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'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

Kentucky Derby Lives Up to Hype…and Then Some

HALLANDALE, FL, May 3, 2015—Despite the negativity surrounding the industry and the efforts of a handful of stakeholders to agree to disagree, the horses and the game’s special events always wind up saving the day.

Aided by great local weather and positive publicity about the talent and depth in the 2015 class of sophomore equines, records for both attendance and handle were shattered.

But in the final analysis, God bless the Thoroughbred.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (2)
If Baffert Runs 1-2 in Derby 141, What Then?

PLANTATION, FL., APRIL 27, 2015—Here we are, Derby Week 141, and I still can’t conjure up a field with more brilliance, potential greatness, this rich in talent. There are five days remaining now so no defections, please.

One or more of these colts, headed by American Pharoah, might be one of the ones of history, but I do not deign to call any one of them a special horse. All Thoroughbreds are special.

And, besides, any trainer who stands in front of a microphone or notepad this week will say that his horse is special, whether he is or not: There are owners to cajole, after all.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)

Oaks Lessons for Derby Players

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 1, 2015—Witnessed by the largest crowd ever to attend the running of the storied Kentucky Oaks, Johnny Velazquez was asked post-race to describe his trip aboard sixth place finisher Angela Renee.

“Down the lane the first time she was perfect,” he said. “The way she was running around there, I was thinking they were going to have to run hard to pass her. But at the quarter pole, she just didn’t fire. It was bizarre."

Bizarre, which was kind of the way the whole day played out for some of us. The Churchill Downs surface appeared a little quirky yesterday. Speed did well, the inside seemed better than the outside, yet it was demanding.

Stalkers were in the best position to win throughout the afternoon, and if the winner did come from off the pace, it had to make a mid-race move, saving ground at some point along the way. Wide trippers just seemed to flounder out there.

And apparently, the kickback was vicious as the fast surface cupped out beneath the hooves of the horses. Trips are almost always important; on Oaks day it was everything.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Is It Post Time Yet?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 30, 2015—For the most part, the avalanche of information and storylines has abated, but then news never takes a holiday, does it?

Stanford is leaving Dodge and headed to Baltimore for the Preakness; Frammento is leaving the Also-Eligibles and entering the Churchill Downs starting gate.

Goodbye speed, hello closer; goodbye LA, hello Louisville for Mr. Nakatani.

However, we feel we owe the HRI faithful a very quick look at the Derby field after the draw, so, here goes:

1-Ocho Ocho Ocho (50-1): Should be named Seis, Seis, Seis, given a hell of a post draw. Was up against it before. Now? Fuhgedaboudit.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)

At the prices, ‘the other Baffert’ is the Derby bet

This is the deepest Kentucky Derby field in memory. I couldn't reduce it to less than nine who could win without shocking me. Ergo, it makes no sense to take a short price on American Pharoah. There's a saying that you should never bet a horse to do something he hasn't done before. Dortmund, "the other Baffert" has never lost. Neither has Materiality but there's that curse of Apollo to consider.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (13)
Top of racing loaded again but there’s trouble below

The 3-year-old crop of 2014 was exceptional. This year's group has shown the potential to be as good or better. Below the surface things are not as rosy as they will seem next Saturday.New Jersey racing is in jeopardy because its breeding program has all but evaporated. With casino subsidies being threatened in other states, this could be a preview of things to come. Like America, racing is in danger of losing its middle class.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (13)

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)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, May 3, 2015) – To set the stage for his press conference Sunday morning to reflect on this fourth victory, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert brought the star of the 141st Kentucky Derby -- American Pharoah -- out of the barn to pose for the cameras.

Bribing him…

May 3 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)

Victor Espinoza, jockey of American Pharoah, winner – “I feel like the luckiest Mexican on Earth. He has been a special horse since the first time I rode him. He has a lot of talent and is an unbelievable horse. Turning for home I started riding a little harder. At the eighth pole, I just couldn’t…

May 3 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)

Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah, winner/Dortmund, third – “We were ready to rumble. Since their last works I was hearing how good they were and I was hoping it would come true. I felt very confident going in.”

May 3 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes: Sunday, May 3

• Tonalist earns career-best 111 Beyer for G3 Westchester win; on target for G1 Met Mile
• Frosted exits Derby fourth-place finish in fine fettle Belmont could be next
• Fields taking shape for Saturday stakes

May 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Breaking: Scratch #7 El Kabeir from Kentucky Derby

Trainer John Terranova has notified Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards that #7 El Kabeir has been scratched from Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Post position No. 1 will be left open (no horse) and all others will slide down with no gaps. Program numbers do not change.

May 1 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby 141 Update - 5/1


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 1, 2015) – Scratch time for the 141st Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) passed at 9 a.m. Friday with no further defections from Saturday’s field thus leaving…

May 1 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw Quotes


Ocho Ocho Ocho (Post position 1, morning line 50-1) – Jim Cassidy (trainer) – “It is what it is. It’s a tough spot but what are you going to do? My plan, to be honest with you, is still to take hold and sit in the second flight. I’ve…

Apr 30 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks 141 Update - 4/29


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, April 29, 2015) – Godolphin Racing’s Wood Memorial (GI) winner Frosted and Ralph Evans’ ultra-consistent Upstart made their initial morning training appearances at Churchill Downs Wednesday.…

Apr 29 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks 141 Update


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, April 28, 2015) – UAE (GII) winner Mubtaahij (IRE) got his first sample of the racing surface at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning, a day after arriving from Arlington.…

Apr 29 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks 141 Update


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, April 27, 2015) – Zayat Stables’ El Kabeir and WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables’ Carpe Diem arrived at Churchill Downs early this…

Apr 28 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Record Single-Day Rainbow 6 Handle Generates Multiple $14,592 Payoffs

$5.6 Million Bet into $1.4 Million Carryover
Sunday Super Hi 5 Carryover $20,365.16

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park's mandatory payout of its 20-cent Rainbow 6 resulted in a total pool of $7.125 million Saturday, producing multiple-winning tickets each returning $14,504.92.

Apr 26 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Upstart, Frosted Conduct Final Pre-Derby Breezes at Palm Meadows

Triple Crown Contenders Each Breeze 5-furlongs in South Florida

Upstart Records Bullet in 59.95 seconds; Frosted Clocks in at 1:01.10

BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Triple Crown contenders Upstart and Frosted took the track just after 8:00 a.m. Saturday at Gulfstream’s satellite…

Apr 25 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)