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 17, 2017

Grade 2 at Gulfstream Features Grade 1 Speed

The following handicapping sketch of Saturday's feature race at Gulfstream Park brought to you courtesy of


1 - WHEATFIELD (20-1) Pricci Rating: 99 (at 6F)
Has compiled fine lifetime slate (17) 6-4-3 but lacks experience at this trip and draws the pole while making graded stakes and GP debut; extremely tall order but rates super-exotics consideration.

PR: 92
Jerkens barn presently white hot and is profitable with repeaters and graded stakes runners—a worthy 32% in LAY-2 scenarios. Owns 2-for-3 GP slate, 1-for-9 elsewhere, and was second in two tries at the trip on this track in 2016. Worked very well—fastest of 32 peers week of Mar. 10 but this is very salty spot.

3 – DANESSA AGAIN (30-1) PR: 82
Pace presser is stuck inside vs. faster set here—difficult trip looming. Both lifetime wins came at GP and she’s 1-for-2 at the trip but needs to step up her game considerably to be taken as a serious win threat. Top connects gives her shot at fourth.

4 – MIA TORRI (8-1) PR: 89
Two-for-two since entering the Navarro barn (shocking, I know) and was second in lone start at the CT bullring last fall, her only try in graded company. Likely to be trip sitting beneath Rosario and cannot be easily dismissed despite big step up here.

5 - DEAREST (5-1) PR: 98
Seriously fast and classy sprinter is 4-for-5 on this track and undefeated in two starts at 7F. Returns with winning spacing and Zayas has won thrice aboard Midshipman 4YO. Working brilliantly at GPWest base for Zerpa—59 2/5B fastest of 23 peers that week. Barn is 25% profitable with 90-day layups. Only concern is 123 pounds.

6 - DISTINTA (10-1) PR: 91
Unlucky runnerup in last after dropping far out of early contention, finishing furiously too late to just miss. However, runnerup finishes have been her hallmark but speedy dynamics suits her, as does the switch to Johnny who will look to trip-out. Barboza career 23% profitable with all dirt runners.

7 - MOMENT OF DELIGHT (6-1) PR: 95
Last better than it looked in that she was forced to rush up from the pole to avoid potential speed jam, winning the White Pearl 7F prep for this. Attracts Paco, is capable of stalking from close range, and gets a couple of pounds from the faves. She’s 5-for-14 here, 1-for-6 anywhere else.

8 – CURLIN’S APPROVAL (3-5) PR: 99
The proven class, she shoulders co-highweight seeking consecutive G2s and already is a multiple graded winner. Has conditioning on the cutback--might even be a better one-turn miler type--but returns with relatively short best turning back with faster rivals in intended LaTroienne prep.

See Saturday's Feature Race Analysis for on-the-record selections

Written by John Pricci

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