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.

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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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Opportunity Galore In Belmont Turf Feature

Very interesting feature to resume the racing week at Belmont Park, a secondary allowances for fillies and mares going nine furlongs on the inner turf course. Like many grass races, this one’s wide open with many entrants on the improve and with the distance a curiosity for some.

We’ll concentrate on four, from the inside out; Hot Property (10-1), Makderah (7-2), Lady Renaissance (5-2) and Itsnotthemoney (15-1).

Hot Property is highly competitive on performance figures, hails from a top grass outfit, but is not particularly well bred for turf. While her dam has produced three turf winners, more of her offspring did not handle the weeds. But she continues to train steadily and shows up here. She looks very well intended for Barclay Tagg, a profitable 17 percent with turf debut types.

Makderah is the most probable winner. She’s the fastest on turf figures, has developed very well, showing improvement since adding Lasix. And trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is 28 percent efficient with second-time Lasix runners and the filly is expected to improve further in her second start off a layup.

Lady Renaissance is highly likely to improve for high profile connections, the Clement/Gomez team. However, she’s perceptibly slower than her main rivals and looms an underlay. She would be a poor percentage play to win.

Itsnotthemoney is interesting. While not as fast as Makderah, she is developing nicely, showing incremental improvement. Stakes toughened last year at three, she makes her second start off a freshening, a high percentage move for the Frank Alexander barn. She likes the course, having won here last year and earned a life-best figure on this course last time out. Very live longshot.

Taking Makderah to win, no price restrictions, and we’ll make a smaller, saver wager on Itsnotthemoney at 8-1 or greater. We’ll also key Makderah first and second in trifectas with the other three fillies.

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sun King Taking Dead Aim On First Grade 1

Today’s Memorial Day feature at Belmont Park is the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, the storied “Met Mile.” Victory In this race virtually assures a profitable stud career for any stallion good enough to win it.

This year’s renewal doesn’t boast a household name, but rather a handful of legitimate G1 types bidding to become future legends. Consequently, however, it’s a great betting race.

Four horses, and another if the track is wet at post time, have a serious chance to win this open renewal. From the inside out: Lawyer Ron (5-2), Sun King (5-1), Silver Wagon (3-1), Silent Name (8-1) and the wet-track lover, Accountforthegold (15-1).

All five are within a couple of lengths on performance figures and there’s not that much disparity in the weight assignments. Open race, indeed.

Lawyer Ron, 3-for-3 at the distance and 2-for-2 on wet tracks, pointed toward this by Todd Pletcher, is the most probable winner. Toughened on the Triple Crown trail last year, he’s ready to come into his own at 4. His most recent figure was a lifetime best, and he’s had sufficient recover time.

Silver Wagon is probably the most accomplished but is most likely better at seven furlongs. His late kick fit’s the speedy race shape here perfectly. Sun King has knocked heads consistently in top company, racing very well, but is still a nose shy of that illusive grade one title. He, too, is very much suited by conditions, given his big late engine, and appeared a short horse in his prep, the recent G3 Westchester. Perhaps the switch to Eibar Coa might finally turn the trick.

Silent Name is an interesting dark horse in that he is a top class miler on turf, won on Polytrack last out in fast time, in this looks like the logical place to find out if he’s G1 quality on dirt. He seems much improved this year. The attraction for 15-1 Accountforthegold is his performance figure earned at a mile on a wet track, among the fastest on the page.

On a fast track, we’ll take the value offered on Sun King to win at 4-1 or greater and an exacta box with Lawyer Ron. The gusto play is keying Sun King first and second in trifectas with all four horses.

Running Totals: (31) 13-8-7 Return: $74.30 (win selections only)

Written by John Pricci

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