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, October 03, 2007

Chances Are Tagg’s Filly Will Fire

Not an easy spot to begin the week (seems like all spots difficult for us lately), an “optional non-winners of two other/than, $50,000 claiming,” at six furlongs on the Belmont turf. The favorite, a fast filly from California named Thru N' Thru (8-5), will be trying this distance and course for the first time. Like we said, however, she’s fast.

Two logical contenders are Queen Amira (5-1) and Willshefire (7-2). Let’s examine both.

While Bill Mott Queen Amira seems to lack a winning profile, her lifetime best effort came on this course under these conditions, that is if Wednesday’s course is firm. Since then, she’s competed at varying distances or over unsuitable ground. She needs a good trip to suit her late kick and might get that given the early speed signed on. The inside helps, as would a focused Kent Desormeaux (not always a given).

Willshefire comes from the white hot Barclay Tagg/Eibar Coa connections. She loves the distance and the course, with two wins at each, and has a versatile style that allows her to either front-run or stalk to victory. That seems the case here as she’s drawn outside the speedy Bob Baffert filly from Del Mar.

Given that their performance figures are all within a couple of lengths on the best game, the trip will be the thing.

Taking Willshefire to win at 3-1 or greater, keying her first and second in exactas with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (113) 40-27-12. Dollar Return: $130.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Order In the Court

The centerpiece of today’s four Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup prep program is the storied Jockey Club Gold Cup, headed by racing’s newest star, Lawyer Ron (3-5).

While the tendency will be to think regression off two very fast, powerhouse efforts, it’s hard to envision what that regression will mean in terms of his bet-against-ability; especially if the crowd goes overboard for Preakness hero Curlin (5-2).

Triple Crown horses always attract a big following, sometimes creating good betting opportunities.

Thing is that Lawyer Ron is a Triple Crown colt, too, class of 2006. But he’s a better four-year-old for his new barn, a different training style and maturity obviously making the difference.

Lawyer Ron has reached full potential and he’s been nothing less than awesome, in the old school sense of the word. If he turns out to be a fad, an equine flavor of the month, it would be a surprise. But even if that’s what occurs, he has a least one more big one inside him. Taking Todd Pletcher at his word, the horse thrives on work.

On performance figures, Curlin’s Haskell was not as bad as it looks. And, of course, he’s fresher, sharper now, that enervating mile and a half now more than three months away. And he will get those four pounds of scale-weight in deference to his age.

Parenthetically, we believe the scale favors the three-year-olds at this time of year.

This being a very big race, we’re compelled to give The Chief, a.k.a. Allen Jerkens, a second look. His Political Force (8-1) loves Belmont, given his record on it and performance figures that are faster than over any over surface. And he’s 1-for-1 at 10 furlongs.

But it’s Lawyer Ron’s Jockey Club Gold Cup to lose. Taking him to win, boxing him in the exacta with Political Force and first in exactas with both listed contenders.

Running Totals: (112) 40-26-11. Dollar Return: $230.00 [win selections only] {Saturday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Lady Is a Champ

Lots of stakes on today’s card but the centerpiece is the $600,000 Flower Bowl, Grade 1, at a mile and quarter for three-year-olds and up. As you might expect, this race is loaded.

But let’s face it. Todd Pletcher holds the key here, and if Wait a While was sharp and good enough to overcome a sub-par Saratoga meet for the three-time defending Eclipse champion trainer, we can only infer one thing: The champ is back.

But, as stated, this is a deep group. Masseuse might be coming off a 69-day layup for Jimmy Toner, but his barn has been firing on all cylinders recently, a profitable 22 percent over the last 90 days. Further, the filly is 3-for-4 on Belmont turf.

My Typhoon is better than her last indicates a lot better. She has won on this course, goes well for regular partner Eddie Castro and trainer Bill Mott, while a little chilly at Belmont, has continued his torrid Saratoga pace elsewhere. Her figures are competitive.

Rosinka will try to win her fifth straight, and fourth beneath Jeremy Rose, on three different courses. The Graham Motion four-year-old lasted to win her latest at the Spa, making a bold mid-race move then lasting under pressure at 11 furlongs. The mini-turn-back will suit her here.

Royal Highness is the likely second favorite, raising her game to win the G1 Beverly D. at Arlington last out. She’s blossomed for Christophe Clement since landing in the U.S. and racing on Lasix. She’s had seven weeks recovery since her last and has trained well for her return.

But, like we said, the champ is back. Despite a roughed start and rallying wide into the lane, she drew off powerfully to win the Ballston Spa, a G2 at a shorter distance, which should serve as an excellent prep for this. She’s not only 2-for-2 at 10 furlongs but did it in Grade 1 company. Garrett Gomez fits like a glove, the filly’s versatile style giving him plenty of options. Should she run her Ballston Spa back, this group is competing for second money. If not, Royal Highness is likely to inherit the victory.

Taking Wait a While to win, no price restrictions, an exacta box with Royal Highness, and keying her in the trifecta with all listed contenders.

Running Totals: (111) 40-26-11. Dollar Return: $230.00 [win selections only] {Friday’s results not included}

Written by John Pricci

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