HRI Featured Writers
HRI Featured Writers

Pricci’s Free Race Analysis

Whenever his daily work schedule permits, HorseRaceInsider executive editor John Pricci will analyze that day's feature race from a major thoroughbred-racing jurisdiction.

Executive Editor John Pricci
Executive editor John Pricci provides his insights on everything thoroughbred racing. Big horses, big races, politics, it's all here in his " Morning Line " blog and " On the Line " column

Tom Jicha
Tom has been a sports writer, columnist, and an editor at various times throughout a journalistic career that spans more than four decades. His passionate writing and reporting on thoroughbred racing can now be read in his "Ante Post" blog.

Mark Berner
Mark has been a groom, clocker, handicapper, sportswriter, columnist and editor at various times throughout a career that has spanned more than three decades. His reporting and opinions on Thoroughbred racing can now be read on HRI in his "Inside New York" blog

Indulto's "Players Up" blog. Taking his nickname from the King Ranch color-bearer of the 1960s, Indulto now devotes his time to advocate for the recreational player and hobbyist, but prefers lower takeout rates for all rather than subsidized rebates for the few.

Robert Earle
Rob Earle is a lifelong horseman, IT whizzkid & racing fanatic, and will be bringing you some industry thoughts in his "Easy as 123Bet" blog.

John Parisella
John Parisella has enjoyed a legendary career as a "horseman's horseman." At last count, he won 27 races with 27 different horses at 27 different tracks. His observations will appear bi-weekly, Mondays and Fridays in his "Parisella At the Races" blog.

Marc Lawrence - On Sports
Marc Lawrence will be contributing his sports handicapping insights and providing college and NFL Best Bets in his " Playbook" blog.

Latest Columns and Blogs

Split Pegasus wiser than keeping ‘world’s richest race’ boast

The Pegasus is no longer the world's richest race. The purse for the Jan. 26 renewal has been cut to $9 million. But the other $7 million has been allocated to a companion turf race. It's a prudent move, especially since horsemen's resistance dictated that there was no way the Pegasus would have been funded at its previous level. Double the number of world class races might make the day an even more attractive event for fans. Insane jackpot bets will reach their nadir that day. Gulfstream will offer a bet challenging fans to pick the exact finish, 1 through 12, of each of those races. It's only a 480 million to one shot. A companion bet will ask bettors to pick the exact order of finish in both races. The odds against that--480,000,000 times 480,000,000--would be laughable if The Stronach Group didn't plan to go ahead with it.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (13)
Monmouth goes from up to down after sports betting arrives

Early indications are that the dollars spent on sports betting at Monmouth Park probably came out of money that might have been bet on horses. Monmouth was up at the halfway point of its meeting but wound up on the downside of the ledger after sports betting took hold. Doing nothing as Jorge Navarro won with almost half his starters, an absurd ratio for even Hall of Famers, also might have been a turnoff to bettors.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (50)

Top College & Pro Upsets, Weekend of SEP 22

Marshall over NC State by 6

The 2-0 Wolfpack were another victim of Hurricane Florence’s postponement roll call last week, not getting the opportunity to square off with highly-ranked West Virginia at Raleigh. Now State makes its first road trip of the season before returning home again for a pair of ACC contests. In this case, though, that extra week of
rest may not pay off: 2-0 away teams in Game Three with a week of rest are 32-49 ATS, including 14-28 ATS in non-conference games. On the flip side, 2-0 home teams with rest like Marshall (the Herd’s game at South Carolina was also canceled) are a healthy 38-17 SU in Game Three when hosting non-division foes. Doc Holliday’s team backs up those numbers with a defi ant 6-1-2 ATS record in their last nine appearances as non-conference home dogs. Marshall also lays down the law with a 4-0-2 ATS effort of late versus the ACC, not to mention a 10-4 ATS run dating back to last year. Taking on the Herd at Huntington has never been easy; even in 2016’s horrendous 3-9 campaign, seven of their nine losses came on the road. All things considered, we look for Holliday to continue rebuilding the
Marshall mystique as his squad pulls one of the evening’s bigger upsets – fully supported by THE CLINCHER: Rested, undefeated non-conference home dogs are15-6 ATS versus undefeated foes, including 11-1 ATS against opponents playing off an ATS win – winning 7 of the games straight-up.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (2)
Marc Lawrence Best Upsets SEP 15-16

