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

Good News Flash: Racing’s Popular Again

The notion that racing may be undergoing a resurgence in the eyes of the sporting public comes as a surprise to me and, yes, the asterisk appearing in the headline is recognition for the fact that when it comes to sports we have become a big event society.

The daily fare, apparently, is regarded as simply the SOS regardless of the sport. Still, the 2017 Triple Crown series has been, to date, an immensely popular happening.

Whether it is in person or on TV, people seem to be warming up to horse racing again, however brief the episode may be.

World class events that feature attractions at the highest levels of performance that draws national over-the-air coverage sends a message that somehow resonates most favorably:

There’s something happening here that’s worthwhile. Sports fans seem to be saying something here, even if the overall message ain’t exactly clear.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (10)
“Horses Make Liars of Us All”

What makes this game fascinating, what keeps handicappers and players coming back for more, is the challenge of knowing that one can never learn enough to conquer the unconquerable.

What’s the old expression; that you can beat a race but you can’t beat the races? Actually, that racetrack cliché applies to horsemen, too. The latest example took place in Baltimore yesterday.

Shame on me for not remembering who I learned one of my early lessons from—think it have been Billy Turner when we were brand spanking new to big-time turf writing and were in awe of Turner’s eventual 1977 Triple Crown champion, Seattle Slew.

“Horses make liars of us all,” was my first backstretch lesson from a horseman, one that unfailingly continues to be taught every day that horses race.

Today’s modern message is subtly different. When trainers are asked when and where a horse will run next, the trainer-speak response most often heard is “we’ll let the horse tell us.”

Well, what Always Dreaming was telling trainer Todd Pletcher, and anyone who watched video of him train every day in the run-up to Preakness 142, was a lie.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (15)

HRI Staff Selections: Black-Eyed Susans for Preakness Heroes

Tom Jicha

Black Eyed Susan

1. Dancing Rags--Grade 1 winner will appreciate the distance
2. Shimmering Aspen--Locals do well on Preakness weekend
3. Summer Luck--Big weekend for Team Casse?
4. Moana--Maiden to stakes, but who's to question Todd?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)
Big A Turf II, a Win-Win for NYRA

Two weeks ago, the New York Racing Association revealed that Aqueduct’s inner dirt track is in the process of being converted to a second turf course, and that the main dirt track will be renovated and converted to accommodate year-round racing.

Finally, sanity is prevailing.

In our view, this comes a decade or two behind schedule. In that context, the current NYRA administration deserves props for finally putting the Aqueduct main track on course to become a meaningful winter meet, more reflective of what New York racing should be.

It wasn’t very long after its inception in 1976 that the winter-track race meet became the tail that has wagged the NYRA dog and, sadly, if one can picture those optics, it certainly did not do NYRA’s national brand and image any favors.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (13)

Preakness deprives racing of three weeks attention

The masses have a limited attention span for racing, generally the five weeks from the Kentucky Derby to the Belmont Stakes. Cloud Computing's upset in the Preakness ended any Triple Crown hopes. But the likelihood that neither Cloud Computing nor Derby winner Always Dreaming will enter the Belmont virtually eradicates the hope for widespread interest in the third jewel of the Triple Crown. The most conversation worthy element could be the presence of Japanese standout Epicharis.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (1)
Pletcher’s not a Preakness guy but he and Always Dreaming will adapt

Todd Pletcher doesn't believe in running his horses back in two weeks. This is why he has started 48 horses in the Derby but Always Dreaming will be only his ninth in the Preakness. The last time he brought a Derby winner to Maryland, Super Saver, it was a disaster. But the seven-time Eclipse winner says he has learned from that. More importantly, he has the best horse in Always Dreaming, who hasn't been seriously challenged as a 3-year-old. He'll get a stern test from Classic Empire Saturday but chances are he will head to Belmont with a chance to become a Triple Crown winner.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (22)

When It Comes to Drug Enforcement, Politics Prevail

Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, told horseracing regulators at the recent 2017 ARCI Conference on Integrity and Equine Welfare that the United States Anti-Doping Agency should bid on future drug-testing contracts.

In other words, if the Thoroughbred industry wants to get serious about getting a trusted, outside agency to monitor the use of medication, legal and otherwise, and to what extent violations exist, that agency--in this case the USADA--must pay for the privilege?

In many of the 38 states where parimutuel wagering on horses is sanctioned, the answer to testing has been to opt for the lowest cost. In the majority of cases, the industry has gotten what it paid for.

But is this the approach racing really wants to take, hire testing labs based on the lowest-cost bids? If the industry insists on that, how seriously can we believe their goal is a truly level playing field for all?

Not only do the leaders of ARCI and racing commissions throughout the US permit drug use, the penalties it enacts against violators often are far too lenient. Unless, of course, it has political points to score or agendas to fill.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (16)
Grade 2 Wood Puts On a Grade 1 Show

Just when you think you have this game figured out, it throws something at you that you least expect.

