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, June 30, 2007

Swashbuckling Fairbanks In Suburban Upset

There are two Grade 1s on the docket at Belmont Park this afternoon but we’ll concentrate on the Suburban Handicap at 10 furlongs, second leg of the old NYRA handicap triple crown.

The winner of that first leg, the Metropolitan Handicap, was Corinthian, the 8-5 early line favorite to repeat his effort of five weeks ago. He is a worthy and deserving choice.

In winning the Met Mile, he showed much improved early speed, a new pace top, and held off all challengers in deep stretch. In addition to the pace top, his best performance figures have come at longer distances, nine and nine and-a-half furlongs, his best. He has 12-furlong pedigree in his first two generations.

However, we’re taking the Todd Pletcher trained Fairbanks, second choice at 5-2. By definition the fastest horse on performance figures, his best races have all come at nine furlongs, he gets a three-pound pull in the weights, and has a history of racing well when fresh. He, too, should handle 10 furlongs.

We’re sure that Richard Migliore, who rode him to victory at Santa Anita last time out, can remember his way around ‘big sandy.’

Taking Fairbanks to win at 2-1 or more and an exacta box with Corinthian.

Running Totals: (50) 25-10-9 Dollar Return: $147.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, June 29, 2007

European and Hollywood Shippers Rumble in New York

Today’s feature at Belmont Park is a “non-winners of 3 other than/optional claiming $75,000 for 4-year-olds and up” at a mile on the Widener turf course. There are as many questions as entrants in this eight-furlong puzzle.

But wouldn’t you know it? The most probable winners are the two early line choices: the Saeed bin Suroor entry of Mathematician and Palace Episode at 3-1 and the early line favorite Giant Basil, at 9-5.

Each half of the entry has merit. Mathematician raced as if needing his recent return from a long layup. It came sprinting in a restricted stakes. Today’s class drop, coupled with a stretch to a more suitable distance, the pole position and Garrett Gomez are compelling reasons to expect improvement. Bin Suroor is 2-for-5 with his U.S. stretchouts, with two others landing a share.

Palace Episode was a Group 1 winner in Europe at 2 but raced only once last season and now makes his 4-year-old debut. Obviously he must have issues. But know that the barn is 38 percent effective with horses returning from long layoffs and 39 percent with shippers to the states. First time Lasix can’t hurt.

Giant Basil, however, is the deserving choice. He ran to his late pedigree when earning a superior performance figure in his first start for Bobby Frankel, and was wisely given 58 days recovery time. By definition he’s the fastest horse, attracts turf ace Edgar Prado, and has been working great locally since that big Hollywood effort, particularly his last half-mile breeze. By Giant’s Causeway, out of the multiple stakes winning turf mare Verbasle, this colt could be anything.

Taking Giant Basil to win at 3-2 or greater, and an exacta box with either or both members of the bin Suroor entry.

Running Totals: (49) 25-9-9 Dollar Return: $147.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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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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