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 17, 2018

HRI Preakness Consensus Highly Justififed

Justified, the 1-2 early line favorite for the middle leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, has the look of the 1927 Yankees.

The advance odds made Bob Baffert wince at yesterday's post draw presser, the Hall of Famer stating that it surely applies a lot of added pressure.

What Baffert was expecting I not sure because no one can have it both ways.

You cannot confide to your closest associates that the colt is the best he's ever trained, then lower expectations, especially after a favorable post draw.

There are no secrets at the racetrack; who should know that better than a man seeking his seventh win in an American classic.

We wanted to see Derby runner-up Good Magic--his only Derby challenger--back in which he is. But we wanted fast footing this time, which highly likely will not be the prevailing conditions.

Maybe it's a fool's errand for all of them but in horse racing, when it appears on paper that you have one serious rival to beat, you enter and take your chances. Clearly, six brave souls feel that way.

As a gambler, I wanted to beat him, and still do, but in good conscience, logic doesn't support the notion.

Whichever rival decides to test him early likely would be committing race-dynamics suicide. Just is fast and nimble, skips over wet racetracks like an equine Donald Duck, and draws an advantageous post which puts him out in the clear. Again.

By any measure, it looks like Kentucky Derby redux.

Here's what the our staff, and HRI's voice of the people, think:


1. Justify--The best horse gets the type track he loves.
2. Good Magic--The only one with a puncher's chance. Might Chad use the off track as an excuse to scratch?
3. Bravazo--The Coach knows the secrets of the Preakness.
4. Quip--The figure horses were 1-2-3 in the Derby. Looking for a change?


1- Justify should have things his own way here.
2- Good Magic is adapting to quirky Pimlico strip.
3- Quip steps up following two good efforts.
4- Diamond King picks up weight after winning local prep.


1. Justify -- Derby winner one to beat
2. Good Magic -- Brown thinks he has a real shot
3. Lone Sailor -- Trouble in Kentucky, photo in Louisiana
4. Bravazo -- Always be lookin' at Lukas


1. Justify
– Possible lone F and wet track lethal Preakness weapons
2. Good Magic – Thought he handled surface fine; like his gallops
3. Quip – Specifically pointed here and owns explosive TG pattern
4. Lone Sailor – Troubled Derby; inside, switch to Irad, wet, all aid.

Written by John Pricci

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