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John Pricci

HorseRaceInsider.com 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 MSNBC.com, 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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Saturday, October 26, 2013


Keeneland, I’m Just Not That Into You…I Think


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, October 26, 2013—I have this love-hate relationship with Keeneland, which concluded an extremely successful fall session on Saturday. It’s kind of like some liaison: Is it really love, or is it more loving the idea of being in love?

I made a few dollars at the stand yet I gave it up the last two weeks. The simulcast hosts batted about .200 or less for the meet, no knock at all. I could not have done any better.

The results are random events, even the turf races. As for Keeneland Polytrack, the less said about it, the better. I like chaos as much as the next value shopper. But it’s not infrequent when I can’t see the forest after all the trees have been cut down.

The only result that saved the meeting was hitting a couple of Dime Supers in last weekend’s Raven Run. I took three horses in the first two slots and three others to fill out the play underneath.

Two of the three filled the first two positions at inflated odds, especially the winner, who drew into the race off the also-eligibles, an occurrence that normally produces inflated payoffs.

Two of the three “money” horses filled out the Super, getting lucky with the fourth finisher who wound up on the correct side of a very tight photo. How often does that happen? The Super returned $605 for a dime.

Like the world would have ended if it paid $595?

The score came at the end of a day when I could get close. I learned that I am not alone in this. I personally do not know anyone who beat the meet, although I’m sure some bettors scored out, just not my friends or acquaintances.

But they sure love their racing in Lexington. There were 32,000 in attendance on Raven Run Saturday and despite unseasonably cool weather, 19,000 bid adieu to the Thoroughbreds until next spring.

“Polycapping” Keeneland is damn hard, and I'm certain that 2014 will be painful, But next April can't come fast enough. Go figure.


SHAMEFUL PLUG

Having trouble beating the races? Do the Breeders’ Cup pre-entries have you down? Have no fear; we’re here to help, hopefully. But it will cost you.

We’re calling it HRI’s Breeders’ Cup SCORECard and we’re selling it at BRISnet.com beginning Wednesday. It will cost $15 for Saturday’s nine races or $25 for both days.

For those who might have been familiar with the Equiform Betting Guide, a joint venture between me and my good friend, the late Cary Fotias, the format is the same.

For those who don’t, it is a listing of bettable horses in all races broken down into three categories: value plays, bettable favorites, and exotic tote-busters. It's pretty cut and dry. No long, justification for the horses. Breeders' Cup is all about the betting. Horseplayers know these animals inside and out, Europeans notwithstanding, of course.

Included with each horse is a betting price line where win wagers are recommended when the odds are two price levels above the early odds.

To make a straight play on a 5-1 quote, you would need 7-1. If the odds are even money, you would require 7-5 before betting to win.

Absent those parameters, there will be enough live horses to attack the exotic and super-exotic pools. With rare exceptions, there are never more than two value horses, or two favorites, listed for any one race,

There can be as many as three or four exotic tote-busters to fill out the play, however. There will be brief betting summary below each race providing an overview as to the race's bet-ability

In the last two years, I can recall Cary and me hitting two four-figure multiples, and one returning five figures--although we did not recommend playing it for a full $2. You’ll have to trust me on this--or not.

Anyway, the aim is to help you manage your money while optimizing your chances to make a score; not everyone can afford to throw money at the Breeders’ Cup races.

Besides, there’s not enough money on the planet to cover all these rich opportunities. We have been laying a foundation for the past two days. Sunday will be day three.

On Monday, the races will be drawn and we’ll have nearly two full days to work the data with post positions, recent workouts, backstretch chatter, Euro updates etc., etc.

We’ll be blogging live during the day with possible adjustments as events unfold and as odds-fluctuation patterns emerge; which horses are hot, which contenders are not bet correctly.

Written by John Pricci

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