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, July 11, 2007

Just Starting Needs Fast Break At Belmont

Talk about your traps!

Today’s Belmont Park feature is a six-horse race with several returning from layups of various duration and one making her U.S. debut, a race for “fillies and mares, a non-winners of three other/than; optional claiming $75,000.”

We’ll look at one of two main speed types, Just Starting (4-1), a late runner, Endless Virtue (5-2), and Aliysa (2-1), a South American filly that could race in any fashion depending on how he leaves the gate.

This is not an ideal set-up.

Endless Virtue begins from the rail position, is fresh, training well, and attracts Garrett Gomez. In what would be a perfect world for her, she would benefit greatly if the speed hooks up here; no guarantee.

But she’s 2-for-6 on this track (1-for-11 elsewhere) and never has finished worse than second at six furlongs in six starts, winning three.

Aliysa could be anything. A winner of half her six starts including a pair of Group 3s in Brazil, her wins have come on wet tracks, for which she is nicely bred. Is she classy, a mud lark, or a combination of both.

She’s been working for a long time at Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track and couldn’t be in better hands with the Pletcher/Velazquez team. Where she fits here is anyone’s guess.

The percentage play is Just Starting. Consistently fast from the barrier, she’s a win machine with nine victories from 17 lifetime starts, winning over many surfaces.

She makes her second start off the claim but her first for Gary Contessa, a profitable 19 percent with new acquisitions. The white hot Eibar Coa gets the call.

We’re taking Just Starting to win, at 5-2 or greater, and keying her first and second in exacta boxes with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (57) 28-12-9 Dollar Return: $159.20

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Same Scenario Likely To Get Same Result in Belmont Feature

Yesterday it was Dream Rush, dropping back to a more suitable distance and a softer spot to dominate the Grade 1 Prioress. Today, Ginger Punch (4-5) plays that role and the result will probably be the same. She’ll be a very tough favorite.

With Ginger Punch you get Sugar Swirl as part of the Frank Stronach entry which, while not as accomplished as her mate, is 2-for-3 at seven furlongs and 1-for-2 at Belmont Park with Garrett Gomez for trainer Bobby Frankel.

Bill Mott starts George Steinbrenner’s Sweet Fervor (2-1), a talented four-year-old homebred and a three-time winner at this specialized sprint distance, including a Grade 2 stakes, and is 1-for-1 at Belmont Park.

Nothing But Fun (12-1) could make things interesting. She, too, is a distance specialist and is a Grade 2 winner and Grade 1 placed. She comes off a lifetime pace top in her prep for this and might land a share in the six-horse field on the stretchout.

But Ginger Punch is the most probable winner. She’s Grade 2 placed on Polytrack at the distance but recently was gaining ground to miss by a neck to Take de Tour in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at 8-½ furlongs over the track. Frankel is a profitable 27 percent with his turn-backs.

Taking Ginger Punch to win, no price restrictions, exacta key boxes with Sweet Fervor and Nothing But Fun, extra ticket with Ginger Punch first.

Running Totals: (56) 27-12-9 Dollar Return $156.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

This Dreamer Gets A Grade 1 Rush

Fillies with speed are always fun and some of the fastest felines, aged three, will get together in today’s featured Prioress at Belmont Park, one of the few American Grade 1 sprints for sprinting fillies.

Four fillies deserve serious consideration to earn the Prioress title, from the rail out; Silver Knockers (4-1), Cash’s Call (12-1), Ticket To Seattle (8-1) and Dream Rush (8-5).

Silver Knockers came into her own at Pimlico last out, posting a key race score and earning a competitive performance figure. She’s had plenty of recovery time and her :46 4/5 Saratoga training track workout was the best of 41 three-year-old fillies to work during that week. She’s a comer.

Cash’s Call has been overlooked by the odds maker; 12-1 is just too much price. She’s just as fast as Silver Knockers and Ticket To Seattle, her :49 2/5 breeze, under restraint, was eighth fastest the same week Silver Knockers trained, and she’s a worthy 2-for-3 at the distance with a second place finish.

Ticket To Seattle earned an excellent figure two back then tried a turf sprint next time out. That probably was a training exercise, as Steve Klesaris is 28 percent efficient going turf to dirt, and you don‘t try Grade 1 company without serious consideration. She, too, is a sprint specialist, as her (4) 2-2-0 slate attests.

Still, Dream Rush is the most probable winner. She found the pace and the eight furlongs of the Grade 1 Acorn just a tad too much last time, and that came following a career best effort. She’s flat out faster than this group, has the conditioning turning back from the mile Acorn, and just loves the surface.

Her Acorn placing was her first defeat in Elmont in three lifetime starts. The shift to an outside post will allow Eibar Coa to see how the pace shakes out before making his move. That was not the case when she drew the rail in the Acorn and had to make too much use of her early. The Rick Violette barn is white hot.

Taking Dream Rush to win, no price restrictions, and keying her first and second in trifectas and superfectas with the other three fillies, an extra trifecta ticket with her on top.

Running Totals: (55) 26-12-9 Dollar Return: $152.70 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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