As all know by now, the American Graded Stakes Committee last year downgraded Aqueduct’s premier race for three-year-olds, the Wood Memorial, from Grade 1 to Grade 2.

Since grading stakes began in 1974, the Wood has been a Grade 1 and the Grade 2 designation does not sit well with the majority of racetrack lifers.

Eleven Wood winners have won the Derby and four have won the Triple Crown. However, what have you done for me lately was the logic demanded by the AGSC logarithm.

Since Fusaichi Pegasus won the Wood and Kentucky Derby in 2000, Wood winners went 0-for-30 in Kentucky. Fourteen years have passed since Funny Cide finished second in the Wood and won in Louisville.

The Wood Memorial did not appear to be the strongest of three stakes for three-year-old run Saturday but Wood winning Irish War Cry demonstrated he was by far the strongest victor on Super Saturday.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (22)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Keeneland Race track Schedule 2017

Keeneland is both a racecourse with a thoroughbred horse-racing facility, sales complex and reference library. It is operated by the Keeneland Association Inc., a company built and opened in 1936 in Lexington, Kentucky. One might know it as a National Historic Landmark, dubbed by the Horseplayer association…

May 24 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Analyzing the Biggest NHL Free Agents of 2017

Just a few short weeks ago, the 3pm deadline bell rang large and loud to signal the end of the NHL trade deadline. The moment marked the end of a frantic period of activity behind the closed doors of the National Hockey Leagues biggest teams, as managers worked frantically to secure the best possible…

May 22 | Categories: Sports, |
Lakers News

By Eric Avakian

Lakers News: Charles Barkley Gives Edge To LeBron James Over Kobe Bryant On One Condition

The Los Angeles Lakers have had many legendary players come through the organization, leaving lasting legacies and putting forth Hall-of-Fame resumes in the…

May 22 | Categories: Sports, |
NHL Rumors: Vancouver Canucks and the Tampa Bay Lightning

By Mark Easson

On the Vancouver Canucks …

Jeff Peterson of the Vancouver Province: Wonder if defenseman Alex Edler will think about this offseason that if he wants to win the Stanley Cup, it will likely have to be with a team other than the Canucks.

May 22 | Categories: Sports, |
Preakness News and Notes: 05.18.2017

Always Dreaming ‘Sitting on Go’ for Saturday’s Preakness
Classic Empire ‘Focused and Happy’ for Morning Gallop
Conquest Mo Money Changing Trainer’s Life

BALTIMORE – After training Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming early Thursday morning,…

May 18 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, |
Preakness: Post Position Draw Quotes

Trainer Todd Pletcher (Always Dreaming, PP No. 4; 4-5) – “Like I said before, I wasn’t overly concerned about where we drew. He was 4 in the Florida Derby, 5 in the Kentucky Derby. He’s generally a very alert horse away from the gate. He’s a good horse standing in the gate. I guess if you were…

May 18 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, |
Preakness News and Notes: 5.15.2017

Always Dreaming Shows His Pre-Derby Edge
Classic Empire Arrives, Settles In at Pimlico
Looking At Lee, Hence Breeze, Due to Arrive Tuesday

BALTIMORE – With a brief display of rambunctious behavior early Monday morning Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming…

May 15 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, |

ALWAYS DREAMING (1st)/TAPWRIT (6th)/PATCH (14th)– They were up and at ‘em early at the Todd Pletcher barn Sunday morning following the outfit’s smashing tally in Kentucky Derby 143 Saturday accomplished by the stable’s talented colt Always Dreaming.

“Dreaming” himself set the…

May 8 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, |
Kentucky Oaks Trainer Quotes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 5, 2017):

Bob Baffert, trainer of Abel Tasman (1st) -- “It’s just exciting to win the Kentucky Oaks. We’d like to have a horse in the Derby but I’m so happy for the China Horse Club. They trusted me with the filly. And ‘Big Money’ Mike (Smith),…

May 6 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Abel Tasman Rallies to win 143rd Longines Kentucky Oaks

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 5, 2017) – China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms’ Abel Tasman rallied from far back and then held off a late bid from Daddys Lil Darling by 1 ¼ lengths to win the 143rd running of the $1,000,000 Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) for 3-year-old fillies before a crowd…

May 6 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Abel Tasman Wins the 143rd Longines Kentucky Oaks

105,100 Brave Coldest Oaks Day Since 1940
Just Shy of Setting the All-Time All-Sources Wagering Record

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 5, 2017) – Fans braved an all-day rain and the coldest Oaks Day since 1940 as Abel Tasman captured the 143rd running of the $1 million Longines…

May 6 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Kentucky Derby Update with Post Position Draw Quotes 5/3


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, May 3, 2017)
– John Oxley’s Classic Empire was made the 4-1 morning-line favorite for Kentucky Derby 143 when post positions were drawn Wednesday morning…

May 4 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, |