As Arte Johnson used to say while wearing a World War II German soldier’s uniform on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (remember that?), this matchup between the Hurricanes and Rockets looks to be “Verrry interesting.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)

My New Kentucky Home: Up and Downs

Pick an adjective: Phenomenal, Remarkable, Extraordinary, Prodigious, Astounding?

Well, if the topic is horse racing, more specifically Kentucky Downs, why parse words? Just box’em up.

And whether the measure is aesthetics, quality racing (even at the lowest levels), field size, entertainment value or horseplayer friendliness, making another box would be the proper tack.

Business was incredible at the five-day meet that ended Thursday. Since 2013 handle has tripled, from $12.8 million to $36.4 million this year; quintupled from $7.5 million since the 2012 inaugural meet.

And it’s easy to understand why. By traditional standards, this old Dueling Downs meet is unique. All turf all the time, and a European non-symmetrical layout with undulations.

But when a meeting distributes $10.2 million in purses over 50 races, money not only makes the mare run but colts and geldings as well. And lots of them; 552 runners with an average field size of 11.04 entrants.

Given all the above, coupled with the fact that the Horseplayers Association of North America ranks Kentucky Downs first among 63 North American racetracks. It’s blended takeout rates are the lowest on the continent, it’s burgeoning popularity inevitable.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (27)
Horse Racing and Sports, a Shotgun Marriage

For me, the following link, was better late than never. Enjoy and be proud:

Most horseplayers, myself included, clamored for legalized sports betting,
thinking it would be a gateway for sports bettors to become horseplayers. With respect to that conception, it’s WAY too early to tell.

However, now that it’s here, its reception and promise for the future is being questioned in every precinct, from state houses to sports fans to sports bettors and, ultimately, horseplayers and the racing industry itself

A recent online poll indicates that the sentiment for sports betting being beneficial to racing hovered at around 60-40 in favor of historical racing over betting on sports. As of yesterday, that opinion has flopped the other way.

More states are looking into the feasibility of installing legalized sports betting, the Commonwealth of Kentucky for one. The bluegrass state is doing so carefully in the best interests of the racing and breeding, as it should.

Representative Damon Thayer, who I met back in the day when he was a racing industry intern, measured his words carefully at the recently concluded Sports Betting Symposium at Keeneland. He remains as loyal to racing as ever, perhaps to a fault.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (9)

Did Kentucky Downs Stewards Get It Right?

Among the favorite causes of consternation that horseplayers express here with regularity is the inconsistency by which fouls are adjudicated.

The most recent example of how various teams of stewards interpret events differently in diverse states was on display yesterday concerning a race at one of America’s favorite new betting venues, Kentucky Downs.

The non-disqualification of Fooch from Saturday’s second race at this popular boutique session was not particularly egregious--even though personally I might have taken Fooch down and placed him third.

The incident was another one of those bang-bang plays that occur in the shadow of the finish line which by definition makes it a tough call, but it does get to the principle of what exactly makes a foul a punishable offense.

Should a foul be considered a foul under any reasonable circumstances? Or should inquiries/objections be decided on whether or not stewards believe an incident, even one perceived as minor, adversely affected the result.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)
Can a Triple Crown Winner Actually Lose Horse of the Year Status?

When it was recently suggested in the comment section at HRI that Accelerate--the handicap division star that sits atop the NTRA National Poll—had a chance to become 2018 Horse of the Year, I smiled.

