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

Songbird’s absence makes Oaks a super betting race

Super filly Songbird will be missed in the Kentucky Oaks but her defection has created the best betting race of Derby weekend with a half-dozen or more possible favorites and a herd of live price horses. Even better, the Oaks is tied, as always, to the Derby in a double bet and with the Derby and Turf Classic in a pick three. The payoffs could be, as The Donald says, Y-U-U-U-G-E.




Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (10)
It’s up to players to make Canterbury takeout reduction succeed

Canterbury Park is taking a bold step to reduce its takeout to the lowest blended rate in North America. The experiment, which will be monitored closely by other jurisdictions, needs the support of simulcast players nationwide to succeed.

This could be a challenge considering the unfamiliarity of Canterbury's horses, jockeys and trainers. If nothing else, players should consider support of Canterbury this season to be an investment in the future, no matter where their major plays are.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (24)

The Pick Six Dinosaur and The Future of Exchange Wagering

ELMONT, NY, April 26, 2016 – The New York Racing Association's Pick Six is not yet dead but it's now struggling on life support. Once regarded as a major betting attraction of NYRA's racing day, the Pick Six has become a minor, almost irrelevant, wager.

The reason for this is obvious. The minimum betting unit is $2 while newer wagers, such as the popular Pick Four and Pick Five, have 50-cent minimums. The New York State Gaming Commission had a chance to correct this problem yesterday but failed to do so.

At their monthly meeting, members of the NYSGC attempted to standardized the rules governing the Pick Four, Pick Five and Pick Six. They were all introduced at different times and thus regulated differently.

The Pick Six would benefit from uniform rules concerning multiple race wagers in one way that the commission didn't consider. The New York Pick Six could have been heralded as unique if suddenly there were a 50-cent minimum like the Pick Four and Pick Five. Let everybody in the pool!


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (32)
NYRA Reprivatization? On Hold…Again

NEW YORK, NY, April, 12, 2016 - The New York Racing Association's Board of Directors today approved the presentation they were given by the state to reorganize the Board of Directors.

They shuffled the deck chairs and pretended not to know they were set up.

Then they knocked them down like dominoes.

Last year the state told the Board they would not go forward with privatization because they presented no plan to do so. This year they doubled down and voted to approve a proposal that again includes no plan for privatization.

There was no business plan, no projections, no statement of attainable goals, nothing. Just tacit approval by good soldiers of a proposal to keep them exactly where they are, under state control.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (20)

Canterbury Executives: Caballeros With Cojones

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 24, 2016--For once I won’t have to sound like a broken record; one that’s right twice a day (just checking to see if you're paying attention).

Indeed, for once, a racetrack brain trust is prescient and gutsy enough that its executives are willing to think outside the trifecta box and shake up the industry.

My sense of frustration with the modern game runs so high that when I read the news that Canterbury Downs was lowering parimutuel takeout to 15% in the straight pools and 18% in all multiples, I got a little emotional.

Then, at 72, which is the new 72, I reach for Kleenex every time a new Publix opens in my South Florida neighborhood.

If you think I’m being flippant or sarcastic here, slam the gavel down and convict me: Guilty as charged: 30 days. Step down; next case please.

I’ve been writing about the significance of takeout rates as the lifeblood of the game since the 1970s, when multiple bets were in their infancy and the New York Racing Association boldly experimented by lowering takeout on wagers from 17% to 14%.

Predictably, handle and attendance increased significantly--by 10-12%--but revenue didn’t rise at the same pace. The experiment wasn’t long enough, lasting little more than a year. NYRA was supposed to launch another but it never happened; likely didn’t fly in Albany.

Government thinking back then was so bass ackwards and regressive that the newly created Off-Track Betting Corporation had the gall to attach a 5% surcharge on winnings--which for a time was raised to 6%. In philosophical terms, very little has changed.



Written by John Pricci | Comments (25)
Best Betting Races Not Always in Bettor’s Best Interest

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 19, 2016—Even if “N.C.I.S.” were not the longest running drama on TV, I’ve seen it enough to know Gibbs Rule #39: “There is no such thing as coincidence.”

And, so, with a modicum of skepticism, I ask the following question: How did Ricardo Santana Jr. know enough to drop back to lonesome last, 14-3/4 lengths behind the leader according to the Equibase result chart?

Actually, it margin might have been more since the trackman there believed that Suddenbreakingnews was only a length back at the stretch call when it seemed to the eye to be more like, what three lengths?

But there is another issue that fascinates more. In his most improved recent starts, Creator has come from far off the pace but never as far back as 15 lengths at the first call as indicated in the Arkansas Derby official chart.

But then he never raced behind that fast an early pace in his entire two-turn career. There are two things about this:

Generally, pace moderates as the distances increase but not this time. In the 1-1/16 miles of the Rebel, the half-mile split was 46 4/5; in the 1-1/8 miles Arkansas Derby, Gettysburg went in early fractions in 46 1/5 after an opening gambit of 22 4/5--too fast for the distance this side of California.

And that’s where things got interesting.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (18)

Prep Season Over: Will Any Rival Beat Nyquist?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 17, 2016—The Kentucky Derby prep season is over, 24 glorious or humiliating results depending on which end of the wickets you landed.

And what have we learned from the Jerome to the Arkansas Derby and back again? That juvenile champion Nyquist remains atop his generation.

