HRI Featured Writers
HRI Featured Writers

Pricci’s Free Race Analysis

Five days per week, John Pricci will provide analysis of that day's feature race. His long term approach, combining visual interpretation with informed Energy Figures, has resulted in a positive ROI since the feature's inception, from May, 2007 through the latest results.

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.


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

Saratoga Diary XXXIX: No Graveyard Blues for Songbird

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., July 24, 2016--

Dear Diary,


Maybe I should have had Broadway John chronicle what opening week of Saratoga 148 looked like and felt like. Per usual, good news and bad, mostly bad, but the best thing to report is the racing this first weekend of the cherished Saratoga season.

You might not care about the rantings from some loon from Queens. Lest I remind you Diary that it’s been a pretty good week for loons from Queens.

The saving grace is, as always, the horses and the competition, four-legged and two, with storylines ever where you turn. But as people in my set know, we insist on sharing bad news immediately. Here’s the notable and notorious events of the week:


Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)
Saratoga: Meeting and Exceeding Expectations

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 7, 2015—Strange, posting this first ever Saratoga Diary from the Sunshine State. Ironic, too, since daily summer storms here are running to form while the Spa atmospherics were unusually remarkable; clear days with hardly a trace of humidity.

Quickly: Name another extended race meet in which only 10* turf races were rescheduled to the main track?

NYRA bashing is a popular sport, one that goes with the territory. And while I can nitpick with the best of them, I did not see a multitude of major faults to bitch about; not even the well-publicized cap on Travers day attendance.

Complaining about the current NYRA administration comes easily, especially when racetrack language is generously peppered with corporate speak, but they hosted a very successful season by any measure.

Yes, compared to other years, prices were exorbitant. But when likened to other major sports—and Saratoga is a world class sports venue--prices were in line, even if $5 for bottled water on Travers day was excessive.

For anyone attending the Travers, the “guest experience” was enjoyable. One could move about the crowded facility with relative ease and clubhouse betting queues were not inordinately deep--at least on the three or four occasions we left our press box sanctuary.

Simply because the brand says Saratoga doesn't mean the race meet will be memorable. But in 2015 it was. The racing was spectacular, even many mundane weekday programs necessitated by the expansion of Mega Racedays.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)

Delaware ‘Cap is Bayern redux

Another big race has ended in controversy over an objection/claim of foul. I'm a Chatterbox did essentially the same thing in last Saturday's Delaware Handicap that Bayern did in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Classic. She took out three horses by breaking inward. The stewards left the result "as is." This was as wrong Saturday as it was in 2014. DQ's and non-DQ's continue to be a source of controversy, which harm trust in the integrity of the sport. Something has to be done.

MIAMI, July 21, 2016--Instant replay has destroyed the enjoyment of sports. Introduced by the NFL to “get it right” on potentially game-changing erroneous calls, it has devolved into a parody of itself. Interminable delays while deciding whether a receiver’s loose shoelace touched the white boundary on a three-yard pass in the middle of the field in the first quarter have become commonplace. Whatever became of the 90-second time limit?

Instant replay has now infected the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball. Its use in the latter has become as abused as it is in football. Even announcers concede that managers sometimes take a shot because they have nothing to lose. Meanwhile a game, whose hierarchy acknowledges it runs too long, grinds to a halt.

The one sport in which replays have been not only useful but essential in making decisions is horse racing. But I’m beginning to have my doubts about that.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (19)
Del Mar and Saratoga are racing’s most wonderful time of the year

Looking to find that longshot that will change your life with a longshot Kentucky Derby future books wager? Pay attention to the 2-year-old races at Del Mar and Saratoga. In spite of the theory that the most promising Classics hopefuls are beginning their careers later, the five most recent winners of the Derby have run in the summer of their juvenile seasons at either Del Mar or Saratoga. This is only one of many reasons why the upcoming glamour meetings are a highlight of every racing season.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (13)

Some Minor Growing Pains for New NYRABets Website

ELMONT, NY, July 21,2016--Confusion about whether the New York Racing Association's new national wagering platform, NYRA Bets, would or would not launch tomorrow for opening day at Saratoga Race Course sprung up on twitter this morning.

As it turns out, concerns were overstated--sort of.

Pat McKenna, NYRA Director of Communications for NYRA, clarified the situation with the following statement after being contacted by email.

"NYRA Rewards will officially transition to NYRA Bets on Friday, July 22.

New York State residents and existing customers will immediately be able to watch and wager on nyrabets.com.

A select group of out-of-state customers are a part of our national beta group, helping us work through the final stages prior to full-blown launch.

NYRA Bets will soon be available for customers across the country, and we will have additional guidance on the full, national launch in the coming days."


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (5)
Saratoga: Still an August Place to Be

ELMONT, NY, July 12, 2019 – When I started working at Saratoga Race Course in the 1970's, the Saratoga meeting was a great excuse for a 27-day party that included 24 days of world class racing.

