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, June 20, 2007

Current Condition To Trump Classy Returnees On Belmont Turf

The Belmont Park week begins with a mile and a sixteenth turf route on the inner turf course for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds & up and eligible for non-winners of two races other-than…or optional $50,000 claiming. A competitive route, two of the three prime contenders are coming off long layups.

The filly with the best recent form, away for a freshening of 59 days, is My Rachel, a Todd Pletcher trainee with Mike Luzzi in the boot. She has tactical speed, which helps on this course, comes off a sharp win, and worked a bullet recently for her return. She will get and deserves a lot of support. What she might lack in class she makes up for in current condition.

The two fillies coming off layoffs have a class edge, look like the “best fillies,” but both are tough reads.

Christophe Clement’s Zaynab owns the fastest performance figures but her far-off-the-pace style is a hindrance on this course. She returns sans blinkers for Clement, who’s using Garrett Gomez, an ace with late running turf horses. The trainer is 22 percent effective off layups of 90 days or more and he and Gomez are a white hot 5-for-11 at this meet.

Beau Dare has the best company lines in the race, excellent early speed, the very advantage rail position on this course, attracts Edgar Prado and debuts for Bruce Levine, a profitable 20 percent off long layoffs and 27 percent with new acquisitions. Chances are she’ll hold on better for Levine at 4 than she did as a 3-year-old for Bob Holthus.

In a very tough call, taking My Rachel to win at 5-2 or greater, exacta boxes with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (43) 20-9-9 Dollar Return: $112.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Battle of Specialists in Grade 2 Vagrancy

All filly feature weekend continues at Belmont Park with the Grade 2 Vagrancy this afternoon at the hybrid distance of 6-˝ furlongs for three-year-olds and up. This distance requires a specialist and, on performance figures, there are two that should battle for the major share.

Early line favorite Any Limit (9-5) loves this trip. Versatile, she can either set the pace or stalk it and doesn’t seem to prefer any particular style. She has earned her best figures using either tack. Trainer Allen Jerkens seems to have a knack with these types and Eibar Coa is at his best when on or near the pace. She’s the most probable winner.

Still, she’s worth taking a flyer against with the equally adept Indian Flare (7-2). Two months fresh, she’s been pointed toward this by Bobby Frankel and has trained strongly over Cushion Track at Hollywood Park. She has earned very competitive figures at both 6-˝ furlongs and 7, a similar dynamic.

Frankel has named Javier Castellano, with whom he teamed up successfully with Horse of the Year, Ghostzapper.

Taking Indian Flare to win, at no lower than 5-2, and an exacta box with Any Limit.

Running Totals: (42) 19-9-9 Dollar Return: $105.50 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Tour De Force for Take D’ Tour

It’s that time of year at Belmont Park; another Saturday, another Grade 1. Only this one is for older fillies and mares going a mile and a sixteenth, the Ogden Phipps.

This event is old hat for Take D’ Tour, who’s back trying to defend her 2006 title in this race. She will be extremely hard to deny.

Pointed toward this since finishing second to the improved Ermine in Oaklawn’s Grade 1 Apple Blossom last out, she’s had a six-week freshening for a return to a surface she really likes, taking a (4) 2-1-0 slate back to Long Island.

By definition the fastest mare on performance figures, and by a considerable margin, has owns excellent early speed and can carry it a distance. Eibar Coa is likely to stalk the pace of Bushfire (3-for-3 at 1-1/16th miles, and from a key race) until a quarter-mile from home before making her move. She’s been working bullets at her Calder Race Course base.

The main danger is the improving Ginger Punch who will be seriously tested for class today. But her figures are improving, besting the others, and she flashed much improved early pace in her latest win. From the rail, David Flores will try not to get bottled up until he makes his late move. Her recent work was best of 42 that week for a filly on this track.

Taking Take D’ Tour to win, no price restrictions, and keying her in exactas with Bushfire and Ginger Punch, extra ticket with the latter.

Running Totals: (40) 18-9-8 Dollar Return: $101.40 [win selections only; does not reflect Friday’s results]

Written by John Pricci

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