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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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Time Is Money

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 26, 2014--Lesson to be learned by all racetracks and something we’ve been suggesting for three years might have some merit.

With no free money left in the pool but an opportunity to get paid if enough money were bet the day after one bettor scored out for $6.6 million, there might have been other things at play here.

Our suggestion was that all tracks go to a 72-hour entry box, something that horsemen generally do not support, citing scratch rules, legal medication withdrawal times in different states, etc., etc.

Past performances for Monday Rainbow were available late Thursday. Now I realize that Gulfstream Park is now on an abbreviated spring/summer schedule and so it’s not as if the track is on a consecutive five-days-per-week schedule.

But handicappers had two things going for them. They had a full 3-1/2 days to work on a very difficult, full-field sequence and they had something to look forward to.

So Monday came and there was no free money to win, yet horseplayers, having done their handicapping homework, wagered over $779,000 on a day when all the big guys, and many “big horses,” were in action.

Give players time to do their homework and they will respond with their dollars. And the fractional wagering provision provided an opportunity to optimize the play by purchasing a greater number of horses to fill the sequence.

It’s in the best interests of all racetracks to go to a 72-hour entry box so as to provide one of the most important commodities to playing customers in the modern era: Time to do the work.

Having done the work and having invested heavily into the Rainbow 6 market doubtlessly helped increase handle in the subsequent 50-Cent Pick 5 and Pick 4 pools, players either optimizing or hedging their Rainbow 6 positions.

Brain surgery this is not. Just give the players the services they need to succeed and hold it on a holiday. Clearly, moving the mandatory payout to a high profile holiday was a good decision.

So is the one calling for a mandatory payout at the end of every month.

Jackpot-less Memorial Day Mandatory Payout No Small Consolation

One day after the largest parimutuel payoff in this history was won by a single player, 48 people won $12,796.04 each, which is highly likely is better for the game.

Monday’s payoff is attainable virtually any day a Pick 6 is offered anywhere. Sunday’s payoff was nearly five months in the making.

The 50-Cent Pick 5 did have a small carryover and that sequence, which also pays simultaneous Pick 4 consolations, returned a generous $2,598.15.

When racing resumes at Gulfstream Friday, the Rainbow 6 will be seeded with $50,000.

Written by John Pricci

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