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.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Don’t Waffle, Take Wafi

Finally, a Belmont feature that will be run on dirt. And what a skull buster it is! For older males at a mile and a sixteenth, it features "non-winners of 4 races other than…or optional $75,000 claiming." It’s just difficult to know where many of the contenders are in their form cycles.

Rathor, for instance, goes from the Grade 3 Long Branch at Monmouth into a $75,000. What’s up with that, although he is a 6-year-old and it’s not like Bobby Frankel has running horses in short supply. The horse loves Belmont (2-for-3) and today’s distance (3-4). His outside draw gives Eibar Coa options, but his form has been spotty.

Diamond Isle and Piety, from Rick Dutrow and Bruce Levine, respectively, haven’t run since 2007, and they’re both great off long layups. What kind of form is Wafi in? He figures to improve off his two month freshening but also has been in and out.

Shone ships in sharp for Nick Zito, but he’s been sprinting and often Zito’s horses in Kentucky don’t replicate their form when they ship here from the bluegrass. Price is usually our guide but in this case it’s absolutely requisite.

Wafi, with his tactical speed and competitive performance figures, figures to sit a good trip behind two likely pacesetters while saving ground, and Mike Luzzi is very position conscious. We’re gambling that Kiaran McLaughlin will have straightened out his recent difficulties and will have him set for best. Among all the major contenders, and there are plenty, he is the most likely to fall between the parimutuel cracks.

Taking Wafi to win at 4-1 or greater, keying him in exactas first and second with Diamond Isle and Rathor.

Running Totals: (236) 74-49-27. Total Dollar Return: $452.90 [win selections only] {Thursday results not included}

Written by John Pricci


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Queens Full Trumps Belmont Feature

Today’s feature, a preliminary allowances for fillies and mares on the inner turf course at a mile and a sixteenth, is an interesting one despite the relatively small size of the field. Three felines look best in here, from the insider, out; Fee Fi Fo Fum (4-1), Queens Full (5-2) and Value Stream (2-1).

Fee Fi Fo Fum ran her lifetime best at today’s distance when third under these conditions at Gulfstream early this year. Now making her second start off a brief layup and returning to her optimal distance, she looks set for an outfit having a strong meet. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens makes the switch to Edgar Prado. She found herself on the lead after getting blinkers last out and appears as if she prefers a target.

Queens Full is making her third start following a layup, a 30 percent proposition for Christophe Clement, who may be having what appears to be a career meet. Four-year-old Indian Charlie filly had an extremely difficulty trip last out, losing much ground at a critical juncture. Her late-run style will find her in those positions more often than not but today’s added distance and short field likely helps in that regard, as does the switch to Alan Garcia, who’s certainly having a career stand.

Value Stream is a deserving favorite, having done her best running on the turf in her four-race career. She broke her maiden on this course, at this distance, and now returns to that scenario beneath Javier Castellano, who was aboard for that maiden score. She’s worked three times since her last race, two of the bullet variety, and showed some tactical ability despite a tough trip in the maiden win.

But we’ll take whatever value is offered on Queens Full to win, at 2-1 or greater, keying her first and second in exactas and trifectas with her main rivals here, adding High Draw (20-1) to the trifecta mix.

Running Totals: (235) 74-49-27. Total Dollar Return: $452.90 [win selections only] {Wednesday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That’s a Fact, Jack

Today’s feature that begins the final week of racing at Belmont Park before the move upstate to Saratoga is the Irish Actress for state-bred fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth. And a nice bunch of fillies they are. It probably will come down to a battle between the two favorites; Rewrite (2-1) and Factual Contender (8-5).

Rewrite is such a consistent filly, winning eight of 15 career starts, six of them at this venue. She seldom fails to fire, her last at 7 furlongs was her best ever, and she’s had sufficient recovery time returning from a six-week layup. Christophe Clement has had a great summer meet here, as has jockey Alan Garcia, and the team will save ground leaving from the pole position.

But her task will be difficult today because Factual Contender earns consistently good performance figures and, on balance, has been tested--and responded--against slightly better fillies. But her big advantage here is tactical early speed, something her competitors, including Rewrite, cannot boast. It will prove the difference, as long as Eibar Coa doesn’t rate her into submission, of course.

Taking Factual Contender at 3-2 or greater, an exacta box with Rewrite, and keying Factual Contender first and second in trifectas including Latitude Forty (6-1).

Running Totals: (235) 74-49.27. Total Dollar Return: $452.90 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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