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

Prepping for Pegasus: Win, Lose or Post-Draw

LOS ANGELES, December 11, 2017—As I perused Santa Anita's recently released stakes schedule for its upcoming 2017-18 winter meet, one significant improvement jumped out at me:

The track will finally offer a handicap division race on opening day -- one of its three top attendance days, along with Santa Anita Handicap and Santa Anita Derby days.

It's never too soon to revive memories of racing's top competitors or to establish new rooting interests for subsequent stakes.

The vehicle will be the $300K G2 San Antonio Stakes which used to serve as a 9-furlong prep in February for the 10-furlong Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March.

Shortened to 8.5 furlongs last year, the San Antonio will now trade places with the $200,000 G2 San Pasqual that formerly preceded it in January.

The primary reason for the switch appears to be this prep's new target event, one held 3,000 miles away at another Stronach Group facility: the $16-million G1 Pegasus World Cup 32 days later at Gulfstream Park.


Written by Indulto | Comments (0)
With Win and You’re In, More Is Better

For the benefit of the sport and its loyal fans, should the “Win and You’re In” concept for major events become a “Win TWICE and You’re In” qualifying model?

The reason for this is simple: Multiple prep winners are not only more likely to win the main event and subsequent important races should enjoy a larger audience.

Further, it would avoid rewarding horses that prove to be one-hit wonders which, depending on circumstances, made their bones against smaller and/or vastly weaker competition.

As stated above, horses that have successfully run through a tougher gamut would generate wider fan recognition and popularity in the process--with a more likely chance that legitimate rivalries could be created.

As it stands now, horsemen have myriad choices of preps, which generally result in beating the weakest competition for the biggest purses.

Admittedly, as a wishful owner, the path of least resistance for the big money is extremely tempting for its pragmatism. But I’m a player, not a PLAYER.


Written by Indulto | Comments (17)

From Coast to Coast: Triumph and Tragedy

For South Florida racing fans, a funny thing happened on their way to and inside of Gulfstream Park on Saturday: They drove to Hallandale Beach expecting to see the environs of a racetrack only to witness a soccer game break out.

Well not quite, but expressions of racing’s internationalism where everywhere on display, between small cadres on fans from different countries from way south of the border to cheering horseplayers standing behind their country’s flags.

If enthusiasm is the measure, then the first ever Clasico Internacional del Caribe program staged in North America was an unqualified success. And it all happened on an afternoon that only can be described charitably as an anything but a Chamber of Commerce day.

Doubtlessly, the intemperate weather and sealed, sloppy conditions contributed to an all-sources decline from $9.4 million to $8.8 million year over year. But that wasn’t the metric of significance to indicate that the inaugural ‘Clasico’ in South Florida was successful:

On-track handle surged from 2016’s $947,000 to Saturday’s $1.4 million. Fans came to party but bet, too, and that was on six juvenile races with many unknowns and five Clasico races void of the kind of detailed past-performances American bettors want.

The event was a far cry from what was unfolding on the opposite side of the country, where horse people were and still are dealing with the remnants of a brushfire that swept through the San Luis Rey training center and claimed the lives of 66 horses.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (25)
Star Filly, Paco, and Shippers Rule Gulfstream; Sharp Azteca Ends NYRA Season in Style

It was quite the Saturday in the bonded territories of South Florida and New York. In the Big Apple, Breeders’ Cup performers dominated the Cigar Mile, sweeping the first three positions.

In the Remsen Stakes, Catholic Boy showed that he has a future on any surface and Demoiselle winner Wonder Gadot got the good trip she lacked in the Juvenile Fillies.

In Hallandale Beach, the best of the sport’s blue collar horses put on a great, competitive show with a mix of predictable favorites and many challenging price shots in a dizzying display of what the game is all about—a little something for everyone.

Horses ship into Hallandale Beach from the north all the time, but rarely from Northern California where Mended, in order to get to Gulfstream Park, first had to endure an eight hour van ride to LAX, and a layover, before finally making the long cross country trek.

She might have won by more than 6-3/4 lengths had she had a little time to catch her breath.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (9)

Stakes with Plenty of Stuffing

It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since Churchill Downs inaugurated its “Stars of Tomorrow” program for juvenile runners only. Then you look at its history and, as the great Dick Enberg might say. “Oh, my.”

Its lynchpin, the Jockey Club Stakes, has taken a bit of an unfair hit in recent years for not being the harbinger of winning Kentucky Derby form it should be.

While it’s true that the 1-1/16 miles two-turner has produced only two winners--Super Saver who doubled up in 2009-10 and Real Quiet, runner-up in 1997 but a Derby hero the following year--the day has been a launching pad for numerous Grade 1 stars.

Shackleford, a future Preakness and Met Mile winner, raced on the day, as did 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge; Belmont Stakes winner Creator; a pair of Classic winners, Fort Larned and Gun Runner, and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and this year’s protem Best in Show.

