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.


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

Triumph and Near Tragedy at Charles Town

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 19, 2015—Wish I could celebrate Moreno’s record-setting victory in Saturday’s Charles Town Classic but I really can’t, for obvious reasons.

We’re happy, of course, early indications are that Shared Belief’s stifle injury, likely the product of his troubled start, is not career threatening.

We wrote in advance of the Classic about how it was a prep for a far more prestigious event against tougher competition than those he faced at Charles Town.

Clearly, we underrated Moreno, ideally suited by the bull ring’s tight turns and speedy nature of Saturday’s surface.

But we were correct about something else--our being the possible bacio della morte notwithstanding--stating: “You never want to get too far ahead of yourself in this game.”

Maybe that’s what Shared Belief had in mind in Charles Town, West Virginia; let’s get out of this gate as fast as possible and get this thing over with.

“He just seemed to slip in behind,” was Hall of Famer Mike Smith’s observation. We’ll take him at his word.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer indicated Sunday that the gelding will undergo a nuclear scan to determine the extent of the hind-end injury, reporting that Shared Belief was walking sound Sunday morning.

In any case it was a stutter-step start, hopping instead of striding out in those first early jumps and, just like that, he was about three lengths behind the group and seriously compromised.

Then, almost immediately, came the first of three turns, which was more problematic for Shared Belief than usual, considering the circumstances.

The champ, his connections and the public that made him their 3-to-10 choice, certainly deserved a better fate.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)
H Allen Jerkens: Humble Greatness

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla., March 20, 2015—The news that The Chief passed away yesterday was not unexpected. I asked his son how his dad was doing when I saw him in the Gulfstream paddock last Saturday. “He’s in rough shape,” Jimmy Jerkens said.

Infections at the age of 85 are not trifling things, and while he died in a hospital in South Florida, it could not have been more appropriate that the news was broken to me via a New York Racing Association press release.

He loved New York and he loved New York racing. Oh, he spent his winters in South Florida but most years, the glory years, he came for the season and not a reason. He knew the horses needed some down time. So do legendary horsemen.

Then, when he returned to New York in the spring, his horses would run right off the television screen.

You likely will read this everywhere so you might as well read it here, too. The sport will never see his kind again.

The Charleys, the Woodys, and now the Chief; they’re all gone. They’re part of racing’s past, a legacy that will not be shared someday by the successful corporate trainers that dominate today’s national stage.

Losing the Chief is more than the end of an era. A sport struggling to maintain its relevancy lost more than that yesterday. This wasn’t death by a thousand tiny cuts, something the game has struggled with; this is one giant loss.

Better still, the loss of a giant.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)

Derby points should play a creative new role

Dortmund and Materiality have never lost. American Pharoah and Carpe Diem are unbeaten this year. But one of the top Kentucky Derby contenders could have his first defeat sealed before he steps onto the track. Whoever draws the No. 1 post is all but eliminated. This should not be the fate of any serious horse. Let one of the under-achievers swallow the poison pill. An easy way to accomplish this would be to have the connections pick their posts in the order of the points they have earned.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (56)
Arkansas Derby might be rare case of ‘It’s not about the money” being the truth


The Arkansas Derby figures to be a well endowed public workout for American Pharoah, "a spectacular, spectacular horse," in the words of Justin Zayat, who manages his father's racing operation. For the others, the final major Kentucky Derby prep is an opportunity to grab enough of the minor share points to earn a berth in the Churchill Downs starting gate.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (4)

All Hail Conquering Pharoah


SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY, April 12, 2015—That’s it, right? All done? No more preps?

Finally, just two weeks of “just what we wanted, well within himself, couldn’t be doing any better” workouts leading up to the big dance and all that’s left is the betting.

Yes, being a little facetious because workouts at Churchill Downs do mean a lot: If it were possible, you could have asked Charlie Whittingham. Now you could speak with Carl Nafzger, or Graham Motion, or… But first things first:

Commented on a thread here that I wanted to see another dimension, and I did: I see the immediate future up ahead. It’s like you’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.

It’s a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Tri-light Zone.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)
Start Spreading the News: Get With the Program


SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY, April 7, 2015: California maybe be dominating the top of the HRI Kentucky Derby Power 10, and everyone else’s list, too, but never before this late in the prep season have New York-breds been in such a lofty position among the Derby elite.

Maybe it’s all that love emanating from a recent return to Queens where yellow cabs are now an outer-borough lime green and 5-time NBA All-Star Chris Mullin is poised to bring pride back to his once storied alma mater.

And it didn’t snow over the weekend, so life here is good.

In any case, just a mention that there are two New York-breds among the HRI Power 10 with a third, Saturday’s Wood Memorial runner-up Tencendur, on the AEs waiting to break in.

Holy Funny Cide!


Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)

Will Fortune Finally Smile on Advocate Upstart Violette?

Though April fouls
Have come your way
You've got the points
To run in May

So keep campaigning
And have no regrets
Because Upstart will start
For horseman Violette


LOS ANGELES, April 9, 2015--New York Thoroughbred Horsemen Association President, New York Racing Association Board member, and 2015 Kentucky Derby contender-qualifying trainer, Rick Violette, Jr., is leaving the Sunshine State – and its apparent disdain for snowbirding New Yorkers – as potentially a newly-minted horseplayer advocate.

It may turn out that horseplayer advocate is a be too optimistic, but Violette's apparent concern for racing's customers was quoted in a text to HRI’s executive editor John Pricci and later at Daily Racing Form: '"It's disappointing that as hard as [president] Tim Ritvo and [general manager] P.J. Campo are working to raise the standard of Gulfstream racing they will not be successful as long as they have the incompetence in the judge's stand and the maintenance of their racetrack," Violette said. "Nobody should feel confident with those people overseeing the racing product, especially the horse player."'

