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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Friday, March 03, 2017

Fountain of Youth, A Handicapping Sketch +

Below is an example of the lynchpin of our Late Pick 4 Tote Busters© analysis available at

A Legend describing how to best use the information and ratings therein is available there as well.

And below that, is an example of a new product we’re launching in April called 10-1 or Bettor©. In it are contained live price shots from three major tracks each Saturday.

As explained to our clients, percentage-wise these horse will most often finish third or fourth, not first or second. All price shots listed are rated at 10-1 or better on published morning line.

Included is the explanation to the clients assessing the results.


Makes U.S. debut for outfit that did well in one of these spots previously after shipping up from South America. Won Peruvian Grade 1 going 12 furlongs as a juvenile and goes first Lasix. A complete guess for what would be an upset of the highest order.

2 - ***GUNNEVERA (7-2) PR: 78

Middle-moved as moderate Holy Bull pace was heating up then was forced to break stride on turn before finishing well too late without threatening the leader. Has improved greatly at two turns, winning Delta Jackpot before Grade 2 3YO debut. Gets better setup here, worked crisply since, and retains Castellano.

3 - QUINIENTOS (50-1) PR: 55
Chased the pace in restricted stakes then finished one-paced in first start going a flat mile after breaking maiden in sprint prior Dec. 14. Overly ambitious placement

4 – **TALK LOGISTICS (20-1) PR: 68

Was a good late-finish third to Sonic Mule in Mucho Macho Man then had little choice but to force the pace from the outside in Holy Bull, tiring after being taken out of his best game. Like Gunnevera, gets more favorable dynamics and switch to Bravo signals desired late-run tactics. Super-exotics at a price?

5 - *BEASLEY (6-1) PR: 82
Was an excellent second after setting pressured pace prior to game placing behind top prospect Battalion Runner Feb 3rd. Bullet half-mile was 3rd fastest of 98 last week. All four sibs are winners, including one SW, and switch to patient Irad suggests rating today. Talented but better suited to Tampa Bay Derby.

6 – ***PRACTICAL JOKE (3-1) PR: 78
Touting himself to Chad as he’s been working extremely well for two months. A dual Grade 1 winner at 2 prior to very good, tough-trip third in key race BC Juvenile, his two-turn debut. Chad 27% effective with this spacing and reunites with Jose Ortiz, 2-for-2 on this colt. Talented, hits hard, versatile enough and well-drawn.

7 – **THREE RULES (12-1) PR: 71
Coming up to this off excellent placing in G2 7F Swale and did win at today’s trip by 10 as a juvenile, albeit against far lesser than he meets here. Has trained very well since the Swale and gets rider switch to Saez, who will fit him much better than previous rider. May take the starch out of pace-pressers here.

8 – ****IRISH WAR CRY (5-2) PR: 96
High quality colt can go to head of the Derby class should he extend unbeaten slate to four straight. Classy, well-bred Holy Bull winner has continued to impress in a.m. gallops and recent easy breeze, and can beat you in a number of different ways. Likely to pass what will be toughest test of his career.

9 – *MADE YOU LOOK (10-1) PR: 68 [turf]

Very ambitious spot to make first dirt start but multiple graded stakes winner on grass has no shortage of ability and Pletcher doesn’t make aggressive moves capriciously. Extremely sharp half-mile blowout at deepish PBD base, fastest of 51 peers for the week a likely convincer to try this. Loses Castellano but gets Johnny.

10 - *TAKAFUL (12-1) PR: 79
Very unusual spot McLaughlin chooses for speedster with run-off tendencies to make 3YO debut. Looms the speed of the speed and his last on sealed muddy track a total throw-out. Paco likely to have no choice but to hustle from outside post, either dueling, stalking or establishing a clear lead. Recent 59 4/5B fastest of 33 peers week of 2/25. Fountain of Youth wildcard.

11 – **LOOKIN FOR EIGHT (20-1) PR: 72
Was purchased privately by high profile connections and given over to high profile Casse barn following strongly run maiden win at 7F, which produced two next-out winners, following prior game placing to Battalion Runner in debut, also at 7 furlongs. Bred both sides for stretchout, Julien knows him already but the draw is compromising.


Results from Saturday’s 10-1 or Bettor FEB 25, 2017


R3: Cloud Control (12-1) 4th @ 10-1

Fair Grounds

R1: Toughjudgment (10-1) out @ 9-1
R6: Xocoyotzin (12-1) 3rd @ 11-1
R8: Rise Up (10-1) out @ 10-1
R11: Untrapped (10-1) 2nd @ 8-1


R2: Valid Wildfire (12-1) out @ 27-1
R7: Twotimingdancer (15-1) 3rd @ 28-1
R8: Morichai (15-1) 4th @ 8-1 -- Hy Quality Prince (12-1) out @ 14-1
R9: Brown Almighty (10-1) SCRATCH
R10: Hockey School (12-1) 3rd @ 14-1
R11: Fields of Song (15-1) 3rd @ 20-1
R13: Schweets (10-1) out @ 18-1

Please Note: As we stated in our introduction, these horses are much better percentage plays as “in the money” finishers, although some can win or place, of course.

When considering price shots, personally, I handicap the races, identify the strong contenders, key the horse I like to win or place—depending on whether there are other live “win keys” present--and use the price shots accordingly.

My style is to “weigh” the plays according to my best opinion. When I look at horses as would-be in the money keys, I use the price shot to complete the exacta with the “win horse,” a 50-Cent TRI with ALL for second and the price shot for third, and 10-Cent SUPERS taking the win key, with ALL, with ALL, with the price shot fourth.

I try to put myself in a position to make a score with the smallest investment possible. If you are a major player, simply make multiple combinations.

I find that whether you’re a casual fan or a serious bettor, the mindset is to play the long game and not for the short haul. Admittedly, this is easier said than done.

Further, don’t be too dogmatic about closing odds. If a horse is 8-1 or so, I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. Whatever the price turns out to be, if the odds do not represent fair value relative to the merits, the play is to PASS.”

For on-the record selections, see Saturday's Feature Race Analysis

Written by John Pricci

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