There was a stakes race every day. No claimers; no New York-bred races. To be fair, parenthetically, the New York-bred program was in its infancy then and has come a very long way in a short time.

A weekday walk through the grandstand back then afforded one enough room for bowling. A walk through the clubhouse boxes on the weekend brought one past about half the world's wealthiest citizens.

There was no simulcasting. No daily show on cable television--to be fair, cable TV was in its infancy, too.

Either you were at the racetrack's version of summer camp or you watched the generic version at an Off Track Betting parlor, a storefront located in Some Region, New York. The difference was stark.

Hand-made speed figures were a betting advantage that couldn't be matched back then, either. Gallop-outs were only known to those who watched races very closely. Trainer patterns were new to the vocabulary.

Saratoga's paddock was open to all as horses were saddled under magnificent trees with signs attached, matching the horse to its program number.

Obviously, it was a different era. People from every walk of life were united by a passion for hot-blooded Thoroughbreds, equine stars that once were a representative part of the sports community.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (26)

Saratoga All-Entrants Late P4 Handicapping Skinny

Exclusively for http://www.123BET.com via Promotional Agreement

Comments from Belmont July 16 LATE PICK 4 on winners & exacta finishers
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

RACE 7 MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT 2YO F 6 FURLONGS INNER TURF

7-LULL (5-1), racing without Lasix, also by War Front, is uncoupled Clement newcomer, a barn profitable with first-timers on grass. Attracts Franco but three straight gate works the good news and the bad news. (won, $10.20)
8-ASSCHER (2-1) was totally eliminated by poor start in well-meant debut. Todd 27% with second-timers and Javier takes a return call but pedigree a question mark for us on this surface (2nd, exacta $32.00).

RACE 8 FORBIDDEN APPLE STAKES 1 MILE WIDENER TURF

4-KING KREESA (7-2), another redoubtable state-bred, is 7-time Belmont grass winner with exacta finishes, including 5 wins, in 14 total starts given these dynamics. Might shake free as potential loose leader (won, 6.70).
1-FORCE THE PASS (3-5) was good second behind loose leader and classy miler Obviously in Grade 3 last out and was very willing third in G3 Appleton 4YO debut prior. Big time class relief here and reunites with Johnny; formidable fave. (2nd, exacta 12.00)

RACE 9 $12, 500 CLAIMING 3 & UP 1 MILE


4-POINT HOPE (7-2), blinkers back on for barn that’s recently 4-for-12 in that scenario with two money finishers and switches back to Irad. Barn in slump this meet but class dropper goes for major client; guesswork at short early line odds. (won 16.80)
1-FINDING CANDY (6-1) is 2-for-13 at the trip and 3-for-30 all other distances, reunites with Castellano and goes turf to dirt for barn that’s 16% efficient given that dynamic; looks live in this spot. (2nd, exacta 85.00)

RACE 10 $40,000 MAIDEN CLAIMING F&M 7 FURLONGS WIDENER TURF

5-SUBTLE LADY (7-2) lost rider in season’s debut when dropping to this level now makes second start for Rice, 22% in LAY-2 scenario, and gets switch to Johnny. (won 8.80)
8-ELECTRIFIED (5-2) makes first start in over a year dropping into claimer for first time; barn capable with layups but not particularly well known for successful layup runners; underlay on early line. (2nd, exacta 38.60)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………....


SATURDAY, JULY 23


RACE 8 Allowance Optional Claiming 1 Mile INNER TURF

1-Wyeth (5-2) was all out to win latest in much improved, albeit perfect trip score going longer following wide trip sprint debut. Worked thrice since latest and Javier takes the return call.
1A-Catapult (5-2) raced greenly for Chad in second start making graded stakes debut following troubled start. Back to proper level for barn 27% efficient with 90 days+ layups and reunites with winning rider Irad Ortiz.
2-Our Way (6-1) ran well in recent salty spots after being victimized by a series of bad trips dating back to January at GP. Has some tactical speed and pole position with switch to Jose Ortiz indicates switch to close-range tactics.
3-Tizzarunner (12-1) was a tough trip second in turf debut this winter, a listed stakes, indicative of confidence from Casse shed. Takes meaningful for barn that’s profitable 21% effective with second-time turfers.
4-Scissors and Tape (15-1) earned improved Pricci Energy Rating in second start following brief freshening. Maker an ace on turf and Leparoux taking the re-ride. Inside draw makes him pace factor here.
5-Gio's Calling (8-1) career best PER came rounding two turns at KEE this spring and gets back to those dynamics today. Three of four sibs own turf wins, reuniting with Luis Saez and T-G pattern is forward-looking.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Saratoga 148 Gives Horseman a New Perspective

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., July 19.2016—I’m looking forward to the 148th Saratoga race meet for all the usual reasons. For gamblers, a sojourn to Saratoga Springs is a trip to Horseplayer Nirvana.

First and foremost, the quality of racing there over a sustained period of 40 days has, on balance, no equal in the world of Thoroughbred racing.

