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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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Speed and Class Prevail on Pegasus Day at Gulfstream

January 26, 2019--At the top of the Hallandale stretch, Pegasus III was all anyone who loves the game could hope for in the World Cup Invitational Stakes; the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner vs. the Dirt Mile winner, about to go stride to stride one last time before being sent home.

But as quickly as the drama was unfolding, it ended. A just crowned champion male handicap runner met his match, and then some, over a speed biased sloppy racetrack as City of Light gave Accelerate more than he could handle.

An uber confident Javier Castellano had a plan that could not have worked any better. He had the Cigar Mile winner in his sights who whole way, stalking comfortably until the right time, mid-far-turn at Gulfstream Park.

By headstretch, Accelerate did just that, trying to cut into the leader’s margin. But Joel Rosario didn’t have enough speed underneath him and City of light had more than enough, leaving a Horse of the Year candidate and 10 other supporting players gasping in his 5-3/4 length, sudden 1:47.71 wake.

The conditions for horse racing in South Florida Saturday were less than ideal for a precious few who found cover and betting windows and television monitors, handicappers throwing last night’s figures out the door, searching the form for any horse with tactical speed and a fondness for wet going.

Horses with tactical speed and enough class to kick home to the finish post won every race run over a sealed, sloppy track inundated by rain storms that appeared more appropriate for summer’s humid hotness than a balmy winter championship season.

Three graded grass stakes remained on the turf and they were formfully won the way most grass races are won in South Florida or anywhere else on the planet, by horses with the best late kick or the best ground-saving trip.

The latter, Zulu Alpha’s, saved ground and took the slippery 12-furlong G3 McKnight, book-ended by a pair of late ralliers; Si Que Es Buena in the G3 La Prevoyante and Bricks and Mortar, who kicked home strongly to win the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational Turf.

Coming Sunday: A Deeper Dive into a Pegasus Day notebook

Written by John Pricci

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