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, May 21, 2008

Southern Prince Shoots and Scores in Red Wing Dream

Should be an entertaining Belmont Park feature to begin the racing week, the Red Wing Dream Stakes, for turf sprinting males going six furlongs.

Half this field can win, not in a lesser-than-evils way, but because there’s a lot of talented here. The four principals are Southern Prince, Emirates To Dubai, Silver Timber and Quietly Mine.

Southern Prince is the most versatile speedster here, turf or dirt, and is racing in raging form, as has most of Gary Contessa’s strong all year. With his inside draw and excellent early foot, budding star Channing Hill can establish position and try to blow this open at the top of the stretch.

Emirates To Dubai was raging with run when trapped in a pocket on the fence in the G3 Shakertown at Keeneland and never, ever, had a chance. He will benefit from that season’s debut, retains Garrett Gomez, owns a big late running engine and broke his maiden under these condition in his lone Belmont turf-sprint start. But deep closers, even on turf, still need a bit of luck. Saeed bin Suroor does very well in these non-graded events.

Silver Timber also should benefit from his season’s debut while just missing on this course, over which he has compiled a worthy (5) 2-1-1 slate under these conditions. Very interesting to note that this five-year-old was entered and scratched from a sprint stakes on the Preakness undercard in favor of this spot. Rice horses win at a favorable 20 percent rate in their second start after a layup and the hard-hitter attracts Cornelio Velasquez.

Quietly Mine makes his four-year-old debut for the top return outfit of turf ace Christopher Clement. Another deep closer, he was competitive in graded stakes at three in California while competing against older horses--not an easy task in turf sprints, especially for late-rally types. The talented Alan Garcia picks up the mount and this gelding was in training at Payson Park this winter before shipping up north. He won’t be short of condition.

Taking Southern Prince to win at 7-2 or greater, and keying him first and second in trifectas with his three main rivals here.

Running Totals: (207) 66-44-24. Total Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Single Pick Six in Today’s Feature at Belmont


Terrific race to begin the Belmont week, a full field of secondary allowance types for older horses going a mile and a sixteenth on the turf, likely to be rated good. The three main contenders are Cougar Bay (2-1), Pick Six (4-1) and Best Alibi (8-1).

Cougar Bay is a deserving favorite. By definition the fastest horse on performance figures, he returns fresh for Barclay Tagg, who’s been on a tear since returning from Florida and Kentucky, winning with five of 14 recent starters and is very effective when returning his charges on two months rest. Two starts back, Cougar Bay was a good fourth behind Grade 1 winner Einstein and also suffered through a tough trip in his last when an excellent third in a G2 event after making a bold, albeit premature, move to the lead. The shorter distance and class relief makes him a very tough out at a very short price.

Shug McGaughey is also going well with his returnees to this surface. In Pick Six, he has a developing four-year-old coming off an excellent placing in his season’s debut at Keeneland after breaking slowly and making a five wide rally that fell short of victory by a half length. He figures to benefit from that effort, has competitive, forward-looking figures and retains regular rider Johnny Velazquez. Nicely positioned inside, he owns a win on the Belmont lawn.

Best Alibi gets Lasix for the first time making his U.S. debut for Saeed bin Suroor, who’s 38 percent efficient with horses shipping to America for the first time. He’s been competitive in European graded company and his trainer is also adept with horses returning from lengthy layups and adding the diuretic for the first time. Veteran turf ace Jean Luc Samyn has the mount.

Taking Pick Six to win at 7-2 or greater and keying him in exacta boxes first and second with his two main rivals here.

Running Totals: (207) 66-44-24. Total Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Will Rail Open for Red Zipper?

Today’s Belmont feature is the Kingston for older New York bred turf specialists going a mile and a sixteenth. Yesterday, the ground was soft but played fairly honestly, favoring no particular style. What makes today’s test so difficult is that there are so many returning from layups. Those that are not are making significant distance switches.

Contenders of interest are Red Zipper (7-2), Dave (4-1) and Retribution (10-1). The play for us is to ignore early line Spurred (3-1). While the Donk barn has been going very well of late, today’s dynamic does seem to suit his 4-year-old Northern Spur colt.

Red Zipper is making his five year old debut attracting Johnny Velazquez and breaking from the rail. Good fresh, he’s been legged up on Polytrack at the owner’s farm upstate, has tactical speed and his inside draw is suited well to his versatile style. Very game, he figures to make best use of his talent in an expected ground-saving effort.

Dave is arguably the class and has beaten better state-breds and his acquitted himself well in open company. Barclay Tagg has been very live with his Florida shippers at this young meet. Seven-year-old gelding has been keeping open graded stakes company of late and has had four local works since shipping here with the rest of the barn in early April. The switch to Eibar Coa augurs well.

Retribution has an extremely high turn of early speed and makes his first start for the Contessa barn, a profitable 25 percent angle. Six-year-old gelding has worked six times since early April for this and attracts Rajiv Maragh, who’s done a lot of winning for this barn since the winter Aqueduct meet, gets the call. The outfit is also profitable returning from lengthy layups and he will take catching at fair odds.

Taking Red Zipper to win at early line odds of 7-2 or greater and keying him first and second in exacta boxes with his two rivals here. Trifecta players add price shot Banrock (15-1) to the mix.

Running Totals: (206) 66-44-24. Totals Dollar Return: $409.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci


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