It’s difficult to know what lies ahead for Grade 2 Golden Rod winner Road to Victory, or Jockey Club Stakes winning Enticed, but their futures look extremely bright. Ladies first:

We’ve seen this movie before and Mark Casse, a force at the Churchill Fall meet for a decade, did it again. This time he shipped Road to Victory in off a single 7-furlong debut on Woodbine turf and parlayed that win into a two-turn dirt score, and did it the hard way.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (15)
Racing Family Comes Full Circle at Payson Park

Some people run away as children to join the circus. But not the late Hall of Famer Thomas Joseph Kelly, who ran off to join the racetrack when he was 13. When he passed, eight full decades later, he left as the patriarch of one of racing’s foremost families.

Last week, T.J.’s son, Larry, also a racetrack lifer, became the new General Manager of world renowned Payson Park Training Center in Indiantown, Florida, a two-hour drive north and west of Gulfstream Park.

The appointment is proof positive that what goes around indeed comes around again.

It started with Turnpike Tom, who served as apprentice for trainer Louis Fuestel. When making the transition from hot walker to groom to trainer, it’s no guarantee that one will someday land in racing’s pantheon.

But Kelly did get a pretty good start, having learned from the man who trained the mighty Man o’ War.

Of course, Payson Park long has been the winter home of Roger Attfield, Christophe Clement, Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, among other racing notables. And when the 59-year-old Kelly joined the Payson family last week, the Payson circle was complete.

Payson Park is widely regarded as one of the best training centers anywhere in the world. It features a turf course and safe, deep dirt track over which hoof beats are barely audible.

European-style hacking trails add to the atmosphere. It allows horses to be horses and a great way to prepare youngsters for the rigors of future racetrack life.

Tom Kelly was the first trainer to use Payson as a training center. Born in Maryland and once a regular on that circuit, Kelly was a mainstay in New York during temperate times and raced primarily at Hialeah in winter. Payson is where some of the horses went for R & R.

The Kelly men are racetrackers through and through. T.J.’s younger brother, Edward (E.I.) Kelly, trained the 1959 sprint champion, Intentionally.

Tom’s wife Frances foaled three trainers; Pat, the oldest, best remembered for his work with New York-based millionaire Evening Attire, and Tim who left the backstretch to become a New York Racing Association official.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (12)

Latin America’s Kentucky Derby is a guessing game

Gulfstream, which has gambled and won with year-round racing, the Pegasus and Claiming Crown, is taking another risk Saturday, bringing the Clasico Internacional del Caribe to South Florida for the first time. The centerpiece of the five-stakes festival, the Clasico del Caribe, is often called "The Kentucky Derby of the Caribbean and Latin America." But the dozen horses entered are all unknowns to local players and the big race is supported by four other stakes for imports, which will transform handicapping into a guessing game.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (34)
It’s December and the racing is scintillating

December was once a down month in racing. No more. Racing this Saturday is as good as it gets. NYRA has its last big hurrah until spring with four graded stakes, headed by the Cigar Mile, being run at the latest date ever. Gulfstream launches its prime season with what has become the traditional winter opening event, the Claiming Crown. It's a magical day for those who like full fields of blue collar horses. Each of the nine stakes has at least a dozen starters.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (14)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
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, |
RACING RETURNS TO CHURCHILL DOWNS SUNDAY AT 1 P.M.

21-DAY FALL MEET

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, |
World Championships

2017 Race Order, Wagering Menu and Guaranteed Pools Announced for World Championships

The Breeders' Cup announced today the official order of races, and guaranteed multi-race wagering pools for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November…


Oct 26 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $100,250

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot for Wednesday’s program at Gulfstream Park West swelled to $100,250.35 Sunday when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 16th consecutive program.

Multiple tickets with six winners Sunday returned $9,834.



Oct 24 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
Breeders Crown

Caviart Ally looks to rebound in Breeders Crown final

Darlinonthebeach 'coming into form'


After letting a lead slip away in her elimination, Caviart Ally will try and be a little less zealous and a lot more powerful down the stretch in Friday’s $500,000…


Oct 24 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Rainbow 6 Grows to $87,000 at Gulfstream West

Sunday’s First Race 1:15 P.M.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Gulfstream Park West’s Rainbow 6 continues to grow, bringing Sunday’s carryover to $87,606.62.

Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday returned $4.406.20.

First race post for Sunday’s…


Oct 22 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
Maryland Million Classic Win a ‘Bonus’ for Hometown Juarez

Bonus Points Gives Maryland-Born Jockey Third Win on Card
$150,000 Stakes Highlights ‘Maryland’s Day at the Races’

LAUREL, MD – Jockey Nik Juarez, born and raised an hour north of Laurel Park, put an exclamation point on his three-win afternoon by guiding Three…


Oct 22 | Categories: Laurel, |
Brown, Castellano team up with pair of victories on EmpireShowcase Day

$38K Pick 6 carryover on tap Sunday

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Chad Brown and Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano teamed up Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park for back-to-back wins on Empire Showcase Day, a unique 11-race all-New York-bred card, including eight stakes races worth…


Oct 22 | Categories: Belmont Park, |
Breeders’ Cup Pre-Entry Announcement

Breeders' Cup Pre-Entry Announcement to be Streamed Live on BreedersCup.com on Wednesday, October 25

Pre-entered fields for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be announced via a live stream on http://www.breederscup.com,…


Oct 22 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |