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, November 17, 2016

Going for the Jackpot

Today's Analysis of the G3 Delta Jackpot via Promotional Arrangement. For a handicapping look-in at the other three races forming the guaranteed Pick 4, click on

Delta Downs Race 7: Grade 3 DELTA JACKPOT 2YO 1-1/16 MILES

The Delta Jackpot typically is wide open and, despite the fact some are more accomplished than others, this year’s renewal is no exception. The trip will prove key with talent spread throughout the large field with three major contenders

6-GUNNEVERA (5-2): After winning G2 Saratoga Special at 6-1/2F, pointed toward G1 Breeders’ Futurity at KEE, his two-turn debut, and made solid, very wide turn-rally that brought him within hailing distance of leaders before understandably tiring. Exits that key event freshened and pointed here. Working bullets at GPW base and reunites with Spa partner Javier.

4-OUR STORMIN NORMAN (8-1): After good second in CD debut sprinting, he went two turns in three subsequent starts, all on turf. That worthwhile education resulted in a comprehensive maiden win after adding blinkers for 7F return to dirt at KEE. Sold for three times sire Blame’s average, he owns enough pedigree and Julien to take this; intrigues at early line odds.

8-HOT SEAN (7-2):
Bullet Bob has a player here, a recent SA allowance winner at a two-turn mile following a maiden sprint score. Selling for $550K, five times Flatter’s
average offspring, all sibs have won, including two stakes. Strong recent works and regular partner Padroza along for the ride; obvious live shipper.

2-LINE JUDGE (6-1): Seeking his fourth straight and second around two turns, owns important win over the track, taking the Jean Lafitte, a traditional prep for this. Three of four sibs have won at 2 and all are stakes winners. Will benefit from his last and added sixteenth suits long-winded bottom-side of pedigree.

7-BALANDEEN (10-1):
Following his maiden score at DMR, he shipped into CD to break maiden then stretched out in one-turn mile and finished good second to top prospect McCraken, one of the expected favorites for next week’s G2 Jockey Club at CD. Hartman and Hill a productive hookup.

: Youngster has improved since adding distance, routine for Casse-trained youngsters. Beat recent winner Just Move On following a long drive, benefitting from soft, albeit pressured, fractions. Should also be among the Jockey Club favorites next weekend and Geroux takes the return call.

1-PAT ON THE BACK (15-1):
Talented New York bred won one-turn one-mile Sleepy Hollow over sealed slop at Belmont last out now attempts to win his fourth career race in six starts. Tactical speed, pole, and switch to Albarado all augur well for price shot exotics

See Saturday's Feature Race Analysis for On-the-Record Selections

Written by John Pricci

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Weekend Warrior Analysis for November 12

Today's Weekend Warrior Analysis Courtesy of http://www.123BET.COM


Grade 3 RED SMITH HANDICAP 3 & UP 1-3/8 Miles TURF

A dozen runners were entered overnight but it wasn’t long before it became apparent the marathon would boil down to three prime contenders trained by three grass masters.

Chad Brown saddles early line favorite 8-Wake Forest (8-5), short odds by virtue of the fact he exits five straight Grade 1s—yes, this is much easier—and he’s 1-for-1 at the trip. While he might not be course or distance compromised, a slow pace could make it difficult. However, Javier’s good at adapting to that kind of thing…

Two with upset potential are 7-Messi (5-1) and 11-Danish Dynaformer (5-1).

Messi is on a bounce-rebound pattern, off a lowly rated effort, however—and is laudably versatile; racing on the pace or from off of it. Reuniting with winning rider Edgar Prado, Graham Motion is profitable in graded stakes. Recent works at Fair Hill base very sharp.

Four-year-old Danish Dynaformer, developing nicely for Roger Attfield, has been up against it lately vs. Grade 1 rivals in last two. He does own a win at this level going 12 furlongs so distance a non-issue here. Anytime this barn reaches out for Johnny in New York, you can wager the horse is live.

Most Probable Winner: Wake Forest
Value Players: Danish Dynaformer and Messi

Grade 3 DISCOVERY STAKES Three Year Olds 1-1/8 Miles

Contrarily, this event is a lot deeper than the Red Smith as a half dozen of the 11 entered have a good chance to take this:

