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 21, 2007

Get Down on Down in Belmont Feature

Today’s feature is another interesting turf event, this one carded for preliminary allowance fillies, three-year-olds and up, at 1-1/16 miles on the Widener turf. We believe it comes down to two rivals, favorite Down (3-1) and outsider Wild Hoots (8-1).

The barn appears to be very up on Down. After breaking her maiden on this course in a quickly run special-weights at 7 furlongs, her next start came at the same distance on dirt--the Grade 1 Test Stakes. Clearly that was too ambitious, especially given the lack of seasoning.

Bobby Frankel entered her back on turf last time out and she returned with a good effort, finishing gamely late despite having no running room inside and off slow fractions. She figures to get a more favorable set up here, adds blinkers, and switches to a more aggressive Cornelio Velasquez.

Wild Hoots is interesting. After making a promising debut, she was hindered off a very slow pace last time out, compromising her late kick. Still, she mid-moved into the pace, opened a clear advantage and held well for a game victory. Given added maturity off a recent freshening, she figures to move forward for extremely live connections, Team McLaughlin/Garcia. She figures to be overlooked in the wagering.

On occasion when conditions demand, we suggest betting two horses. That’s the case here, with the main wager counting as a play in the running totals, with the saver wager recorded as a half-play. Taking most probable winner Down to win at 2-1 or greater, for $2, and Wild Hoots to win for $1, no price restriction. Also a two-horse exacta box.

Running Totals: (106) 39-26-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Will Brazilian Be A Valor Lady?

Today’s feature is an overnight stakes, the Valor Lady, for older fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs on the inner turf course. Half of the eight fillies entered can win. They are, from the inside, out: Brazilian (8-1), Astronomia (9-2), Stormy Kiss (5-2) and Trouble Maker (6-1).

Brazilian is making his second start for Christophe Clement, a high percentage situation. She finished strongly late off moderate fractions after shaking clear late inside--showing improvement in her debut for Clement--as the pace was heating up, and was beaten less than two lengths by the race favorite here. She appears to be at her best sprinting and classes up nicely.

Astronomia raced wide in a Grade 3 at a mile here less than a week ago and now is entered back quickly at a preferred sprint distance for her. She finished like a wild horse to win her 5-½ furlong prior, completely outclassing secondary allowance rivals. She meets tougher here but not as good as she faced most recently. She switches to suddenly hot riding Javier Castellano.

Stormy Kiss is a deserving favorite. She is consistently faster than this group and she finished like a wild horse in her sprint finale at Saratoga. While she may be winless on turf, her performance figures are excellent and there’s no trainer hotter this last week in New York than Barclay Tagg. The filly’s regular rider Eibar Coa takes the call. She has tactical speed and excellent kick.

When last seen July 12, Trouble Maker was outclassing secondary allowance rivals on the Belmont turf, at today’s distance. Freshened at Saratoga since, she returns here under optimal conditions and has trained steadily and well. The spacing for her return is good and trainer Albertrani is profitable with horses attempting to repeat.
Taking projected value on Brazilian, at 5-1 or greater, and keying her first and second in trifectas with her three main rivals.

Running Totals: (105) 39-26-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Take Upside Potential In Contentious Sprint

Very contentious sprint--a non-winners of three allowances/optional $75,000 claiming at six furlongs--to begin the Belmont Park week. There are young developing horses on the come vs. several with back class and back figures that could win on their best efforts. Making sense of it all is tricky.

We’ll concentrate on three logical contenders, from the inside, out: Grand Champion (2-1) Bound Notebook (5-1) and City Attraction (5-2).

Grand Champion is developing very well at 4 for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. His last score at Saratoga was impressive enough and, coming back with more than five weeks rest, will appreciate the change in venue back to Belmont, where he’s run his best race. He has tactical speed, kick and should save ground. Eibar Coa, with his choice of mounts, rides this one back. The colt has two sharp works subsequent to his last race and will be a tough out here.

Bound Notebook loses Coa to Grand Champion but picks up Cornelio Velasquez. Of greater significance, he’s back at Belmont where he not only races best but where his performance figures are better than his rivals. He figures to get a comfortable trip here, breaking from the middle of eight rivals but he needs not to lose ground on Belmont’s wide turn. Unlucky in his last at the Spa, he benefits from the mini-turnback to six furlongs.

City Attraction is streaking for Trainer Rick Dutrow, who’s won four of 11 starts at this meet. He’s worked four times since his last start at Saratoga, indicating excellent fitness and conditioning, Javier Castellano, aboard for the 4-year-old’s first win since last year, rides him back. Mate Holly Time should provide good pace insurance if he starts, likely since Garrett Gomez was named to ride.

Love to take the likely value on Bound Notebook, but Grand Champion just has too much upside potential here. Taking Grand Champion to win at 2-1 or greater, keying him first and second in exactas with his major rivals.

Running Totals: (104) 39-25-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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