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 27, 2007

Value Aplenty In Belmont Park Feature

The racing week at Belmont Park begins with an inscrutable restricted stakes, the seven-furlong Stage View, for New York-bred fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up. Half the 12-horse field could win, and the one thing no one wants here is a short price.

From the inside, out: Homerette, Sabellina, Willshefire, Mohegan Sky, Artistic Express and Wild Berry all have merit. The three that are most interesting are Homerette (12-1), Willshefire (8-1) and Artistic Express (6-1).

Homerette has won at the distance on Belmont grass and is turning back to that distance for trainer Pat Kelly. Kelly is profitable with his turn-backs and has an excellent slate in non-graded stakes. Historically, the four-year-old filly has proven fast enough on performance figures to win here. A longshot that can win this.

Willshefire is a tough read because her performance figure jumped up significantly in her four-year-old debut. A positive sign of development, the figure represented a big move, indicating a possible bounce. But then maybe new trainer Barclay Tagg improved her significantly over the winter freshening period. At early line odds, she would be worth the risk.

Artistic Express intrigues us most. Another improving four-year-old, she has a healthy, forward looking pattern and her slower figures should offer her backers fair value. She is 1-for-1 at this distance on Belmont grass and trainer Mike Hernandez is 20 percent efficient with horses turning back into sprints. The filly has tactical speed, late kick and a position-conscious rider in Cornelio Velasquez. The key is to stay covered up until ready and not lose too much ground from her outside post.

Taking Artistic Express to win at 5-1 or greater and, because of inflated early line odds, we’re taking a three-horse box including Homerette and Willshefire.

Running Totals: (47) 24-9-9 Dollar Return: $141.00 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bobbing In The Lake For Big Apples

Today’s feature, the Mike Lee for state-bred three-year-olds at seven furlongs, is named for the late sports editor of the late Long Island Press and is the first leg of the OTB Big Apple Triple, a three-race series that moves on to Finger Lakes and concludes at Saratoga.

The race has drawn a field of six but the win prize likely will go to one of two, the likely odds-on post time favorite, What A Tale, or likely second choice, Chief’s Lake. Value may be hard to find in the Mike Lee.

What A Tale, while the most probable winner, is a tough read. His local debut was so fast--many lengths ahead of today’s rivals--that a bounce is almost assured despite 36 days of recovery.

What makes it so tough is that it was the colt’s first start for Bruce Levine and first over the track, a combination that might have helped produce such a Herculean effort. Levine is a profitable 27 percent with potential repeaters.

Chief’s Lake could provide value if bet sensibly relative to What A Tale. He broke through his juvenile top in his recent sophomore debut, a good sign of development, and while the move was significant it still seems to have left room for another forward move.

This colt is 3-for-4 at Belmont Park and 2-for-3 beneath Garrett Gomez. Trainer Scott Lake is 22 percent profitable with horses making their second start for him.

Seeking value, we're taking Chief’s Lake to win at 2-1 or greater and an exacta box with What A Tale.

Running Totals: (47) 23-9-9 Dollar Return: $132.10 [win selections only; does not reflect Saturday's results]

Written by John Pricci

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pletcher’s Roll Continues in New York’s New York

The feature today is good and competitive, the Grade 2 New York Stakes for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, at 10 furlongs on the inner turf course. Half the field could win this eight-horse mile and a quarter. From the inside out; Jade Queen (5-2), Vacare (2-1), Barancella (5-1) and Makderah (8-1).

Vacare is a Grade 1 winner and deserving early line favorite. She’s won five of six career starts, looms the controlling speed, reunites with Prado (1-for-1 on the four-year-old), and never has taken a backward step on performance figures. But the high weight under 123 pounds spots her major contenders seven pounds. That’s not insignificant.

Barancella hails from the Frankel barn that has come alive in recent weeks. She’s been battle tested often in top graded company and never fails to fire. Her figures are competitive with the favorite on her best, and has a chance at what might be fair odds, early line price or higher.

Makderah will be tested for class but might be up to this in her current form. She’s much improved at 4 and owns a fast win over the course. She finished third in her only start at this distance in Europe. Alan Garcia is largely underrated and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is a profitable 24 percent with potential repeaters.

Jade Queen appears the most likely winner and could provide good value if the crowd over-bets Vacare, a distinct possibility. Well drawn inside her major rivals, she can set the pace or sit the good inside trip. Grade 1 placed, she returns sufficiently rested with competitive figures and attracts Garrett Gomez for the first time. And this just in, the Pletcher barn has been going well recently.

Taking Jade Queen to win at 2-1 or greater and using her in all three trifecta positions with the other three fillies.

Running Totals: (45) 22-9-9 Dollar Return: $127.40 [win selections only; does not reflect Friday’s results]

Written by John Pricci

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