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, September 15, 2007


Protem Champ Back Home to Defend Her Turf


More stakes races on tap this afternoon at Belmont Park and, given the time of year, all interesting as the Breeders’ Cup championships approach.

The signature event, because of the presence of a classic winner, is the Gazelle featuring Rags To Riches, the 3-5 early line choice to win this nine furlong one-turner carded exclusively for three-year-old fillies.

I’m sure there will be some to say she's vulnerable today, given all the recent bad history, aborted or cancelled workouts, delayed schedules, races missed, and the like.

I’m not among them.

Is she vulnerable? Of course. They all get beat, the racetrackers say--and that's right. But your supposed to play this illogical game logically. In that content, she’s too classy, too fast, and too accomplished for these. Further, she loves to run outside horses and she has drawn the extreme outside slip in a short field.

As second choice, Lear’s Princess (2-1) may be vulnerable, too. Coming off a double top on the Equiform scale, she adds blinkers--not especially a dominating move for McLaughlin barn--turns back off two 10-furlongs tries which might mute her early speed, and she draws the pole. At the odds, she’s a toss.

The interesting filly is Dorm Fever (12-1). She’s coming off a career best but with sufficient rest, was very sharp in that seven furlong score and is well bred on the dam’s side for today's extra ground. Garrett Gomez takes the call for Jimmy Jerkens. At the price, she’s intriguing.

Rags To Riches is the most probable winner, but we’ll forsake a win play. Instead, taking an exacta box with price filly Dorm Fever, an extra ticket with the Belmont Stakes winner on top.

Running Totals: (102) 39-24-11. Dollar Return: $227.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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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 6-½ 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 5-½ 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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