…And I could hear TJ harrumphing at the notion from Jensen Beach to Pahrump and back again.

A Horse of the Year other than a Triple Crown winner, an undefeated one at that, the only other since Seattle Slew and the conqueror of the Shadow of Apollo. As McEnroe one famously said: “You cannot be serious.”

But you know what?

Whether Accelerate runs the table through Breeders Cup or not, the balance of Catholic Boy’s 2018 campaign could give—could being the operative word—this voter Horse of the Year pause.

Yes, I know, it’s sacrilegious, and this is strictly conjecture because the Catholic Boy camp has no apparent Horse of the Year aspirations. But they might want to give one scenario some thought.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (25)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Mandatory 20-cent Rainbow 6 Payout Set for Saturday

Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Swells to $898,654
Mandatory Payouts Also Set for Late Pick 5, Last Super Hi-5
Princess Rooney (G2), Smile (G3) Top Summit of Speed Card

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s Summit of Speed program, headlined by the $250,000 Princess…

Jun 30 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Curlin’s Approval, X Y Jet Top June 30 Summit of Speed Nominations

Curlin’s Approval to Defend Title in $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2)
Alter Homebred among 23 Noms for ‘Win and You’re In’ Event
X Y Jet Tops List of 16 Noms for $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3)
Multiple Grade 1-Placed Gelding Seeks 6th Straight at Gulfstream


Jun 20 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Madame Uno Seeks Rebound in Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Punch

Jockey, Trainer, Owner Races Heats Up

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Her three-race win streak halted abruptly last time out, Madame Uno will seek to rebound in Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Punch at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old daughter of First Dude is scheduled…

Jun 14 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Justify vs. nine in Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes

It's Triple Crown hopeful Justify vs. nine in Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner draws post 1, is 4-5 to win Saturday's "Test of the Champion"

By Jenny Kellner

ELMONT, N. Y. - Can he do…

Jun 6 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, |
Agreement Represents Giant Step Forward in Florida Racing

Florida Sire Stakes Highlights Innovative $2.5 Million Deal

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – P.J. Campo calls the recently-signed agreement between Gulfstream Park, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) and Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective…

Dec 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Watershed looking to end year on high note in Queens County

Green Gratto faces talented field in $100,000 Gravesend

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Godolphin Racing's Watershed will headline a competitive field of nine in the $125,000 Queens County for 3-year-olds and up, one of two stakes races on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack alongside the $100,000…

Dec 22 | Categories: Aqueduct, |


Citing the widespread use of drugs on yearlings and two years olds that may result in improper bone development and the recent use of horse auctions to launder money for the…

Dec 14 | Categories: Horse Racing, |
Forever Unbridled Holds Off Abel Tasman To Win Longines Distaff

DEL MAR, Calif. (Nov. 3, 2017) – Charles Fipke’s homebred Forever Unbridled ($9.40) swept to the lead coming off the far turn and then held off a late bid from Abel Tasman by a half-length to win the 34th running of the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) for fillies and mares…

Nov 4 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |
Rainbow 6 Hit at Gulfstream West for $177,500

Sunday’s Late Pick 5 Carryover $19,900

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Gulfstream Park West’s Rainbow 6 was hit Saturday afternoon for $177,521.

The 20-cent wager had not been hit for 19 consecutive programs before Geh Schnell ($11.20), one of three live tickets in…

Oct 29 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |



Oct 29 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017)
– Cooler temperatures and the leaves changing colors signify the return of live horse racing to the Louisville area as Churchill Downs, the historic home of the Kentucky Derby, readies to open its 128th Fall Meet on Sunday,…

Oct 28 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Reaches $113,131 for Thursday

Tapit Filly My Favorite Gift Impressive Debut Winner
Jockey Jaramillo Enjoys Four-Win Afternoon

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 17th consecutive program Wednesday, growing the carryover jackpot to $113,131.66 for Thursday’s eight-race program.

Oct 26 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |