John Pricci 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, 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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Saturday, February 03, 2018

All Sophomores All the Time

Finally, at least as far as the sophomore division is concerned, Gulfstream Park's championship meet finally began on Saturday February 3 when five graded stakes for three-year-olds were staged in South Florida. And there was a little something for everyone.

There were two turf races, one for each sex; two sprints, one for the boys and one for the girls and, of course, the nominal feature, the Grade 2 Holy Bull at a mile and a sixteenth, the glamour division's first race around two turns, good enough to earn the triumphant Audible 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

RACE OF THE DAY: With their strides synchronized, Gidu and Speed Franco (outside) race away from highly regarded Untamed Domain and all the rest in the Grade 3 Dania Beach for three-year-olds on the turf. With heads bobbing this way and that, it was Speed Franco’s nose that reached the wire first beneath Emisael Jaramillo for trainer Gustavo Delgado.

PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY, Part 1: Underscoring that his record-performing debut was for real, the well named Strike Power made the move up in distance and class into the Grade 3 Swale look easy as he took command from the start and improved his position under confident handling from Gulfstream’s leading rider Luis Saez for trainer Mark Hennig.

CO-PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY, Part II: Trainer Todd Pletcher called an audible on himself. Planning to keep his New York-bred in the Big Apple for a northern assault on the Classics, he decided to ship the colt into South Florida and Audible--the racehorse--obliged with a 5-1/2 length romp, taking the Grade 2 Holy Bull in 1:41.92 over a wet-fast surface that did not yield exceptionally fast times all afternoon.

KIARAN TAKES CHARGE: Making her first start for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and owner Peter Deutsch beneath regular partner Paco Lopez, the dark bay daughter of Take Charge Indy improved her lifetime slate to (7) 5-1-0 for her first graded victory in the G3 Forward Gal, winning the 7-furlong sprint with complete authority and is now 2-for-2 in Hallandale.


Taking some of the sting out of Untamed Domain’s third place finish in the Dania Beach, Graham Motion-trained Thewayjam made it two straight in South Florida and third victory at a mile by displaying a strong turn of foot in midstretch, having enough in reserve to hold off fast-closing Salsa Bella, Eclipse Award-winning Jose Ortiz got first run on older brother Irad.

Photos by Toni Pricci

Written by John Pricci

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