Saratoga is the place where racing’s best and brightest congregate—both the four-legged and two-legged varieties—a place to show the world what they’ve got.

For horseplayers, it’s the meet where making a score is conceivable at any moment. Given high quality and extreme competitiveness, the chances of getting value for your betting buck are disproportionately high:

Very good horses can pay off very handsomely, thank you. And Saratoga has the sizable betting pools needed to make all of that possible.

Friday will be only the third opening day we’ve missed in 46 years.

In 2007, we were flying home from Las Vegas after having given birth to idea of HorseRaceInsider.com--a grassroots site for players, giving them a voice and also by acting as the sport’s conscience, daring to speak truth to power.

We missed last year’s opener, too, after having established permanent residency in South Florida. As Ray LaMontagne might sing, this year we’ll be in Saratoga a fortnight, “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise.”

While there, we expect to give witness to Songbird stretching her speed over 10 furlongs in the Alabama, The following week, we’re hopeful to see a reprise of Nyquist vs Exaggerator vs Creator, classics winners all, in Saratoga’s Derby of Midsummer.

But I have new reason, one I’m hoping will please not only the HRI faithful but horseplayers of every stripe as we bring on board HRI’s first “trackman,” an expert in the art of race-watching and handicapping, who just happens to be a legendary horseman.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (25)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Saratoga Race Course Notes 7/24

G1 winner Rachel's Valentina retired; Destin 'excellent' ahead of G2 Jim Dandy
• Well-traveled Undrafted set to make Saratoga turf debut in Lucky Coin
• Dacita in fine fettle following G1 Diana win
• Strong work from Governor Malibu keeps Jim Dandy in consideration



Jul 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) Quotes

Jerry Hollendorfer, winning trainer of Songbird (No. 1): "We thought we were going to get tested and we thought [jockey] Julien [Leparoux] would send [Carina Mia] at us early, which he did. We got a chance to test our filly and she dug in. Great race from [trainer] Billy [Mott]'s filly, too."


Jul 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 7/23

• Exaggerator may train up to G1 Travers
• Comebacking Moonlight Song targets John Morrissey Stakes
• Hot City Girl looks for glowing performance in Shine Again
• Geroux looking forward to successful Saratoga meet
• Fields coming together for next weekend's stakes

Jul 23 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Schuylerville (G3) Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Sweet Loretta (No. 4): "She came to us early at Palm Beach Downs and she showed some quality. When she was getting ready to run, we felt like she was doing well at Palm Beach Downs so we sent her to the team in Monmouth. They did a great job with her.

"We…


Jul 23 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Songbird stars in G1 Coaching Club American Oaks

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Fox Hill Farm's undefeated champion Songbird will ride her eight-race win streak to historic Saratoga Race Course as the expected favorite in the Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks on Sunday.

Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Songbird broke…


Jul 22 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Rainbow 6 Carryover Stands at $130,147 for Thursday’s Program

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 11th consecutive racing day Sunday at Gulfstream Park, producing a carryover jackpot of $130,147.41 for Thursday’s program.

There were no tickets with all six winners sold. Thus, multiple tickets with five winners were…


Jul 18 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Statement from The Stronach Group on Rosecroft Raceway

“We are looking forward to working at Rosecroft Raceway and growing the business. Not only do we see this as an opportunity to expand the Maryland Jockey Club brand to a new market and make it easier for people to watch and wager on our Thoroughbred races, but we’re particularly interested in growing…


Jul 14 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 7/8

Belmont Park Notes
• Songbird confirmed for G1 Coaching Club American Oaks
• Strike Charmer set to work Sunday in preparation for G1 Diana
• 'Outside chance' Tepin could make Spa appearance
• G2 Jim Dandy-bound Mohaymen breezes over Saratoga main track

ELMONT,…


Jul 9 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Saturday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Stands at $39,478

Post Time for Saturday’s12-Race Program Set for 12:45 p.m.

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Saturday’s program at Gulfstream Park stands at $39,478.

Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $3,214.18 Friday.

The…


Jul 9 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Camelot Kitten leads U.S. contenders in G1 Belmont Derby

ELMONT, N.Y. - Now in its third edition, the Stars & Stripes Festival will once again be anchored by the Grade 1, $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational on Saturday at Belmont Park. Slated as the eighth race on the 11-race card, the 1 ¼-mile inner turf route has drawn a highly competitive, international…


Jul 7 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
G1 Coaching Club American Oaks

G1 Coaching Club American Oaks purse will increase to $500,000, contingent on Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Champion Songbird starting in race

ELMONT, N.Y
- The New York Racing Association announced today the total purse for the 99th running of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American…


Jul 7 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Effinex looks to repeat in G2 Suburban

ELMONT, N.Y - Following a disappointing sixth-place finish last out in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 18 at Churchill Downs, Tri-Bone Stables Effinex will look to rebound and defend his title in the Grade 2, $500,000 Surburban Handicap for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles on Stars & Stripes…


Jul 7 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)