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.


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.
 
 


Latest Columns and Blogs

Seven Sophomores for Seven Elders

PLANTATION, FL., October 22, 2014—Considering the effect that the event has had on traditional Fall calendar of major stakes races, the Breeders’ Cup championships has come under closer scrutiny this year.

Prior to the advent of the event 30 years ago, races such as Belmont Park’s Jockey Club Gold Cup, Champagne and Frizette--to name just three noted Eastern-based fixtures-- would have been the conquests that would have helped define championships.

Races like these still help to decide which horses are worthy of best-in-show honors in their respective divisions, but since 1984 they no longer are the final word.

Presently, thanks to the vision of John Gaines and John Nerud, a little re-branding from Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and the growth of international racing, Thoroughbred’s crowning event continues to grow in stature and appeal.

Despite carding two less races and absent three injured champions that were expected to defend their titles, a record 201 horses, 61 Grade or Group 1 winners, including five in defense of their titles, were pre-entered Wednesday in Breeders’ Cup XXXI.

Final entries will be drawn Monday with 13 races scheduled for next Friday and Saturday; four on Friday and nine on championship Saturday.

The centerpiece Classic, expected to crown the 2014 Horse of the Year, will be broadcast in prime time Saturday on the NBC network starting at 8 p.m. ET.

All remaining races will be cablecast on the NBC Sports Network over the two-day span, and the HRTV racing network will broadcast every Breeders’ Cup race. As they say in TV land, check local times and listings.

Dubbed racing’s crowning event, this year’s Classic is appropriately named. What happens at 8:35 p.m. ET Saturday will determine not only three-year-old championship honors but a Horse of the Year title as well.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (1)
Perfect 10 Success a Longshot

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., October 19, 2014—Betting’s been in the news in recent days; all kinds of news, all kinds of bets, in all kinds of places. Let’s start here, or should I say west of here in Miami Gardens.

Gulfstream management is calling it the Perfect 10: 10 races, 10 winners, 10 percent takeout—10 winners, not 4, not 5, not 6, but 10?

I understand why Gulfstream is doing this. The Rainbow 6 proved such a promotionally successful, financial windfall that there may be more gold in them there multi-race hills.

And it was successful even after the minimum was raised to 20 cents, even the increase chased many rank and file players until the carryover reached such proportions that they felt compelled to jump back in, lured by four-figure consolations after the dead-money pool had reached seven figures.

This latest variation on the life-changing-score theme appears to be a trial balloon to see whether there’s another mother lode of handle out there.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)

A throwback to my previous life

What do racing fans do when they're not handicapping or betting? Probably 99% watch television. It's a slow week in racing, awaiting the Breeders' Cup pre-entries, so I'm going to digress one time only and go back to my previous life as a TV critic.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (6)
Tracks don’t know or care what bettors want

Racing has to be a great game to survive the people running it. Low minimum multi-race wagers are all the rage, so what do Belmont and Santa Anita do? They create the Coast to Coast double with a $2 minimum. It has received the frigid reception it deserves. Racing's leaders have identified drug abuse as the sport's biggest problem. But California and New York let serial drug offender Doug O'Neill off the hook with what amounts to less than a slap on the wrist. Also, the Racing Form, which should be serving its customers, repeatedly changes symbols for well known tracks to appease track operators while confusing bettors.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (44)

Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 23 to Oct 27

COLORADO over UCLA by 1

A victim of their own success – 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS in 2013 – the underachieving Bruins have been major money burners this season, bringing a 1-6 ATS mark into this contest. Highly-touted QB Brett Hundley has regained his aim since a Heisman-killing 48-yard passing performance against Texas in mid-September but the defense has gone into early hibernation, giving up 106 points in its last three games (1-2 SU). Who can forget UCLA head coach Jim Mora’s heated sideline argument with DC Jeff Ulbrich while Oregon put up 42 points in the Rose Bowl two weeks ago? Hey, the visitors’ 7-14 road chalk mark in their last 21 Pac-12 games does not look promising... nor does their 5-14-1 ATS mark, including 0-6-1 ATS as favorites of more than 6 points, in games after facing California. We won’t even mention that the Blue-and-Gold are just 1-6 ATS in games before facing their next opponent, Arizona! Colorado’s scoreboard results may not show it but the Buffs have improved by leaps and bounds in their third season under HC Mike MacIntyre, gaining 99 YPG more
on offense while yielding 34 YPG less on defense this season compared to last. Ralphie also gets the job done as a conference home dog of 14 or fewer points off back-to-back SU losses, going 9-4 SU and 10-3 ATS, and MacIntyre chips in with a 4-1-1 ATS effort against foes allowing 18.5 or more points per game. With Ralphie’s herd averaging a stout 31 PPG, we look for the Bruins to reach a Rocky Mountain low this afternoon in Boulder. To put the wraps on this bear trap, Marc’s ‘ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG’ system from the 2011 Black Book conveys The Clincher: College football road favorites off a win in which they allowed 30 or more points, who allow more than 29 PPG and 4.0 or more Yards Per Rush on the season, are 5-25-1 ATS in this role since 1980.


Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 16-20

NORTH CAROLINA over Georgia Tech by 6

Despite a monumental effort in last week’s 50-43 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend, USA Today Sports has still picked North Carolina as 2014’s biggest disappointment: “After tabbing UNC as a potential ACC and major bowl contender – again – perhaps we’ve all learned our lesson.” Okay, we’ll admit the Tar Heels have failed to git ‘er done under HC Larry Fedora but if anyone’s going to be down in the dumps at Chapel Hill today, our vote goes to the Bumble Bees. Thanks to three huge turnovers in their loss to Duke (Tech had turned the ball over just four times in their fi rst fi ve games), the Jackets are an offi cial ‘Bubble Burster’ (5-0 or greater perfect season ruined in a straight-up favorite loss) and we’re not going to try an revive them. Meanwhile, the 2-4 Tar Heels fi nd themselves in an eerily similar situation to last year when they posted five consecutive SU wins after a 1-5 start to qualify for the Belk Bowl. Fedora owns a stylish 5-1 ATS mark versus a foe off a SU favorite loss and his Heels have gone 4-0 ATS of late as home dogs versus an .800 or better opponent. No doubt the visitors will get their yards as Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense should move the ball against a UNC ‘D’ allowing 192 rushing YPG but with the Wreck now 1-4 ATS in the first of back-to-back road games – plus 2-7 ATS after dealing with Duke – we’ll look for Carolina to fully awaken from its season-long slumber and take a big step toward becoming bowl eligible. Whether the spread is pick, plus or even minus, we’re sticking with the Tar Heels.


Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)

Gingras looks at Fall Four Stakes

By Ken Weingartner
Harness Racing Communications/USTA

After guiding Lyons Again to his first career win in his Governor’s Cup elimination at Woodbine last weekend, driver Yannick Gingras believes it is just the start for the 2-year-old male pacer.

Gingras arrived at Woodbine last Friday and Saturday with plenty of firepower for the Fall Four Stakes for 2-year-old pacers and trotters, and it all fired. He drove horses in all eight Fall Four eliminations, posting five wins, two second-place finishes and one fourth.

In addition to winning with Lyons Again, Gingras picked up victories in both eliminations for the Goldsmith Maid, with female trotters Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover, a win in the Three Diamonds with female pacer JK She’salady, and a triumph in the Valley Victory with male trotter Habitat.

He finished second with Three Diamonds contender Band Of Angels and runner-up with Governor’s Cup hopeful Blood Brother. His fourth-place finish was with Pinkman in the Valley Victory elims.

The Fall Four Stakes finals, worth a total of nearly C$2 million, are Saturday at Woodbine.

Lyons Again was the longest shot driven by Gingras, at 14-1, but his Governor’s Cup elimination win from post nine by three-quarters of a length over Traceur Hanover in 1:52.4 was not a complete surprise.

“He was a longshot for everybody (else) but I’ve really, really liked this colt,” Gingras said. “He’s really been a bridesmaid, always finishing second or third, but he ran into a really sharp horse in Artspeak early in the year. There’s no shame in finishing second to him, as sharp as he was.”

A son of Dragon Again-A Filly To Fear owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound, Lyons Again has one win, four seconds and two thirds in eight starts. Three times he hit the board in races won by Artspeak, with two runner-up finishes, and once he finished second to Yankee Bounty. Artspeak and Yankee Bounty are harness racing’s two richest 2-year-old male pacers and have combined to win 15 of 18 races.

Lyons Again, who finished third in the Metro Pace and has earned $161,687 this year, was not eligible to the Grand Circuit races at The Red Mile in Lexington, so the colt enjoyed a six-week layoff following his second-place finish in a division of the Champlain Stakes on Sept. 6 at Mohawk.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Ron Burke Keeps Breaking Earnings Records

By Ken Weingartner

With the record for purses in the bank and 11 weeks remaining on the calendar, trainer Ron Burke is now left to contemplate how much his stable can increase its earnings before the end of the year.

Burke, who in 2013 became the first trainer to eclipse $20 million in a season -- finishing the campaign with $22.23 million, moved $9,333 beyond that figure this year thanks to earning $11,750 at Yonkers Raceway on Monday night. His stable broke last year’s mark when pacer Rockstar Temper won the sixth race.

“It’s neat because coming into this year I thought we might not be able to reach that,” Burke said. “Now to reach it this early, you wonder how far you can go. The next mark is 25 (million dollars). There’s not a ton of stakes races left, but there’s enough that if we can put together a run, maybe we could do 25.”

