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 02, 2007

Spectacular Bid Could Lap This Crew

Unlike many in the local media, we are not down on New York-breds. But today’s division of the New York Stallion Stakes, Spectacular Bid division for males, is a lame excuse for a weekend stakes race at Belmont Park. Spectacular Bid deserved better than to be sacrileged by this group.

The most likely winner should come from one of three betting interests: The Gary Contessa entry of Stunt Man and Solid Strike, coupled at 5-2, Good Prospect (3-1) and Smash ‘Em Sammy (7-2). All have weaknesses.

Solid Strike was a good second under these conditions in the Sleepy Hollow here as a two-year-old. He comes up to this nicely off graduating distances for his third start following a layoff. Channing Hill is his regular rider.

Mate Stunt Man comes off a career best performance figure and returns on relatively short rest, 24 days. You could consider him a bounce candidate, or a fast horse setting the table for his mate, or a horse that could bounce and still win. Backing the entry is the percentage play.

Good Prospect comes off a strong effort on the turf and has a competitive dirt figure to go back to at a mile and 70 yards. Not ideal, but he just might be improving. Johnny Velazquez must think so; he rides him back this afternoon.

Smash ’Em Sammy has earned good performance figures with consistency, which is more than we can say for his main rivals here, but he is unproven at a mile. What to do?

Take either or both halves of the entry to win, at no lower than 2-1, and key them first and second in exactas and trifectas with the other two. It’s the better short-price than long-face

Running Totals: (34) 15-8-7 Return: $82.30 (win selections only)

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Will Rutherienne Pass Class Test?

A good feature at Belmont Park, the Grade 3 Sands Point at nine furlongs on the inner turf course for three-year-old fillies. Today, the highly promising Rutherienne (5-2) gets her class test. And we believe she’ll pass it.

Her main competition will come from early line favorite Sharp Susan (2-1) and the rapidly improving Classic Neel (3-1). First, the favorite.

Sharp Susan is a proven commodity at nine furlongs, a strong variable here. She has good early speed, is undefeated in two starts at 3, and comes up to this 69 days fresh. Cornelio Velasquez rides her like he owns her and, for all his stakes victories on turf, this would be the first in this race for grass ace Bill Mott.

Classic Neel is interesting. While she might be untested at today’s distance, she’s certainly proven her grass prowess. She won her first two grass starts then was ambitiously placed in Keeneland’s Appalachian Stakes, where she was beaten a mere neck. She will try to become the fifth filly out of that stakes to win a subsequent start and the team of Kiaran McLaughlin and Alan Garcia have been on a tear locally.

Rutherienne has been impressive whenever I’ve seen her. After racing very wide and finishing strongly from far back in the aforementioned Appalachian, she won her Belmont debut last out with authority. Note that trainer Clement is 25 percent effective with repeaters. The filly never has taken a backward step in four career starts, is 1-for-1 at the route, and her recent performance figure was faster than anything on the page. Garrett Gomez in the boot seals the deal.

Taking Rutherienne to win at 8-5 or greater, and keying her first and second in trifectas and exactas with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (33) 14-8-7 [do not reflect Friday's results]. Return: $78.90 (win selections only)

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Crosstown Traffic Only Needs Open Road

A good opportunity for value in today’s feature race at Belmont Park, the restricted Touch of Love Stakes for three-year-old state-bred fillies going six furlongs.

Talking Treasure is the 8-5 early line choice by virtue of two straight scores, including the Bouwerie Stakes last time out. But that at seven furlongs and this is six. We must try to beat her at expected short odds.

Two fillies have the best chance to pull the upset. The first is Silvercup Baby (8-1). Both of her races at this distance were strong on performance figures and she’s been training well for Carl Domino in her return from a freshening. She will be a good price and rates a puncher’s chance. Domino is profitable with returnees from layoffs of 90 days or more.

But the miss with the best upset chance is Crosstown Traffic (5-1), who ran a faster figure on this track as a two-year-old than any of these have at three. She’s going turf to dirt and turning back in distance for the Kimmel/Desormeaux team. John Kimmel is good in both categories and the filly recently worked a bullet half mile in preparation for this. Locked and loaded.

Taking Crosstown Traffic to win at 7-2 or more, and keying her first and second in exacta and trifecta boxes with Talking Treasure and Silvercup Baby.

Running Totals: (33) 14-8-7 Return: $78.90 (win selections only)

Written by John Pricci

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