside draw.

We believe it permissible on occasion to wager on more than one horse in a race. So we’re taking both Congo King and Metro Meteor to win. Each will be tallied in running-total results. Further, because of the odds involved, we’re making another aggressive play. We’re using each horse as trifecta keys first and second, with Salute The Count, Weigelia and Southern Missile.

Running Totals: (30) 12-9-7 Return: $70.00 (win selections only)

Written by John Pricci

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Pletcher Must Beat Himself In Sheepshead Bay

When you train almost 200 head, you’re going to wind up in spots where you’ll have yourself to beat. And when that trainer is Todd Pletcher, it will happen more often than not, especially when big money’s on the line.

Pletcher saddles the first and second choices in today’s Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap at 11 furlongs on the Belmont inner turf course. It would be hard to defeat one of them, much less both. They will go uncoupled in the wagering.

Honey Ryder (8-5) is a most worthy favorite. While she never got untracked vs. males in Dubai, she now returns to her home base and, most significantly, at her most effective distance. There aren’t many distaffers than can compile a 5-for-8 slate going this far.

Honey Ryder holds a class edge, is consistently fastest on performance figures, and attracts Garrett Gomez. There should be an honest pace for her to run at, even at a marathon route.

Part of that pace should come from mate Safari Queen (5-2), with regular stable rider Johnny Velazquez. But this five-year-old mare’s speed is tactical. She can stalk from close range until ready or set a controlled pace. Her figures keep improving and she’s a serious threat to the favorite on her ‘A’ race. The difficulty is how to take any money from this match-up.

Betting Honey Ryder to win, no price restrictions, and an exacta box with Safari Queen. We’ll try to spice things up, keying Honey Ryder first in trifectas, with Safari Queen and longshot (10-1) La Dolce Vita second and third. The Mark Hennig trainee draws inside with Edgar Prado and comes out of a Calder key race that produced two winners from three subsequent starters.

Running Totals: (29) 12-8-7 [does not reflect Friday's results]. ROI: $70.00 (based on win selections)

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Lemon Drop Looks Sweet In Belmont Feature

As always, turf sprints are difficult to predict but consequently provide ample opportunities for value. Such is the case in today’s Caress Stakes for fillies and mares on the Belmont inner turf course at six furlongs. Two we find most intriguing are Lemon Drop Gal (3-1) and Queen Amira (5-1).

Queen Amira is making her second start of the campaign for Bill Mott and attracts Garrett Gomez. The filly was compromised in her recent return by yielding ground and the resultant very slow pace. The opportunity for her to kick on in late stretch was not afforded her. She will be a much tougher filly this afternoon. She has a performance figure last fall that is the equal of anything in here.

Lemon Drop Gal has been proven to be fast and with greater consistency. She’s never finished worse than second in three starts on this course and, unlike many of her rivals today, she has proven more effective at the six-furlong distance than when sprinting five-eighths. She gives away recent conditioning to many of her rivals here but has trained purposefully, and quickly, for her five-year-old debut. She owns tactical speed and good late pace.

Taking Lemon Drop Gal to win at 5-2 or greater and an exacta box with Queen Amira.

Running Totals: (29) 12-8-7 ROI: $70.00 (based on win selections only)

Written by John Pricci

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