While Violette's remarks in the wake of a double dose of disqualification dispensing from both sides of the same offense may not merit induction into the Sportsman’s Hall of Shame, they do speak for having greater transparency and competency in the future.


Written by Indulto | Comments (2)
A Quixotic Quest for Quality via Quantity

LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2015--The strategy of saturating selected Saturdays with graded stakes seems to be gaining strength within several racetrack ownership domains.

It appears to be succeeding in increasing the sport's exposure as well as the handle generated on those dates, but it remains to be seen whether interest in betting on thoroughbred races has actually been expanded in the process--and if total overall handle has increased as a result.

Santa Anita Handicap day has traditionally been an exercise in stakes-stacking but with somewhat static results. Approximately 5,000 more people came out to watch Shared Belief demolish a less than stellar field in the Santa Anita Handicap last Saturday than came to see him face off with California Chrome in the San Antonio Handicap four weeks earlier.

But that was still almost 15,000 fewer than the 40,810 who showed up on opening day to see him narrowly defeat an unheralded band of sprinters in the Malibu.

However, this was about 1,000 less than the 27,121 at last year's Big Cap for the anticipated rematch between Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge that turned out to be Game On Dude's finale, too. Both year's all-sources handle was just under $15 million.


Written by Indulto | Comments (2)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Quotes from the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn (G2)

Sandy Adkins (assistant to Gerry Aschinger, winning trainer of Dramedy)

On the decision to run Dramedy at 1½ miles for the first time
“Every time he’s run, he’s closed at the end and been hard to pull up after going a mile, a mile and a sixteenth. So a mile and a half was perfect.…


Apr 19 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Woodhaven Quotes

David Donk, winning trainer of Vision Perfect (No. 4): "It was a very gutsy, game performance off the layoff. He didn't have to win, but we're pretty pleased that he did. He's matured and filled out a bit [since his 2-year-old season], which is nice to see. It's been a little bit of a tough spring because…


Apr 19 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream News & Notes - Sat 4/18

Florida Derby Hero Materiality Tunes Up With ‘Super’ 5F Breeze
Stablemates Stanford, Itsaknockout, Competitive Edge Also Work
Oasis At Midnight Seeks Relief in Sunday’s Sand Dollar Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Alto Racing’s Materiality, who captured the $1 million…


Apr 18 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Distaff (G2) Quotes

Linda Rice, winning trainer of La Verdad (No. 4): "I wasn't happy when I saw [Aireofdistinction] coming after her early, and they were going pretty fast. I was a little concerned that was going to make it a real test on her fitness, but her ability is the key. She's got a lot of talent and is able to…


Apr 18 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
Keeneland Barn Notes for April 18

• TOYOTA BLUE GRASS WINNER CARPE DIEM WORKS HALF-MILE IN :48
• HILLIARD LYONS DOUBLEDOGDARE TOP THREE EXIT RACE WELL
• CHIEF ISTAN DOING WELL MORNING AFTER EYE-POPPING FRIDAY SCORE
• DRAMEDY GOING THE DISTANCE IN DIXIANA ELKHORN
• WORK TAB
• GALLOPING OUT

Apr 18 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Tenfold increase in 123racing wager handle online

15th April 2015, Alpharetta, Georgia (Press Release) – 123gaming Inc. the gaming technology developer reported that 123bet.com its online wagering destination, which began marketing to the general public in mid-September as the first home of the 123racing Pick6 wager online in the US, delivered more…


Apr 16 | Categories: 123Bet, | Comments (0)
Keeneland Barn Notes for April 15

• PLETCHER SCHEDULES SUNDAY WORK FOR TOYOTA BLUE GRASS WINNER CARPE DIEM
• UNITARIAN GOES FOR REPEAT IN SATURDAY’S DIXIANA ELKHORN
• DECEPTIVE VISION RETURNS TO THE DIRT FOR 2015 DEBUT IN FRIDAY’S HILLIARD LYONS DOUBLEDOGDARE
• UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES
• SPRING…


Apr 16 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Stellar Path heads field set for Plenty of Grace

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Originally scheduled for April 12, the $100,000 Plenty of Grace for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at One mile is now set to be run Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack. The first turf stakes race of the Spring meet at the Big A, the Plenty of Grace drew a field of eight runners.

Apr 16 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
Keeneland Barn Notes for April 14

• HILLIARD LYONS DOUBLEDOGDARE ATTRACTS FIELD OF NINE
• SAHAM TAKES STEP UP IN WEDNESDAY’S RESCHEDULED TRANSYLVANIA PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT
• UPCOMING STAKES PROBABLES
• SPRING MEET LEADERS




Apr 15 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Quotes from the $300,000 Jenny Wiley (G1)

Chad Brown (winning trainer of Ball Dancing)

On rival Filimbi making move around the far turn to challenge Ball Dancing
“I could tell (jockey) Javier (Castellano) really didn’t want to move at that point but luckily (with) his great instincts he felt them coming and put (Filimbi)…


Apr 12 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
$1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes

Bob Baffert, 1st, American Pharoah: "He's amazing horse. With the way he works, he's always been a professional horse from the start. We were hoping he could do something like that and he showed it today. We're so excited about him."

In rating off the pace today instead of setting it: "He's…


Apr 12 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
$1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes

Bob Baffert, 1st, American Pharoah: "He's amazing horse. With the way he works, he's always been a professional horse from the start. We were hoping he could do something like that and he showed it today. We're so excited about him."

In rating off the pace today instead of setting it: "He's…


Apr 12 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)