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, June 22, 2007

Preaching Promise Over Class In Belmont Feature

Been on a roll with some interesting feature races at Belmont Park and today’s no exception, the restricted Marking Time Stakes for three-year-old fillies that have not won a stakes race this year going a flat mile. The three main contenders are, from the rail out, Lady Marlboro (4-1), Autobahn Girl (2-1) and Mini Sermon (5-2).

Lady Marlboro is interesting in that in four career starts, her performance figures never have taken a backward step. While not as accomplished as the early line favorite, it is interesting to note her best effort came at Belmont Park last time out and the spacing of seven weeks is good. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens is profitable first time going long.

Autobahn Girl has been underachieving thus far this season but clearly is the most accomplished. She’s been keeping much tougher company and is 4-for-4 at this distance, three under today’s one-turn scenario. She’s been working lights out at Saratoga and switches to Garrett Gomez, like another winner from this barn last week. She’s the deserving favorite.

Mini Sermon, who’s making her stakes debut, is really sharp, showing much improved early speed while winning her last at today’s distance on the front end, which may not be her best game. She has a good back-figure to improve on and has worked very well since her recent victory. She is ideally spotted outside her main rivals and could provide value relative to her chances for victory.

Taking Mini Sermon to win at 2-1 or greater, exacta key boxes with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (45) 22-9-9 Dollar Return: $127.40 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hunting For Another Winner

Today’s feature is an allowance event for non-winners of 2 lifetime at 1-1/16th miles for three-year-olds and up, but at this time of year you might get something special. Today’s field has that kind of potential. It’s even money one of these runners will win a stakes race somewhere by year’s end.

Of the eight entered, three have the best chance, from the inside out; Holy Rock (5-2), Shone (5-1) and Hunting (3-1).

Holy Rock proved second best last out but it was an excellent try under similar conditions. A fast effort, Rick Dutrow has given the colt 41 days to recover and Holy Rock figures rock solid once more. Dutrow is 28 percent effective with beaten favorites.

On performance figures, Shone is the fastest horse and by a fairly significant margin. One of those figures came in a Gulfstream Park mile, a similar dynamic to today’s. He matched that figure going seven furlongs last out and could break through with another fast effort. Thus far the colt has lacked a killer instinct but maybe Garrett Gomez could wake up the horse for Nick Zito, a profitable 19 percent with stretchouts.

Hunting, however, looms the most probable winner. Edgar Prado jumps off Holy Rock to ride the Shug McGaughey trainee, who’s come into his own since stretched to a mile for his last two starts. He’s had sufficient recovery, 39 days, a forward looking pattern, sheds four important pounds and boasts a series of sharp, purposeful works. Stalk, then pounce, looks like a winning tack.

Taking Hunting to win at 2-1 or greater, and exacta boxes with the two listed contenders.

Running Totals: (44) 21-9-9 Dollar Return: $119.30 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Current Condition To Trump Classy Returnees On Belmont Turf

The Belmont Park week begins with a mile and a sixteenth turf route on the inner turf course for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds & up and eligible for non-winners of two races other-than…or optional $50,000 claiming. A competitive route, two of the three prime contenders are coming off long layups.

The filly with the best recent form, away for a freshening of 59 days, is My Rachel, a Todd Pletcher trainee with Mike Luzzi in the boot. She has tactical speed, which helps on this course, comes off a sharp win, and worked a bullet recently for her return. She will get and deserves a lot of support. What she might lack in class she makes up for in current condition.

The two fillies coming off layoffs have a class edge, look like the “best fillies,” but both are tough reads.

Christophe Clement’s Zaynab owns the fastest performance figures but her far-off-the-pace style is a hindrance on this course. She returns sans blinkers for Clement, who’s using Garrett Gomez, an ace with late running turf horses. The trainer is 22 percent effective off layups of 90 days or more and he and Gomez are a white hot 5-for-11 at this meet.

Beau Dare has the best company lines in the race, excellent early speed, the very advantage rail position on this course, attracts Edgar Prado and debuts for Bruce Levine, a profitable 20 percent off long layoffs and 27 percent with new acquisitions. Chances are she’ll hold on better for Levine at 4 than she did as a 3-year-old for Bob Holthus.

In a very tough call, taking My Rachel to win at 5-2 or greater, exacta boxes with the other two fillies.

Running Totals: (43) 20-9-9 Dollar Return: $112.80 [win selections only]

Written by John Pricci

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