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, June 06, 2007

Interesting Betting Race Begins Belmont Week

Wednesday’s feature to begin Belmont Stakes week is a good betting race, “a non-winners of two other than…optional claiming” at six furlongs on the inner turf course, attracting a full field. From the inside out, any one of six could win, although one from the also eligible list is unlikely to start.

Ferocious Won (4-1) has the best performance figures, the right connections and a promising turf pedigree, but it’s hard to spot experience to so many proven turf horses. Not a good percentage win play, but easily could prove us wrong.

Redefined (9-2) is razor sharp coming off a win, the spacing is good, and trainer John Parisella continues to overachieve given limited opportunities.

Theconfidenceman (6-1) is very interesting. He makes his second start off a layup for Leo O’Brien, who’s twice as effective coming off a prep race than when he is when not. The turf pro has good back figures and fits the conditions nicely at fair early line odds.

Metro Meteor (8-1) is the other interesting entrant. He was scratched recently from a recent stakes going longer now returns in a more favorable spot for Gary Contessa, a profitable 18 percent with new acquisitions. The horse is fast, can finish, and likes this course. His late run could be very effective in this spot.

No Parole (3-1) is a six-furlong turf specialist at Belmont Park but, at early line odds and with a wide draw, looms a poor percentage win play.

I almost don’t want to see Mr Sam I Am (8-1) draw in. He’s 2-for-3 on Belmont turf and 1-for-1 at the distance. On performance figures, he broke through in his recent four-year-old debut, and is dangerous on the turn-back for Todd and Johnny. His early line odds offer value but he is unlikely to be anything near that price at post time.

We are betting two horses to win here: Theconfidenceman at 5-1 or better, and Metro Meteor at 6-1 or more. Both will be counted in running totals but only if they satisfy odds requirements. (That’s only fair when suggesting two win plays in the same race. Selections are for turf only).

We will also key Theconfidenceman and Metro Meteor first and second with the other horses named in the trifecta, giving us a chance to cash twice if it breaks the right way.

Running Totals: (35) 15-9-7 Dollar Return: $82.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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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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