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 04, 2017

HRI Staff Oaks and Derby Selections

HRI Staff selections for the 2017 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. These races celebrate not only racing in this country but Thoroughbreds as a way of life and a living for scores of many, many more. It may bet wet and wild in Kentucky, but may the sun shine bright on your favorites late Saturday afternoon.

A safe and speedy journey to all the players and may the best horse and team win.



1-Farrell--Couldn't be any sharper
2-Paradise Woods--Brilliant SA Oaks; these are much tougher
3-Salty--Gulfstream Oaks an eye-opener
4-Abel Tasman--No shot vs. free running winner at SA


1-Thunder Snow--UAE Derby was an extraordinary performance. Post could be better.
2-Always Dreaming--Best of the U.S. and fits Derby undefeated as 3YO pattern.
3-Gunnevera--Always puts in a big late run. If race comes apart late, he's there.
4-Classic Empire--Which horse do we get in the crazy Churchill atmosphere?



1-Paradise Woods earned top figure at Santa Anita.
2-Miss Sky Warrior won nicely at the distance.
3-Abel Tasman had excuse when second to top pick.
4- Farrell won four straight against weaker.


1-McCraken should benefit from return and trained smartly since; 3-for-3 at Churchill.
2-Gunnevera had an insurmountable task in last and will provide value here.
3-Always Dreaming has been too eager training this week; tough if not overly keen Saturday.
4- Classic Empire has not been able to duplicate top freshman effort as a sophomore.



1-Paradise Woods
– Mandella Charge exploded in G1
2-Farrell – Versatile multiple stakes winner on a roll
3-Salty – Overcomes obstacles
4-Miss Sky Warrior – Distance suits streaking filly


1-Hence - Toyed with strong field for Asmussen
2-Classic Empire – Juv champ edged same horse as #1
3-Irap – O’Neil magic prevailed over strong opposition
4-Irish War Cry – Motion engineered 2 powerful preps



1-Abel Tasman-Second-time Baffert/Smith; race shape dictates
2-Farrell-Stalking style, speedy, forward upside and loves the surface
3-Lockdown-Badly needed latest; Bill Mott pointing; huge work at CD
4-Salty-Post a killer but helps price; forward lines and could be special filly


See Feature Race Analysis on Friday

Written by John Pricci

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