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.

Most recent entries

Monthly Archives


Friday, April 14, 2017

Last Stops on Triple Crown Road Saturday

The G3 Lexington Stakes portion of Tote Busters Down n' Dirty Pick 4 on Saturday's program at Keeneland courtesy of


1 - *RESILIENCY (6-1) PER: 83
Up to added distance perfectly, stoutly bred, Florent re-rides, pole, purposeful works since latest, big test here

Class relief G2 LA Derby, mini-turnback lends conditioning, 2-for-2 at trip, 3-for-5 since Lasix, returns w/ short rest

4 – ****NO DOZING (4-1) PER: 87
Graded placed, class relief, surprise early speed latest, switch to Rosario, 5F B 4th fastest 33 peers week of 4-10, no excuses today

5 – ***TIME TO TRAVEL (4-1) PER: 91 (7F)
Impressive maiden sprint win at GP Apr. 1, kin to stakes winner, bred for added trip, Edgar sticks, fastest figure LR

10 – ****WEST COAST (3-1) PER: 87
Personal trip note from 3/12: “At first reluctant to go by entering stretch, greenly, pinned ears and rallied, striding out @ finish, out-well, purposefully asked to gallop out as if training race…” BB shooting bullets

See Saturday's Feature Race Analysis for on-the-record selections, including the Arkansas Derby


PRICCI ENERGY RATINGS (PER): Measures the relationship between pace energy or velocity expended and final measure of that factor needed to complete the effort, expressed in figures, yielding a final Pricci Rating. Our beta-tests revealed that a 5-point PR spread is a significant edge for the higher rated horse. Horses within two PR points are virtually equal, post time odds determining bettability of each entrant. The greatest PR success has come in higher classes; the MSW, ALW and Stakes levels. An important tool, the PR is an integral part of the total picture. Figure shown is lifetime best given the conditions noted, unless indicated otherwise, not a projection of how fast they will run today.

: The ****Star and ***Star rating methodology goes beyond Pricci Energy Ratings. They are based on all handicapping tenets as spelled out in “Handicapping Variables” section below and intended as a predictive measure.
**** Prime Bets are must-inclusions in any horizontal wager or as vertical wager keys. There never will be more than two in any race, also-eligibles notwithstanding.
*** Strong Contenders are key runners that should be included in chaos or “spread” races or when bettor value in available elsewhere so as to maximize payouts. Therefore, they are to be used in conjunction with Prime Bets, especially in races where only one ****Star-rated horse appears.

NOTE: Star ratings can be upgraded or downgraded one notch based on changing race dynamics and where value--or lack thereof--exists. *Star would indicate in-the-money price shots for vertical exotics.

: ****Potential P4 Single; must use in all sequences. ***Must Use when only ****Star runner appears and, of course, any race lacking a ****Star-rated horse.

: The star-rating method includes examination of time-honored tenets beyond performance figures, including demonstrated class; form-cycle analysis; prevailing race dynamics; running-style suitability to conditions; pedigree suitability; visual trip analysis; inherent jockey ability and trends; inherent trainer ability and trends; race spacing; workout patterns and historical dynamics relative to winning patterns of horses, individuals, or both.

Please remember that this methodology is multi-purposed: It provides a comprehensive picture to aid individual handicappers, or as a stand-alone tool that has produced favorable results since mid-2014 or in our own beta-testing.

The TOTE BUSTERS© Legend for "10-1 or Bettor" and "Making the Grade" is also available online at

Written by John Pricci

Comments (0)


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Major Derby Preps: Down to the Final Four

Today's the day that we will find out a lot of things as we march to Louisville:

The condition of McCraken; the distance aptitude of Practical Joke at Keeneland. In New York, is Mo Town going to reassert himself in more comfortable confines; is Battalion Runner a true two-turn horse?

And out West? Let's just say there's everything to find out; it's all such a blur with Mastery on the sidelines.

We'll have to wait until next week for the final piece of the puzzle, the Arkansas Derby, the 'prep of the decade' thus far. Derby implications again this year? Why not?

An entertaining betting race? My money's on that. Between this weekend and next, all will be revealed.

We have opinions, naturally. See today's Feature Race Analysis...

Written by John Pricci

Comments (0)


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Handicapping Profile of Florida Derby Runners

Saturday's Florida Derby analysis brought to you courtesy of Pricci Energy Ratings and Star-Ability Ratings for each horse will be available by 2 pm Friday, at the latest, at, including a similar analysis for Tote Busters Late Pick 4 at Gulfstream Park

RACE 13: Grade 1 FLORIDA DERBY 3YOs 1-1/8 Miles

1 – STATE OF HONOR (8-1)
Pricci Energy Rating: NA
Blinkers certainly have focused him and comes off excellent efforts at Tampa, a very game third and second in the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby, respectively. Just missed to then-undefeated Sonic Mule at a flat mile here Jan. 7. Likely to leave for position then sit a pocket trip for Julien. Strong contender and value on early line.

Has shown promise at times this winter but hasn’t sealed the deal. Finished well late in the Fountain of Youth without threatening but showed subtle improvement. Inside position likely to help here and another potential trip-sitter and looms super-exotics prospect if early line holds.

Finished second in three of his last four starts; the rub? Two runs were in claiming company and one an optional claiming starter race. Taking up a stall space here.

Only entrant with benefit of 9-furlongs race over the track, improving his two-turn record to 2-for-2. Tampa maiden win a laugher, as was his N1X, slow time owing to fierce crosswinds and cuppy surface. Training monstrously at Palm Beach base and is very nicely drawn. Strong contender has been pointed here from the jump.

Was a stylish maiden winner sprinting then finished one-paced following stumbling beginning in a restricted stakes then tried the Fountain of Youth and was beaten off. Have no idea why he’s back in at this level.

Broke his maiden in NY going two turns, albeit on turf, suffered through wide-throughout trip subsequently and then caught slop in off-turner Jan. 29, finishing up strongly in 5-horse field. Florida Derby is a different animal and this is a potentially useful runner that’s ill-spotted with these.

Following very good maiden breaker over Florida-breds going a flat mile here Jan. 16, he was a good third while chasing Always Dreaming wide throughout that Mar. 4 nine furlongs. Loses Saez to Three Rules but picks up Juarez, in midst of career meet. Superfecta/Hi-5 fodder.

Loves the surface and is coming off an impressive 7-furlong score--entering this off two elongated sprints, old- school style. Has enough pedigree for added distance and some confusion re recent work, which might have been much faster. Romans has twice hit the board with Florida Derby price shots;

Two-for-two locally including two-turn debut, visually impressive in each, and has more than enough pedigree—for a mile and a quarter! But was entered as stable insurance and likely to run in Wood Memorial as Santa Anita Derby has been ruled out. Doubtful stouter expected to scratch, hurting odds on all major contenders.

10 – THREE RULES (8-1)
Very talented Florida-bred was a better-than-appears sixth in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, placed gamely behind top sprint prospect Favorable Outcomes in G2 Swale then held extremely well when third in the Fountain of Youth. Hurt by the draw but if he clears assuming sharp break, first-over horses will find him no easy target.

11 – GUNNEVERA (9-5) PER: NA
His backers need to hope he DOESN’T break sharply so that he simply can fall out of there and drop over to the fence; going to be trailing early in any event. This is a very good colt that can mount a sustained late rally with a turn of foot; not merely a grinder. Up to Castellano to work out a trip from post 10--anticipating the late scratch.

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

Written by John Pricci

Comments (2)


Page 9 of 265 pages « FirstP  <  7 8 9 10 11 >  Last »