1-Adulator (7-2)
will get tested for class here, never having run in a named race. But he’s won or placed in his last four starts vs. older, has tactical speed, Johnny and the pole for Jimmy Jerkens.
3-Gift Box (3-1) when last seen was a good, wide-rally fourth in Arrogate’s track record Travers and previously was second to subsequent Pa Derby winning Connect in the Curlin, coming off a May layup. Regular rider Castellano returns on gray colt who was third in his only Big A prior at 2.
4-Sticksstatelydude (6-1) has two Pricci Energy Ratings that would win this, including a half-length defeat in the Oklahoma Derby last out. Back to Kiaran McLaughlin here following steady stream of CD works; regular partner Joel Rosario takes a return call. Highly likely to be prominent throughout.
5-Governor Malibu (5-1) was a bit disappointed over a wet surface he likes when second in the Empire Classic behind an extremely hard hitting older rival. Despite four placings at the distance, he loves the trip based on performance figures. Rosario stays with ‘Statelydude’ but Joe Bravo wins many races for Clement. Broke maiden by 6 going a mile on this track at 2.
6-Hot Seat (10-1) will be severely tested here after going 2-for-2 at Parx but figures are top notch, Jason Servis, 27% with repeaters, is profitable 30% with shippers. Major talent Antonio Gallardo has taken Big Apple by storm.
7-My Man Sam (8-1) was beaten less than 5 lengths behind Connect in Pa Derby after breaking from post 8 and trailing 12th of 12 virtually throughout. Loves this trip and reunites with Irad, who gets along very well with late-running sophomore.
11-Sunny Ridge (20-1) was a good third in Exaggerator’s Haskell then was eliminated by extremely-wide trip in the Pa Derby. Bottom of super-exotics wakeup possibility.

Most Probable:
Governor Malibu
Value Play: My Man Sam

See Saturday's Feature Race Analysis for on-the-record selections

Written by John Pricci

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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Tote Busters: Playing the Red Board

LAS VEGAS, November 8, 2016—I usually start with bad news first but not this time; there really wasn’t any. I won the Beholder photo, the Queen’s Trust photo, Arrogate got up—of all things—so what’s to complain about?

Any bad fortune I experienced at Breeders’ Cup 33 had to do with wagering decisions—and that’s always on the horseplayer, if he’s being honest with himself. But you don’t have to take my word for things…

Following are a few testimonials we received via personal email, or at HRI, or on social media. Names have been truncated to shield the identity of the parties wishing to protect their privacy:

“John, thank you for your work and time on Breeders Cup races. I found your analysis interesting and informative and conclude that the price was of good value. Your web page was easy to navigate with good appearance and once payment made, the product was delivered. Now, do I want more? Sure… Should you ever put together a one day seminar on how to construct wagering tickets, sign me up…” Jim G: Mon, Nov 7, 2016 11:30 am

“Hi John, The information is very helpful in gaining some history and most recent information available. I think you have a grand slam. I' m pleased…Thanks for your extra effort. It's exciting…!” Frank C. Albany, 12203 Fri, Nov 4, 2016 7:13 am

“John, A wonderful well thought out report. Certainly fair value to me and I am a small [cq] (bet $400.00 total) this BC. I feel even $50.00 would be fair, again even for a small guy like me.” Lee @yahoo Nov 3, 2016 6:00 pm

And finally ‘Mc Duffy,’ who wrote an unsolicited [his word] play-by-betting-play personal account of his Breeders’ Cup Saturday. His comments were written in HRI’s comments section below Sunday’s On-The-Line column.

Here were Tote Busters© comments as they appeared for each Breeders’ Cup winner with a brief explanation of how Star Ratings break down: 4-Stars being “A+” prime contenders; 3-Stars, also “A” contenders; 2-Stars are “B” money-contenders; 1-Star “C”, exotics only, and 0-Stars, no-hopers. For more detail, see Tote Busters© Legend at


Juvenile Turf: “13--OSCAR PERFORMANCE ***4-1: [PER: 84 on 8/20] [TGT: 5.25 on 10/1] Exciting U.S. grass prospect extremely impressive winning both starts, a rapidly run 10-length maiden breaker on firm Spa turf before showing class and versatility taking G3 Pilgrim on yielding Belmont ground. Brian Lynch profitable in graded stakes and is 21% efficient with repeaters. Excellent blowout, will love firm footing, but must break sharply from #13.”
$2 Win: $15.20
$2 Exacta: 138.80 (runnerup was also 3-star rated; no 4-star horses in Juv Turf)

Dirt Mile: 8-TAMARKUZ ***8-1: [PER: 102 on 8/27] [TGT: minus 1.5 on 10/8] Has won half of his eight starts at the trip and was a fast-closing second behind divisional leader A. P. Indian in Spa’s highly rated G1 Forego when fresh. Followed that with a game placing chasing Anchor Down’s relaxed pace in G2 Kelso Mile. Kiaran McLaughlin profitable 27% with LAY-3 runners. Only lacking in surface experience.
Win: $25.80
Exacta: 100.40 (runner-up 3-star rated [two *** listed] (4-Star: Dortmund – ran out)

