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, May 03, 2018

The Double of 2018: Chaotic Oaks Meets Perfect Derby

LAS VEGAS, May 3, 2018--With the deservedly attendant hoopla around Derby 144, the most competitive of the Millennium, the ladies have been getting short shrift.

They might not be their equal but that matters little; the 144th renewal of the Kentucky Oaks, while less top-heavy than the Derby, is every bit as competitive.

All regions are live in here, meaning equine representatives hail from the West, South, Midwest and Northeast. Throw in the chances of a wet track and viola: Chaos.

Going in, this is how HRI staffers and contributors figure the mighty Oaks will shake out. In recognition of our exotics age, here, in graded order, is the HRI Staff High Five:

Tom Jicha

1. Monomoy Girl--Best filly, post not as bad as it appears--might help price.
2. Coach Rocks--Fulfilled promise in G2 Gulfstream Oaks.
3. Midnight Bisou--SoCal beast, but wasn't beating much.
4. Rayya--Distant second behind monster male in UAE Derby
5. Take Charge Paula--Consistent record, could sneak into exotics

Mark Berner

1- Midnight Bisou gets there with good late run.
2- Monomoy Girl may be beyond best distance.
3- Classy Act has speed; tough is unchallenged.
4- Eskimo Kisses has the best late kick.
5- Rayya placed in Dubai Derby; first-time Lasix.


1. Midnight Bisou – Three uncontested wins at 3
2. Monomoy Girl – Good 2YO and a better 3YO
3. Chocolate Martini – So far, the Claim of the Year
4. Coach Rocks - Late maturing and still improving
5. Rayya – UAE Derby second to Mendelssohn

John Pricci

1 Coach Rocks – Late developing distance pedigree; never better; dynamics suit
2 Monomoy Girl –Rock solid, great development at 3; compromising draw
3 Wonder Gadot –Proven at 9F; super sharp now; trips out with Johnny?
4 Midnight Bisou—Western Queen; laudably versatile; good draw; ‘Money Mike’
5 Take Charge Paula—Two-move tough trip GP Oaks; blinkers on; Kiaran improved

Return later today for the second half of the Double of the year, the 144th Kentucky Derby

Written by John Pricci

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