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

Sport, Centeno. Escape Possible Scandal, Injury at Tampa Bay Downs

By John Pricci

When it comes to horse racing, Twitter is the social media of choice. It’s fast, informative and engaging, everything you want to stay connected to your vocation or avocation of choice.

Too often, however, issues arise too quickly, the message is under-informed and engagement quickly goes off the rails. And given that human nature is what it is, c’mon, who doesn’t love a good “fix” yarn every now and then?

That was the case on a rainy Wednesday in Oldsmar Tampa where Daniel Centeno, perennially 1-2 in the jockey standings every year, jumped off 11-10 favorite R Baby Driver with victory assured several jumps before the finish post.

From the pan shot, it was impossible to immediately say what happened. It could have been interpreted that either R Baby Driver swerved and Centeno performed an unintended flying dismount or something sinister had just happened.

In the moment, this too was my reaction.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)
Big Days, Big Dollars

Very interesting Twitter post yesterday outlining the biggest handle days of the year in 2018. Certainly no surprise that Kentucky Derby day, like every year, was the big kahuna with cross-country handle and at Churchill Downs totaling $225 million.

Actually, the Triple Crown races ranked first, second and fourth. Belmont Day completed the handle exacta at $137 million with Preakness Day in at $93 million from all sources.

Splitting the Triple Crown cold trifecta was Breeders’ Cup Saturday attracting action worth $105 million. Weekend festival-type days checked in fifth and sixth, with Kentucky Oaks Day in with $55 million and Breeders’ Cup Friday at $52 million.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (12)

Drama Surrounding Saratoga, Belmont and Islanders Ending

By Mark Berner

The New York Racing Association on Thursday confirmed an HRI November story that it indeed will extend the 2019 Saratoga race meet.

Last week’s announcement also confirmed the yet to be stated final decision from New York’s Empire State Development Corporation that the New York Islanders will get final approval to build its new hockey arena at Belmont Park.

NYRA denied the story at first because the New York State Gaming Commission had not approved the change in schedule.

Similarly, the Islanders have yet to confirm its new arena will be in Elmont because the ESD has thus far only given provisional approval.

The NYSGC could have approved the dates last November but the ESD still had a few dog and pony shows scheduled at the Elmont Library.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (64)
Want to Restore Fans’ Trust? Go Raise the Money

By Mark Berner

The top three trainers at Gulfstream Park through FEB 3 are Jorge Navarro (29-121 .240), Todd Pletcher (25-102 .245), and Jason Servis (20-44 .454). Which doesn’t belong and why? If you said Todd Pletcher, take another guess.

Of the three, Servis, the trainer with the highest current win percentage, is the only one never to have served a suspension for a positive drug test on one of his horses. All three have been fined but only Servis never served days, according to

Servis has four drug violations from 11 rulings, Pletcher has three drug violations from 14 rulings, and Navarro is three for 11. The remainder of the rulings are mostly clerical, and a few are Lasix violations, either overages or failure to administer same.

This is not to say that Servis, Pletcher and Navarro are all in the same boat but it does indicate that testing labs are not capable of catching anyone who may be doing any significant doping.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (44)

It’s time for some colt to attack the Baffert inevitability

The traditional ‘who do you like in the Derby?’ conversation that dominates racing circles this time of year is being replaced by ‘which Baffert horse do you like?’ Baffert has the top two contenders in Game Winner and Improbable and Mucho Gusto might not be far behind them. It’s time for a 3-year-old outside the Baffert barn to assert himself and insert some uncertainty and fun into Derby run-up season.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (23)
Sports gambling could come to Florida through backdoor

By Tom Jicha

A successful amendment on November's ballot in Florida has made it difficult to impossible for any casino expansion in the state. This has been interpreted to include sports betting. But there are reasons to challenge that. Nowhere on the ballot was sports betting mentioned. State law demands amendments be spelled out clearly to voters. By any reasonable interpretation this was a bill to keep out new casinos. This is how media throughout the state presented it to readers and viewers. I couldn't find one editorial, pro or con, which included mention of sports betting. Moreover, the wording for the bill, which includes no mention of sports betting, was approved in January 2018.The Supreme Court didn't remove legal barriers until May. So there is no reason to conclude that those who constructed the amendment had anything but barring new casinos in mind.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (17)

The Cheltenham Festival and Betting Options

The Cheltenham Festival is an annual event that offers jump races and a large prize for the winner. By keeping up with the odds and the options for your bets, you will be able to enjoy the horse races and plan out your time at the festival.

Basics of the Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is an annual event that usually occurs on Saint Patrick's Day and the surrounding days. During the event, you will see a variety of races and special plans related to the National Hunt racing calendar. During the festival, there are four event days.The first day is Champion Day. It is followed up by Ladies Day and then Saint Patrick's Day. The final day of the festival is Gold Cup Day. It is on Gold Cup Day that you will find out the final results of the races and the event as a whole.

| Comments (0)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
NYRA announces resignation of CEO & President Chris Kay

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Board of Directors today announced that it has accepted the resignation of NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay, effectively immediately.

To ensure continuity of operations, David O'Rourke, NYRA's Senior Vice President and…

Jan 23 | Categories: Aqueduct, |
Clasico Internacional del Caribe at Gulfstream Park

Clasico to be Broadcast on ESPN Deportes,

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe at Gulfstream Park, a five-race, $600,000 program featuring the best Thoroughbreds from Latin America and the Caribbean, will be broadcast in…

Dec 6 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association

FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association announce most expansive tv programming agreement in horse racing history

FOX Sports to be primary national carrier of NYRA racing beginning in 2019

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA)…

Nov 29 | Categories: Aqueduct, |
Retiring Takter readies for final Breeders Crown

October 24, 2018, Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
For the Breeders Crown

As soon-to-be-retired trainer Jimmy Takter prepares for his final Breeders Crown appearance Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, he is focused on his horses in the hopes of adding…

Oct 24 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Post positions drawn for Breeders Crown Open Pace, Open Trot

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
For the Breeders Crown

McWicked, harness racing’s richest horse this year, drew post No. 3 for Saturday’s $430,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace and was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite while…

Oct 24 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Eleven former Breeders Crown champions in Saturday eliminations

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - from the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown

Cranbury, NJ
--- Been there, done that. It could be the slogan for Saturday’s (Oct. 20) Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-olds and older horses at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Eleven former…

Oct 19 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |


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


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, |