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
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

Make Lesser Races, and Their Coverage, Super

I do not know European racing writer Daniel Ross. But I’m in his debt, and that of online publication Thoroughbred Racing Commentary, for making me aware that the “super trainer” is not just an American phenomenon.

I won’t get into the weeds on this. Find his recent three-part series to understand the conclusions he draws, based on statistics provided by the British Horseracing Authority and anecdotal evidence gleaned from interviews with horsemen.

The majority seems to agree that the phenomenon is attributable to two factors—realities of life that are prevalent today in these United States; inequitable distribution of wealth and the cumulative effects of fake racing news. Consider:

In an effort to market the sport and business of thoroughbred racing, tracks have listened to the public by looking at the bottom lines and concluding what should be glaringly obvious to all stakeholders: Big events produce big handle.

The other reality is that the same handful of super trainers and the wealthy syndicates they train for attract the most coverage because they are too big to ignore and too big to fail so that the future also becomes prologue.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (2)
Prep-eration Done, Zero Minus Three Weeks

Serious horseplayers are chomping at the bit and at least 85 “Win-and-In” all-expenses-paid horse owners are eagerly anticipating the first weekend of November.

We’ve said it before, in both a sporting and gambling sense, that as an event the Breeders’ Cup never fails to fire. One can argue that posit but the end result figures prohibitively to be more of the same.

There has been some media and social hand-wringing over the lack of star power during this year’s run-up so it was welcoming news when John Gosden announced that the great Enable would be coming stateside for the Turf.

So whether bet on or lay the Turf favorite, this event and the competitively diverse Distaff are certain to lend stature to Saturday’s lynchpin Classic program.

And we love the new concept of “Future Stars Friday,” for two reasons:


Written by John Pricci | Comments (30)

Some Super and Not So Super Preps

Some great drama and some great and some not so great performances as Supe Prep Weekend II played out on Saturday.

As this is written, it’s approximately one hour to first post at Longchamp then, after a couple of more Grade 1s stateside, we’ll have some idea who the major players will be four weekends from now.

A short take on the high and low lights that transpired in the following major fall events, broken down by region.

And none of this would have been possible had God not invented the DVR. No major in depth revelations, but here are some good places to start when compiling your own analysis.



Written by John Pricci | Comments (13)
After Super Saturday, Classic Questions Remain

With the exception of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, I’m in the camp that believes Grade 1 races are championship caliber events that stand on their own, not just mere preps.

But this is the business that has chosen us and we grudgingly accept the way today’s game is played. Like many Americans in this age of lawlessness, what choice do we have? Congressional seats aren’t the only things that could change in November.

The last Saturday in September and first weekend of October are intended to whet our appetites for championship defining events to come. In the handicap division, the table was supposed to set up the big East Meets West confrontation, but some of the air was pinpricked out of the balloon we expected.

Instead we are left with the notion of what might have been instead of what was originally believed. Personally, I woke up wondering: Whose idea was it to replace Irad Ortiz Jr. with a 10-pound bug boy?

Do I know what it’s like to be on the back of a Thoroughbred when most of the chips have been pushed in the center of the table? Of course not. And I know when you’re on the best horse, you bring the race to the competition.

But Saturday bore witness to a form of equine hara-kiri committed at the big racetrack on Long Island. What were you thinking, rider?

"The track was fast and I had to go harder than usual because Mendelssohn (No. 3) was very quick out of there and I needed to make the lead. I had to use a lot to make the lead. We just went a little fast,” Ortiz Jr. told the NYRA press staff post-race.