Juvenile Fillies Turf: “3-NEW MONEY HONEY ***10-1:
[PER: 81 on 10/1] [TGT: 6.5 on 10/1] Validated placing to La Coronel on debut returning with powerful, late run score in G3 Miss Grillo, breaking maiden in that event. PER jumped up big-time with one under her girth. She’s been two turns twice for Chad Brown and, given her pedigree, is sure to continue development; good value on early line with Castellano.”
Win: $15.80 (there were five 3-star contenders listed) [No ****]

Distaff: “8-BEHOLDER ****5-2: [PER: 95.5 on 10/1] [TGT: minus 3.25 on 8/22/15] It may appear defending older mare champion has lost a step, beaten thrice in succession, but owns PERs and recent TGT that belie this assumption. Gary Stevens has said his mare’s best go is with a target, and that’s the scenario he’s likely will get: The challenge is its highly probable he’ll be stalking Songbird, who gets three pounds her elders. Now if another rival were to keep Songbird honest, could be looking at a perfect stalking trip here.”
Win: $8.60
Exacta: $25.20 (Songbird only other ****)


Turf: “12-HIGHLAND REEL ****3-1: [PER: NA] [TGT: 0.75 on 10/2] Highly strung, multiple Group 1 owner of five exacta finishes including two victories, he has improved every year for Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore crowd and is peaking at 4. Arc winners have not fared well in this event but runners-up have; he was a laudable third despite washing out very badly pre-race. Pointed here because of promise of firm ground.”
Win: $9.60
Exacta: $28.80 (Flintshire only other ****)

F & M Sprint: 12-FINEST CITY ***12-1: [PER: 98 on 4/23] [TGT: 2.5 on 4/23] Not quite as fast as top contenders here but has license to improve in this spot. New trainer with two starts at the meet is 1-for-1 going turf to dirt, the tack taken here, and is laudably versatile just missing with front-running try in G2 Santa Monica and G2 Great Lady M with last run rally from sixth of seven. Outside draw and first-time Mike Smith augur well for potential price shot performer.”
Win: $19.40
Exacta: $216.40 (Wavell Avenue **) [By the Moon & Carina Mia were **** -- both ran out]

Mile: “5-TOURIST 15-1**** [PER: 94 on 8/20] [TGT: minus 0.75 on 6/4] Chased Midnight Storm home when a game second in the Shoemaker Mile here this summer and was forced to chase throughout the slow-paced Shadwell Mile from a wide post and after encountering trouble on first turn. He reached even terms in there approaching midstretch but tired from his early exertions late. Generally has been at his best with this type of spacing and Mott trainee owns worthy (10) 4-1-3 slate at a mile. Expecting better trip.”
Win: $26.80 [Limato **** -- ran out]
Exacta: $105.20 (Tepin ***)

Classic: “10-ARROGATE ****5-2: [PER: 126 on 8/27] [TGT: minus 4.75] After cakewalking through a couple of Horse-to-Watch laughers at Santa Anita and Del Mar, Baffert sophomore shipped to Saratoga and crushed the Travers by 13 lengths in 1:59 1/5, the fastest 10 furlongs in Spa history. Impossible to think he won’t regress yet he continues to train extremely impressively for the biggest test of his young life. A large, well balanced colt with a stride to match, he figures to be tracked intently by either California Chrome, Malatonin, or both. They may win that battle but lose the war. Trainer attempts unprecedented third straight Classic victory, this one a home game. Fascinating puzzle.”
Win: $5.40
Exacta: $10.00 (California Chrome only other ****)

Qualify the results as you wish. We were very pleased as it was a successful day personally as well. [TJ will vouch, if necessary].

While there were no negative responses or suggestions—except for we want more races—the reception we received was underwhelming, understandable since HRI notwithstanding, there were a grand total of three days social media promotion.

I learned two things from this first commercial venture; the price was too low and the workload too high.

We will not raise the takeout—except for future special events such as Breeders’ Cup; Oaks-Derby weekend, etc.—but we are considering the idea of monthly or meet-long subscriptions, especially for meets such as Keeneland and Saratoga.

Does that notion have any appeal? Feedback would be very helpful.

What we are working on between now and December 3, the start of Gulfstream’s championship meet, is a template where I can plug in personal, exclusive data so that all pertinent information is readily available in a simple format—stars rule!.

Aside from providing value-added information for personal handicapping while saving the player time and effort, Tote Busters© will serve as a stand-alone product, no handicapping necessary.

Of course, my compensation has to be somewhat commensurate with the workload or we’ll save ourselves a lot of time and a lot more effort.

There’s other excellent data out there, of course, but most of it much more expensive and none with our name on it. My compensation has to be commensurate with the workload or we’ll just cut the whole thing loose.

We have a four-decade track-record as a public handicapper, and more recently verifiable success with profitable daily Feature Race Analysis at HRI since 2007.

So, there it is: We research; you decide.

Written by John Pricci

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