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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.

Bob Ike's Free Racing Picks
Bob will be providing HRI readers a free racing picks for SoCal throughout each week.

Darin Zoccali's Free Harness Racing Picks
Zoccali will be handicapping the feature race at The New Meadowlands nightly and will occasionally cover a major national harness race from other venues.

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.


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.


Bill Finley
Every weekend, and when there is breaking news, Bill Finley or members of the "Harness Racing Update" staff will provide HRI readers with the latest in harness racing information and opinion.


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

UK Horse Racing
Epsom Derby 2013 , a personal favourite is fast approaching. A really great resource to read ahead of the event is the Racing Post's Derby microsite. It covers all news stories as they unfold as well providing all the racecards, free tips and plenty more.

Royal Ascot The Queens horse racing show piece. Latest news, odds and tips provided courtesy of the Racing Post.





 
 


Latest Columns and Blogs

Lessons to be learned from the Derby trail

History teaches many of the same lessons during each year's Kentucky Derby prep season. Alas, it seems few learn them.

MIAMI, April 16, 2014--We study history to learn from the past and hopefully not make the same mistakes. So what have we learned from this year’s Triple Crown prep season?

The foremost lesson is a reiteration. Getting involved in Kentucky Derby Futures betting is a fool’s venture. It got even more foolish this season when Churchill Downs moved the first pool into November 2013.

The smartest guy in the room is the one who makes one large preemptory bet on the field within minutes of the pool opening. (I assume it is one guy or one syndicate because the M.O. has been the same since Churchill introduced futures betting.)


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (5)
Social Inclusion owner: No price on a dream


Social Inclusion, might be sold between the Wood and Derby. However, his owner, Ron Sanchez, said any deal will have him keeping a substantial interest.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (6)

Slouching Towards Louisville

SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY, April 8, 2014—It is said that you can’t go home again. Despite the inherent wisdom in that adage, I left the warm, sunny climes of South Florida for Queens, the next meaningful Eastern stop on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

I must confess that when I entered the building I didn’t know what I would find. The news emanating from New York to reach Gulfstream Park this winter, both on and off the record, was disturbing but, unfortunately, not totally unexpected.

When I arrived at the press box level of Aqueduct Race Track over the weekend, I discovered newly installed carpet under foot and a fresh coat of paint on the walls leading to the press office and press box.

It was a welcome sight from the blight that had become the norm, the result of an acrimonious relationship between “new NYRA” and the Genting organization that now occupies the swanky part of the building formerly known as the Aqueduct grandstand.

Perhaps not surprising but somewhat amusing was the fact that the new paint job didn’t extend all the way through to the fifth level where the stewards and Equibase chart callers live and where Tom Durkin would later call his penultimate Wood Memorial.

And you thought David Letterman would be the only prominent retiree come 2015?


Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)
HRI Derby Power 10: Sparkling in the California Sun

SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY, April 6, 2014—“You knock him, you just don’t like anything in life,” was the reaction of Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who finished second to California Chrome aboard Hopportunity in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby.

And if they were being honest, PETA would tell you that they like him, too.

I know I like living too much to dare say something negative. The new California Comet was awesome on the day and I’ll wait until after the post draw to concern myself with any potential Louisville first-turn speed jams.

As all know, Santa Anita Park is a fast surface. But nine furlongs in 1:47.52 is racehorse time on anyone's racetrack. Efforts take their toll, no matter how facile the victory, But it certainly appeared, as Victor Espinoza said, that they haven’t gotten to the bottom of him yet.

They very likely will in four weeks time.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (9)

California Chrome Notwithstanding, Derby Chaos Reigns

SARATOGA SPRINGS, April 14, 2014—Barring last-minute qualifiers from Saturday’s Lexington Stakes and late injury defections, the field for the 140th Kentucky Derby is all but set. And if there weren’t a modicum of clarity at the top, the Derby field--at least from a handicapping perspective--is in disarray.

California Chrome is a clear cut Derby favorite and solid support can be garnered for Santa Anita Derby runnerup Hopportunity, Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong, and undefeated, albeit lightly raced Florida Derby winner, Constitution. After that, it’s Katy bar the door.

With three weeks remaining, the Derby 140 picture is so muddled that fans might have an easier time making a case for California Chrome to become thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner than for any of his rivals to upset the Derby applecart.

How in the name of sanity are handicappers supposed to evaluate Saturday’s winner in Hot Springs in a Derby context in that not only did Danza’s win come in his second run this season, his fourth lifetime overall and his first start around two turns, but the Grade 1 was his “a other than" win?

In short, what does his victory say for the vanquished?


Written by John Pricci | Comments (22)
Lots of Winners and Losers on Final Big Prep Weekend

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, April 12, 2014—If you’re a Kentucky Derby fan, let’s put aside the parimutuel events of Saturday’s two final major preps, the Grade 1 Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby.

Based on Saturday's results, the big winners were Dance With Fate, who zoomed from Derby obscurity to third on the qualifying list, and Danza, also coming from nowhere to finish in sixth position.

Ride on Curlin’s Arkansas Derby placing was good enough to raise his seed to #12; Tapiture, safely in at #14 despite his disappointing Arkansas Derby, and Blue Grass runnerup Medal Count also appears safely in at #18.

Those that ran themselves out of serious consideration include Vinceramos, Harry’s Holiday, Big Bazinga, Coastline, Strong Mandate and Commissioner. Of those, Big Bazinga made a good effort to finish fourth in the Blue Grass but the rest disappointed--Strong Mandate and Commissioner in a big way.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)

Takter Preparing For A Monster Year

By Perry Lefko

With a barn full of superstar horses, including a couple that he considers the best two- and three-year-old male and female trotters he has ever trained, Jimmy Takter is optimistic about the 2014 season.

