John Pricci

HorseRaceInsider.com executive editor John Pricci has over three decades of experience as a thoroughbred racing public handicapper and was an award-winning journalist while at New York Newsday for 18 years.

John has covered 14 Kentucky Derbies and Preaknesses, all but three Breeders' Cups since its inception in 1984, and has seen all but two Belmont Stakes live since 1969.

Currently John is a contributing racing writer to MSNBC.com, an analyst on the Capital Off-Track Betting television network, and co-hosts numerous handicapping seminars. He resides in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017


Vegas Line: Chrome 4-5; Arrogate 1-1


By Press Release

Although defeated by Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), California Chrome was listed as the 4-5 favorite for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) when the opening line at the Wynn Las Vegas Race & Sports Book was released.

Arrogate, who finished a half-length in front of California Chrome in the Classic, their first meeting, was made the second choice at even-money for the inaugural running of the 1 1/8-mile race.

The opening lines for the remainder of the expected 12-horse field is as follows: Noble Bird (12-1); Keen Ice (20-1); Neolithic (20-1); Shaman Ghost (25-1); Breaking Lucky (25-1); Eragon (40-1); War Envoy (50-1); War Story (50-1); Ralis (50-1); and Prayer for Relief (75-1).

CHROME: A Sunday Kind of Love

By John Pricci

It was the morning after his penultimate workout for the ultimate race of his life. America's richest race horse ever*, preparing for the world's richest race ever.

After a routine five-furlong breeze Saturday morning before a larger than usual breakfast crowd at Gulfstream Park, California Chrome was relaxing, which was hard for a newcomer to know because he's just so focused, with a "what's next?" look about him.

We're not anthropomorphizing here. I've been on the other side of the webbing of plenty of race horses and, as horsemen like to say about the great ones, this horse actually looks like he is breathing different air.

He never stops moving. We were there at lunch time, 10:14 a.m. Sunday, and Chrome shows that he loves the equine version of surf and turf: Some oats from the lunch bucket out front then a little parry and thrust with his hay rack; especially thrust. He attacks the damn thing.

In between he's constant motion, moving head from side to side, ears going every which way. Nothing escapes his attention. He's so fun to watch, even when he's not racing. He looks restive but not in an edgy or agitated way, just quietly intense. "It's his way," his personal security person, Jorge Gonzalez, informs us. "He has his routines."

California Chrome is loving life right now and it shows, whether it's on the racetrack or in his stall. He's a remarkable animal.

The Pegasus World Cup Invitational is 13 days hence. And we can't wait to see what his game face looks like for real.

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Tell Arrogate I'm Looking for Him

*****

Multiple graded stakes winning Arles, pictured here on the outside, gets the best of her stablemate Tuesday morning on the Palm Meadows training center grass course.

Owned by Barry Irwin et al, she currently is being pointed to the Grade 3 La Prevoyante later this month at Gulfstream Park.


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* * * * *
What Bellavais lacks in size she makes up for in heart. She proved that when she won Saturday's Ginger Brew Stakes, overcoming some tight quarters, bulling her way between rivals and drew off late demonstrating a high turn of foot.

All that after altering stride in midstretch, first being inadvertently struck by a rival's whip, getting her so angry that she jumped up a second time while trying to savage her rival inside.

Johnny Velazquez finally got her mind right and the attractive chestnut exploded straight to the wire. Gulfstream's G3 Herecomesthebride in March is the most likely target.

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Photos by Toni Pricci

*correction made 012017

Written by John Pricci

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