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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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Great Betting and Good Horses in NOLA Saturday

At once, divining the winner of the Louisiana Derby is as easy or as hard as you make it. The form on the favorites is clear cut and decisive on paper. After that, it's anything goes. A fun race where, if you can fill in the lower tiers, there may be money to be made. Good betting race.

I'm sure Keith Desormeaux has thought this through. Forget the wet for a moment: My Boy Jack (5-2) showed a clear affinity for Oaklawn Park, yet, here he is in NOLA on shorter rest? Does Desormeaux then want more spacing into Louisville? Then again there's the million other reasons; a strong pull: Get it while you can.

That's the only thing that makes some long game sense. Ultimately, he doesn't need to win this but he will if the OP shipper shows up here. Either way, at a short price, no thank you. Having said that, he has a relatively low profile. Ante post 3-1 would be worth a gamble.

Two weeks ago in Tampa, Todd Pletcher's decision to add blinkers to Vino Rosso backfired in, at best, an one-paced fourth. Yet here the blinkers show up on Noble Indy (7-2) today. But this reason I understand:

Noble Indy ran well in spots in the Risen Star here. Showing speed 3-wide and virtually between horses throughout, was surrounded on the turn, finished one-paced but gamely at first blush, but galloped out ahead of the field.

He wants more ground, which he gets, and maybe Pletcher/Velazquez get the sharpness and focus they seek. Sadly, he highly likely will be overbet.

Under normal circumstances, Noble Indy is supposed to benefit from his last race... and chances are that he could move forward substantially. That's why they run races.

We'll have a firm opinion and betting strategy in Saturday's Feature Race Analysis

Written by John Pricci

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