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, May 04, 2018

Derby of the Century; Hyperbolists Need Not Apply

LAS VEGAS, May 3, 2018--We’ve never seen anything like this Kentucky Derby in the modern era. It's so good that the racing gods want to see it, too.

Not only is the field the deepest of the Millennium with many potential superstars led by the undefeated Justify, followed by freaky equine composer Mendelssohn.

And they are followed by undefeated Magnum Moon and a defending champion juvenile, followed by… Well, you get the point.

The racing gods want to see this because in their wisdom they hindered no major runner's position in the gate—and let’s say there are a minimum of seven of very live top contenders. None of them were hurt by the post draw in a 20-horse lineup. What are the odds?

We’ll all know soon enough: Advance Betting on the Kentucky Derby begins Friday. This is how the HRI Staff thinks the finish will play out, in graded order

Tom Jicha

1. Mendelssohn--Half to Beholder freaked first dirt.
2. Justify--No telling how good he is, on all my multiples.
3. Audible--Can't fault in any way off Gulfstream stakes wins.
4. Good Magic--Chad has 2YO champ coming up to best race.
5. Flameaway--Potential exotic ticket maker.

Mark Berner

1- Justify trained sharply; out in 1:38.22 after strong 7F
2- Audible gets suitable setup and good post.
3- Good Magic is professional and still improving.
4- Bolt D'Oro has been competitive with top colts.
5- Mendelssohn won with Derby weight and back on Lasix.


1. Vino Rosso – John V’s choice, Thoro Graph-validated
2. Audible – Javier C’s choice, Florida Derby Winner
3. Justify - TimeformUS superhorse, Baffert magic
4. Mendelssohn – Beat lesser and clock spectacularly
5. Good Magic – 2yo champ, Brown’s turn?

John Pricci

1. Good Magic still developing, tactical champion has trained to the minute
2. Bolt D’Oro near-champion on same schedule; 10F bred; very sharp works w/ Victor
3. Audible made two undeniably compelling performances at Gulfstream
4. Vino Rosso is the 'now' horse, training great; has pedigree, style, kick
5. Justify looks like real deal but now must prove he’s up to very tough test

Written by John Pricci

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