The presumption now is that, horrible post draw notwithstanding, Nyquist looks like a 2-1 favorite when the gates fly open for the feature race on May’s first Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Many colts have had their 15 minutes at center stage, the brightest light cast upon the formerly undefeated Mohaymen.

A popular racetrack axiom is it’s not how fast your run but how you run fast. But his first lifetime defeat was a mystery tour, and there was nothing magical about it.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (7)
Wood, Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby All Prove Useful Barometers

SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY, April 10,2016—The glamour division of Thoroughbred racing, Derby-aged colts, geldings—and fillies, too—put on quite of show in Saturday’s major races.

In addition, another potentially major three-year-old emerged in the seven furlong G3 Bay Shore, but Mark Berner will have more on Unified Tuesday.

[Mark earned that distinction by voting him 10th in last week’s HRI poll off a single six- furlong maiden win at Gulfstream. We hate show-offs].

Anyway, Saturday’s Super Prep Saturday, like all races, had their heroes and disappointments but I must say, on balance, there were more things to like than dislike.

Whether any or all of this, in addition to Saturday’s Arkansas Derby, ultimately results in the upending of the undeniable king of the three-year-old colts, Nyquist, is a query to be answered next month.

Another thing for certain is, the preps, whether they result in Triple Crown victories or defeats, keep the sport going at a lively and entertaining pace.

Here, then, including a thumbnail review of Saturday’s top performances, is HRI’s Triple Crown Power 10, Week 7:


Written by John Pricci | Comments (20)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Aktabantay Seeks Fast Track to Graded Success in G3 Miami Mile

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Aktabantay made the journey from England to Santa Anita in 2014 to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), only to be scratched due to an injury sustained in a stall mishap.

The British-bred colt didn’t get to compete in the $1 million race for 2-year-olds,…


Apr 28 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Update: Wednesday, April 27, 2016

UAE DERBY WINNER LANI PUTS IN 3-FURLONG BREEZE;
VENUS VALENTINE WORKS HALF-MILE FOR OAKS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, April 27, 2016)
– Koji Maeda’s Lani, winner of the UAE Derby (Group II) in his most recent start, worked three furlongs in :37.40 with blinkers on over a…


Apr 28 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Loki’s Vengeance seeks re-affirmation in Affirmed Success

ELMONT, N.Y. - Multiple stakes winner Loki's Vengeance returns to action Friday to defend his title against eight other New York-breds in the $100,000 Affirmed Success, the opening-day feature as Belmont Park begins its 54-day spring/summer meet.

First race post time is 1:30 p.m., with gates…


Apr 28 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Live racing returns to Belmont Park on April 29

Second annual Belmont Stakes Racing Festival set for June 9-11

ELMONT, N.Y. - Featuring the second annual Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, itself anchored by the 148th renewal of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11, live thoroughbred racing will return to Belmont…


Apr 28 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream News & Notes - Thu 4/21

Majesto Turns in Final Local Workout for May 7 Kentucky Derby
Florida Derby Runner-Up Breezes Mile at Gulfstream Park West
Cold Snack Thirty Kicks Off Juvenile Racing Season with a Victory

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Majesto was sent to the Gulfstream…


Apr 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream News & Notes - Wed 4/20

Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner Grand Tito Tops G3 Miami Mile Noms
Daring Kathy, Notte d’Oro among 18 Nominated to Powder Break
Smile Sprint, Princess Rooney Designated ‘Win & You’re In’ Races

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Grupo 7C Racing Stables’ Grand Tito is among…


Apr 20 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
MOHAYMEN FIRES BULLET

MO TOM, LANI WORK TOWARD DERBY 142

LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, April 20, 2016)
– Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen, who had his five-race unbeaten streak snapped in the Florida Derby (Grade I) in his most recent start, put in his first work at Churchill Downs Wednesday in preparation…


Apr 20 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
CREATOR PULLS THE UPSET IN THE ARKANSAS DERBY

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 16, 2016) – WinStar Farm’s Creator powered home from dead last in the field of 12 to pull off an upset in the 80th edition of the $1 million (G1) Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn in front of 65,000 people on-track Saturday, and in the process the colt created a guaranteed…


Apr 17 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Quotes from the $150,000 Lexington (G3)

Peter Fluor (partner in Speedway Stables, winning owner of Collected)

“I was very impressed with (the effort). (Trainer) Bob (Baffert) did a very good job getting him ready. Lot of good horses in the race.”

On whether the Preakness (G1) might be an option for the…


Apr 17 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Quotes for the $350,000 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1)

Mark Casse (winning trainer of Tepin)

On whether he feels pressure since everyone expects Tepin to perform so well
“A touch. But I have to say something. (Owner) Mr. (Robert) Masterson – if it wasn’t for him – everybody wouldn’t get to see the great Tepin. He wanted…


Apr 17 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 Solved for $618,643 Jackpot Friday with 20-cent Ticket

Winner Buys $10,000 Worth of 20-cent Tickets in Curacao
Saturday’s Late Pick 5 Offers $35,902 Carryover
Saturday’s First Race Features $2,274 Super Hi-5 Carryover
Castro, Gaffalione Each Guide Three into Winner’s Circle


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– The…


Apr 16 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Mark Casse Making Commitment to Gulfstream’s Year-Round Program

Veteran Trainer Setting Up 50-Horse Division for Spring, Summer Meets

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Trainer Mark Casse’s growing presence within the Thoroughbred racing world will expand to South Florida this spring and summer, when his stable will campaign a 50-horse division at Gulfstream…


Apr 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)