Last year, Burke’s horses won 25 races worth at least $100,000. This season, the “Burke Brigade” has captured 38 races worth at least $100,000. Among those victories were 3-year-old pacer JK Endofanera in the North America Cup, 5-year-old pacer Sweet Lou in the Ben Franklin Pace and William R. Haughton Memorial, 3-year-old pacer Limelight Beach in the Little Brown Jug, and 2-year-old trotter Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle.

He also won four New York Sire Stakes championships, plus two sire stakes crowns each in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and one in New Jersey.

Written by HRI Publisher | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
HRTV TO PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE LIVE COVERAGE OF BREEDERS’ CUP

All Races, Except Classic, to Air Live on HRTV During Two-Day Cup

Arcadia, CA, Oct. 21, 2014-- HRTV (R), The Network for Horse Sports, will present comprehensive live coverage leading into, and continuing through, the 31st running of the Breeders' Cup, Thoroughbred racing's most prestigious…


Oct 22 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Keeneland Statement Regarding Kentucky Race Dates:

Keeneland understands and appreciates the conflicting interests and priorities that have resulted in the recommended schedule of racing dates for the late summer and early fall of 2015. While we accept the decision of the Race Dates Committee for the coming year, the Commission needs to know that we…


Oct 21 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
SHARED BELIEF DRILLS IN 1:14 2/5 FOR $5 MILLION BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC

ALBANY, Calif. -- Shared Belief, in his longest workout leading up to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, drilled six furlongs in 1:14 2/5 handily on Golden Gate Fields’ Tapeta racing surface Tuesday.

Shared Belief will be the favorite in the Grade 1 Classic, the main event of the…


Oct 21 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Receives Record 5,356 Stall Applications for Winter Season

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park announced today it received a record 5,356 applications for the 3,800 stalls available at Gulfstream, Palm Meadows and Gulfstream Park West for its Championship Meet.

The Championship Meet, which begins Dec. 6, will feature 67 stakes races - 37 graded…


Oct 21 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Empire Classic Handicap (NYB) Quotes

Jimmy Jerkens, winning trainer of Effinex (No. 5): "Today he ran with [Twinspires.com Wood Memorial winner] Wicked Strong's blinkers, the same little black ones [Punkin Pie winner] Classic Point wore. Since I've gotten him, he's gotten stronger. He ran very well in Saratoga. We didn't have a lot of time…


Oct 19 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Empire Distaff (NYB) Quotes

Mike Hushion, winning trainer of Princess Violet (No. 5): "It was sweet. She relaxed better than ever and when [jockey Jose Ortiz] stepped on the gas, she came on. It was perfect; pretty simple. We didn't really want her on the lead because we were afraid someone would take premature runs at her, so…


Oct 19 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
$25,000 Pick 10 To Be Unveiled Monday At Gulfstream Park West

10-Cent Wager with 10-Percent Takeout Can Only Be Played On Next Four Mondays

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park West announced today it will offer a 10-cent Pick 10 with a guaranteed jackpot of $25,000 during the next four Monday programs at the Fall Turf Festival.

The…


Oct 17 | Categories: Gulfstream West, | Comments (0)
Maryland Million News

NOT FOR LOVE TOPS STALLION LIST FOR TOMORROW’S MARYLAND MILLION

LAUREL, MD. 10-17-14---Introduced in 1986, the Jim McKay Maryland Million, a program of races restricted to the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, continues to receive strong support from Maryland's extensive breeding…


Oct 17 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
Flag Flies Half-Mast to Honor Memory of Juan Saez

Flag Flies Half-Mast and Jockeys Wear Black Caps at Gulfstream Park West to Honor Memory of Juan Saez


MIAMI GARDENS, FL -- Gulfstream Park West honored the memory of jockey Juan Saez Thursday, when the U.S. flag in the infield flew at half-mast during the 10-race program. The jockeys…


Oct 17 | Categories: Gulfstream West, | Comments (0)
Maryland Million News

THREE LOOKING FOR REPEAT PERFORMANCES IN SATURDAY’S MARYLAND MILLION

LAUREL, MD. 10-16-14---Twenty-nine horses have won more than one Maryland Million event. Seven former winners are entered Saturday afternoon at Laurel Park, including three runners looking for repeat victories: Eighttofasttocatch…


Oct 17 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
SHARED BELIEF CONTINUES PREPARATION FOR CLASSIC

SHARED BELIEF CONTINUES PREPARATION FOR CLASSIC
WITH SHARP FIVE-FURLONG DRILL AT GOLDEN GATE FIELDS


ALBANY, Calif. -- Shared Belief, who is expected to be favored in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 1, continued his preparation for the 1 1/4-mile…


Oct 14 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
$50,000 Guaranteed Pool in Thursday’s Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park West

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - Gulfstream Park West's 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a guaranteed pool of $50,000 when racing resumes Thursday.

The Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot is paid out only when there is a single ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of…


Oct 14 | Categories: Gulfstream West, | Comments (0)