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, September 14, 2007

Contessa Has Two For The Money

An interesting wide open feature, a secondary allowances optional claiming $50,000 for older horses going a flat mile. The principal contenders are the Gary Contessa entry of Ricardo A and Shaky Town (5-1), Bribon (3-1) and Diamond Isle (5-1).

Contessa has a strong hand here. Ricardo A returns to his winning dynamic, a one-turn middle distance route in this class, on this track. Mate Shaky Town has not been as fast on performance figures but then never before has he raced for Contessa, a profitable 20 percent in first start off the claim. And it looks like Contessa has picked up a likely spot since ’Shaky’ is 5-for-8 at today’s distance.

Favorite Bribon should not be that short of a price but his last at 6-˝ furlongs, after an extended turf campaign, was first rate, an excellent figure try with good energy distribution. Aside from the short price, the rail at this distance is no bargain.

Diamond Isle also will appreciate being back at today’s trip. He has fast performance figures and just missed in a key race under similar conditions. He belongs and attracts Cornelio Velasquez for Dick Dutrow. He might offer value, rare for a Dutrow performer.

But we must take the Contessa entry, as either is capable here, and will take 7-2 or greater to win. Also, keying one or both, first and second in exactas with the other contenders.

Running Totals: (101) 39-24-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Striking When The Price Is Right

Today’s feature, a preliminary allowances for state-bred males 3 & up going seven furlongs on the Widener turf course, appears to be a two-horse race on paper between the first and second choices; Zip To The City (3-1) and Striking Rizzi (7-2).

If there’s an edge for players in this race it’s this: The morning line maker appears to have the wrong favorite.

Zip To The City has obvious merit. His recent grass debut was first rate; a strong-finish placing in his season’s debut going 5-˝ furlongs at Saratoga. Second off the layoff, the spacing works well for the Dutrow barn and the gelding has worked well subsequently.

Further, the outfit is profitable when tapping Javier Castellano, including going two-for-two for the barn most recently. But a different course, distance and dynamic are unknowable at short odds.

Striking Rizzi, meanwhile, is developing beautifully. He’s been improving his performance figures incrementally, is faster than his main rival, and has a conditioning edge coming off a series of longer races. A pace presser when going farther, he figures to rally from off the pace here, which better suits his talents.

Trainer Del Carroll, stabled at Belmont, has better personal stats when running horses here in his backyard and today is reaching out for the confident and hot riding Cornelio Velasquez.

Taking Striking Rizzi to win at 2-1 or greater. (No exotics plays, would rather a place bet if necessary).

Running Totals: (99) 39-24-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only] {Wednesday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

E Z Warrior More Than Ready for Belmont Feature

Today’s mid-week feature offering is a treat, the More Than Ready overnight stakes for three-year-olds at one mile. Of the seven entered, four are of major interest, from the inside, out: Flashstorm, Shopton Lane, E Z Warrior and Tiz Wonderful.

Flashstorm is a talented colt that deserves a little more luck than he’s had. But when spotted properly, such as today’s middle distance sprint, he’s very effective. When last seen, he was setting a legitimate pressured pace in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. However, he was a very good second in a one-turn mile at Churchill earlier this year. Cornelio Velasquez accepts a call from Wayne Lukas.

Shopton Lane showed immediate improvement in his first start for Bruce Levine, an open lengths winner of a high level optional claimer around two turns at Monmouth Park, earning a lifetime best performance figure that puts him right in the middle of this chase. He has won sprinting and takes a three-race win streak into this. Richard Migliore, apparently back home during the Southern California fair season, takes the mount.

E Z Warrior comes from the white hot connections of Bob Baffert and owner Ahmed Zayat. The only two races he lost came in Grade 1 company, one on Polytrack, and was a good third despite a very tough trip in Hard Spun’s King’s Bishop on the Travers undercard. Following a troubled start, he showed a new dimension as a late rally performer while racing beyond six furlongs. Interesting that David Flores is not letting the colt out of his sights, in from California for the ride despite the modest purse. Speed and stamina augurs well for his chances here.

Tiz Wonderful was just awful in the Jim Dandy, chasing Flashstorm before stopping badly at mid-turn. It was the first start of the year for a colt that surely would have been one of the Kentucky Derby favorites had he not suffered an injury early in the Triple Crown campaign. He has speed and class and comes into this off a series of stamina works for Steve Asmussen. He will be a much tougher customer here with Johnny Velazquez taking the return call.

Taking E Z Warrior to win at 2-1 or greater and keying him first and second in trifectas with the other major contenders listed.

Running Totals: (99) 39-24-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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