Given that Takter, voted three times as trainer of the year and an inductee in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, he could be headed for another banner campaign.

Takter is excited about the prospects of three-year-old colt trotter Father Patrick, a winner of 10 of 11 races and currently with nine consecutive wins, who won the Breeders Crown last year and the Dan Patch Award for his particular division.

Takter is also looking forward to the sophomore season of female trotter Shake It Cerry, a winner of eight of 11 races, including the Breeders Crown, and also a Dan Patch winner. As if that weren't enough, Takter acquired Nuncio, who was the only one to beat Father Patrick last year, in January when the colt's trainer, Jim Oscarsson, returned to Sweden.

Add in Uncle Peter, a five-year-old who beat standout mare Maven in a recent qualifier, along with numerous quality two-year-olds, and it is easy to understand why Takter is looking forward to competing in all the big races this year.


Written by Bill Finley | Comments (0)
Morrill Banned at Pocono, Has No Idea Why

There’s a reason why Jim Morrill Jr. has yet to drive a race this year at Pocono: he has been banned.

Morrill, who was the third leading driver last year at Pocono and is widely considered one of the very best in his profession, said he has heard no explanations from track management and the only way he
knows he is not welcome is because trainers have told him that every time they try to enter a horse with him down as the driver the racing office tells them they must choose someone else.

“I have no idea what’s going on there,” he said. “I just know they won’t accept any entries with me down to drive. I’ve been calling around to everyone there to try to get an answer and no one will call me back.

I’ve called (VP Racing Operations) Dale Rapson a bunch of times and left messages and I hear nothing back.”


Written by Bill Finley | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
‘Foiled’, Burke Reign Again at Yonkers

YONKERS, N.Y. - Foiled Again ($2.10) withstood a sustained first-over charge from Dancin Yankee and a challenge in the passing lane from P H Supercam to pick up a fourth straight victory and remain unbeaten in his 10-year-old campaign with a narrow triumph in the third division of the fourth leg of the…


Apr 14 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., | Comments (0)
DANZA PULLS 40-1 SHOCKER IN ARKANSAS DERBY

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 12, 2014) – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Danza came in as the lesser heralded stablemate, but is leaving Oaklawn as the 78th winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and with a ticket to the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs after earning 100 points. The…


Apr 13 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Arkansas Derby and Oaklawn Handicap Quotes

Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes

Jockey Joe Bravo: (Danza, 1st): "That was a pretty great effort. Todd was pretty high on the horse and he told me this morning that he was going to be fresh so don' take anything away from him. Try to save as much as you can and let him run his race. It was textbook,…


Apr 13 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Dance With Fate Cruises to Victory in 90th Toyota Blue Grass

Occasional View and Marchman Post Grade 3 Victories in Commonwealth and Shakertown

LEXINGTON, KY (April 12, 2014) – Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing’s Dance With Fate swept past pace-setting Pablo Del Monte at midstretch and had more than enough to hold off Medal Count…


Apr 13 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Toyota Blue Grass (G1) Quotes

Peter Eurton (winning trainer of Dance With Fate)

On whether Dance With Fate will run in the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Yum! Brands
“I just don’t know. It’s three weeks and kind of quick back. I know he loves synthetic better, (likes) turf. I just don’t know if he likes…


Apr 13 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Today 4.11

Rainbow 6 Carryover Tops $4.9 Million for Saturday’s Program
Little Daddy Fires Bullet in Prep for Upcoming Stakes Debut
Gabriel Saez Rides Three Winners on Spring/Summer Opener

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-Cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved on Friday, the first racing day of…


Apr 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
CALIFORNIA CHROME DEMOLISHES FIELD IN $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA DERBY

SHERMAN TRAINEE WINS BY 5 ¼ LENGTHS UNDER ESPINOZA

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Art Sherman knows what it takes to get a horse to the Kentucky Derby and win. He had a close-up view as an 18-year-old workout rider when Swaps won the 1955 Run for the Roses. Nearly 60 years later, Sherman is taking…


Apr 6 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
SANTA ANITA DERBY QUOTES

JOCKEY QUOTES

VICTOR ESPINOZA, CALIFORNIA CHROME, WINNER: “He knows what’s going on (when he goes to the gate). He’s calm and focused, but for some reason, we missed the break a tiny bit, but I put him in the race right away. I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic. It worked out…


Apr 6 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby Championship Series Weekly Update

SANTA ANITA DERBY, WOOD MEMORIAL STAR ON ‘ROAD TO KENTUCKY DERBY’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, April 4, 2014) – California-bred titan California Chrome will attempt to cement his status as the early favorite for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands with a strong performance…


Apr 4 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Aqueduct Racetrack Notes: Friday, April 4

• Kid Cruz declared from TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial
• Samraat likely to use 'cruising speed' in Wood
• Sahara Sky, second one year ago, trying G1 Carter again

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Linda Rice today said that TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial contender Kid Cruz would miss…


Apr 4 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
6th Annual HANA Track Rankings Released. Keeneland, Kentucky Downs Shine

(Charlottesville, VA, April 2nd, 2014) For the sixth consecutive year, Keeneland topped the 2014 racetrack ratings produced by the Horseplayers Association of North America.

The HANA Racetrack Ratings are based on an algorithm using factors indicative of horseplayer betting value, gleaned…


Apr 2 | Categories: Horse Racing, | Comments (0)
Endorse the National Uniform Medication Program

Dear Supporters

To bring forward much-needed uniformity to the medication rules and
penalties in horse racing, there needs to be a streamlined set of regulations that is on par with international standards and creates new enforcement scheme with stronger penalties and deterrents.…


Apr 2 | Categories: Horse Racing, | Comments (0)