Indeed, the damp track was fast. Very fast running times were the rule of the day and the surface slanted toward speed—not overwhelmingly so, but enough. But the thing is that Diversity proved--albeit in restricted company-- he is not a need-the-lead type.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (24)

‘Best horse’ at BC might not be best bet


Arc winner Enable, who is headed toward the Turf, will be the best horse at the Breeders Cup, Nov. 2-3, according to British commentator Nick Luck. She certainly has the credentials as a back-to-back winner of Europe's most prestigious race. But seven previous winners of the Arc, who attempted this double looked pretty potent, too, and none got their picture taken.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)
In racing, the weaker sex is a myth

Fillies are among the favorites for Sunday's Arc. In Europe, this is not even worth a mention. Fillies and mares compete against and beat males all the time. It doesn't happen in the U.S. because there is usually an important stakes limited to females proximate to major open stakes. The Kentucky Oaks and Derby are prime examples. Mark Casse, who saddled Wonder Gadot to beat the boys in the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, says maybe this should be rethought.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (34)

The Cost of Technology or Lack Thereof

Once our data rich sport had a monopoly on legal betting but now sports betting is legal and is in direct competition with horse racing. The industry has a challenge on its hands: Call it the technological divide.

Horseracing is behind the curve because for years its leaders feared attaching any electronic device to a horse. That unrealistic fear has now abated, replaced by concerns that sports betting will take wagering dollars away from racing for distribution to other sports.

Horseracing lags behind the major sports leagues in the fields of data, tracking and analytics. Equibase, the data collection and dissemination arm of The Jockey Club that previously subsidized the installation of Trakus at North American racetracks is now working on a second generation tracking system to replace it.

Consider, however, that Trakus, a first generation tracking technology, was castoff long ago by the National Hockey League.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (35)
Racing on Television Needs a New Perspective

When viewing races on television, the New York Racing Association is the industry leader in terms of production and forward thinking technologies.

Indeed, the NYRA produces more racing programming nationally than the rest of the industry combined. It also leads in streaming its races via NYRANow, NYRABets and on its website, NYRA.com.

Despite NYRA’s lead in this area, no one representing them gave a presentation at the 66th annual Jockey Club Round Table during the recently concluded race meet.

The McKinsey report, commissioned by The Jockey Club, was the focal point of the Round Table. McKinsey & Company is a global business management consultant specializing in the business of sports.

And when that report was presented, the stewards of the sport only heard words that applied to one medium: Television. And not only did they fail to get input from an organization does it best but apparently is only learning that television in its present state is not the answer going forward.

Jockey Club Chairman Stuart Janney was quick to pick up on the fact that only 24 racetracks supply a high definition signal to TVG--but McKinsey did not state that TVG is mostly carried on standard definition cable channels.

The demographics that racing covets does not watch conventionally broadcast TV. They sometimes watch on a TV, but not the major networks. The closest they get to that is ESPN, which broadcasts the X-Games but once upon a time did actually show horseracing.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (40)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
THREE SUPPLEMENT TO BREEDERS CROWN

$6 MILLION BREEDERS CROWN EVENTS AT DOWNS AT MOHEGAN SUN POCONO


Cranbury, NJ --- With many divisions still in flux as to year-end honors, the connections of three of the top pacers in their respective groups each supplemented to their Breeder Crown event.

The Breeders…


Oct 15 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Breeders Crown eliminations for all 2-year-old divisions

Cranbury, NJ --- Warrawee Ubeaut, a filly who earlier this month became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in harness racing history, and divisional money-leaders Stag Party, The Ice Dutchess, Green Manalishi S, and Tall Drink Hanover were among the 71 freshmen entered Monday for the Breeders Crown…


Oct 15 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
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

HALLANDALE…


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, |
ARCI TO CALL FOR REGULATION OF BREEDING AND SALES.

DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING AND EQUINE WELFARE CONCERNS PROMPT ARCI TO CALL FOR REGULATION OF BREEDING AND SALES.

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, |
SANTA ANITA STABLE NOTES - OCTOBER 28, 2017

AUTUMN MISS MILE SUITABLE FOR MISS SOUTHERN MISS
• COLLECTED AND STELLAR WIND HEADLINE BC BREEZERS
• RACING REMEMBERS BELOVED BEVERLY J. LEWIS
• CARMA HOSTS AFTERCARE AWARENESS DAY ON SUNDAY

MISS SOUTHERN MISS RETURNS TO MILE IN AUTUMN MISS


Oct 29 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |