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

Pa. Derby no walkover for California Chrome

Bob Baffert's decision to ship Bayern to the Pennsylvania Derby changes what loomed to be a richly paid workout for California Chrome into a real race. The Kentucky Derby winner will still be odds-on but the possibility of Bayern getting loose on an easy lead as he did in the Haskell adds intrigue to this weekend's most important race.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (18)
3-year-olds in Horse of Year race for a change

Three-year-old males dominate the racing scene most of the year but recently they have fallen off the radar screen when Horse of the Year has been at stake in the fall. It has been seven years since Curlin won the top prize as a 3-year-old. Shared Belief and California Chrome appear poised to break that streak.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (18)

Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Sept. 19-22

Georgia Tech over VA TECH by 8

We’re going to put both feet in as our version of the ‘Hokie-Pokie’ has the revenge-minded Yellow Jackets (lost 17-10 last season in Atlanta as 6.5-point favorites) putting a sting on Beamer’s boys. We’re not sure if the Hokies are over the sting the Pirates handed them last week but it really doesn’t matter as the Techsters from Virginia have been a good dog/bad favorite proposition of late. Upset wins at Ohio State, Miami and Georgia Tech the past two seasons have been tainted by a recent 4-13-1 ATS mark as chalk, including 0-5 ATS the last fi ve. It also doesn’t help that the Hokies are just 1-3 ATS in conference home games of a SU home loss and 2-4 ‘ITS’ since the end of last season. The SMART BOX also attaches itself to the rushing juggernaut known as Georgia Tech as it fades the host in a damaging Game Four spot. As does recent history, which shows the series visitor checking in with a spotless 4-0 ATS log since 2010. So with the Square, series history and the revenge factor all on our side, there’s really not much more needed to ‘shake it all about’ and back a Ramblin’ Wreck squad that showed some moxie last week after blowing a 25-point lead before coming back to defeat Georgia Southern. But it sure doesn’t hurt having The Clincher: Paul Johnson is 17-2 ATS as a dog in his career in games versus an opponent off a SU loss.


Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Sept 11--15

TEXAS STATE over Navy by 3

We’ll gun for our third straight winning Upset Game by backing a veteran head coach who knows his way around today’s role. Not only is Texas State’s Dennis Franchione 4-1 ATS versus military schools, he’s also on an impressive 19-6 ATS run as a dog versus foes off a SUATS win – including 6-0 ATS in non-conference clashes! If you’re a fan of the forward pass, you may as well switch to another channel: Ken Niumatalolo’s land-loving Swabbies have rushed for 857 combined yards in the season’s first two contests while TSU rambled for 378 overland yards in last week’s 65-0 walkover win against creampuff Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Translation? Expect to see a ton of rushing yards and a shortened game clock. Navy brings a not-so-seaworthy 0-6 ATS log as a double-digit favorite versus a foe off a SU win into the port of San Marcos today. And a glance at page 3 tells us the visitors have fallen out of favor with our very own SMART BOX, which usually spells big trouble for the offender. With assistance from the Capable Cube, we’re off and running with the Bobcats. And if that’s not enough, there is always The Clincher: Since 1991, there have been just seven teams to open the season on a neutral field and then go on the road in their next two contests. All seven teams lost straight-up in Game Three, while going 0-5 SUATS in lined matchups.

West Virginia over MARYLAND by 4

We’re not exactly sure what goes on at the West Virginia state fair but it’s a good bet that the kissin’ cousins booth is the most popular. It’s a better bet that the Terrapins won’t post a second straight victory after committing six turnovers. Yes, Maryland turned over the ball six times last week against USF and somehow left Tampa with a SU win. That won’t happen today – not with the Mountaineers looking to avenge a 37-0 whitewashing they suffered last year in Baltimore. And not with the Terps now 1-7 ATS at home versus an opponent with revenge and 1-6 ATS their last seven as home chalk. We expect QB Clint Trickett (720 passing yards) and a vastly-improved WVU offense to make amends for last season’s beating and improve to 8-1 SU overall in the series and 4-0 SU in College Park since 2004. So before this long-running rivalry disappears (the series ends in 2017 with Maryland now in the Big 10 and WVU deeply entrenched in the Big 12), step right up and place your bet (i.e. grab the points) before they kiss this rivalry good-bye.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

The Spotlight Belonged to Limelight Beach.

By Ken Weingartner

Limelight Beach entered Thursday’s $647,500 Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old pacers winless in 12 starts this year, but the past meant nothing at the Delaware County Fair. Limelight Beach swept two heats to capture the Jug trophy, winning his elimination in 1:51 and taking the final in 1:50.4.

The victory gave trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras their first Jug champion. Limelight Beach won the 69th Little Brown Jug, presented by Fazoli’s, by 1-1/2 lengths over Let’s Drink On It, with Gingras pumping his fist triumphantly at the wire.

"This horse came up huge today," Gingras said. "He went two big, big heats. We kind of got lucky a little bit in the first heat, there was a seam there and I was able to take it, but he came back the second heat and he was scary. He had plenty left."

Limelight Beach drew post No. 1 for the second heat and took advantage of the starting spot, blasting to the front and controlling the action from there. Let’s Drink On It and driver Tyler Smith, who won the Jug’s other first-round elimination, got away second from post two but would get no closer the rest of the way.

Let’s Drink On It ended up second. Somewhere In L A -- who tried to collar Limelight Beach with a first-over move on the backstretch -- finished third and At Press Time was fourth.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Owner Enjoying the Ride with Jugette Starter Lady Shadow

By Ken Weingartner

Although he is still relatively new as an owner, Lindsey Rankin understands how rare it is to find a top racehorse. So he is trying to enjoy the ride with Lady Shadow to the fullest.

Lady Shadow is among 22 horses in Wednesday’s $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The field was divided into three eliminations, from which the top three in each will advance to the same-day final.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

What’s the Better Bet: Horses or Sports?

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, September 12, 2014---Our friends next door in the Garden State New have been making wagering news of late.

What with New Jersey’s fiscal crisis and recent credit downgrade, Governor Chris Christie, coincidentally or not, has decided to roll the dice—those that remain—on sports betting.

Legalizing marijuana would have been far more profitable and probably would have a better chance to be ignored when it comes to the enforcement of federal law.

But the sports leagues lobby is very strong and they are against legalized gambling. The leagues cite the “integrity of the competition” and they correctly figure that the courts will favor the power of corporations over the power to the people.

"Ignoring federal law, rather than working to reform federal standards, is counter to our democratic traditions and inconsistent with the Constitutional values,” Christie wrote when he vetoed proposed sports gambling legislation.

Of course, he’s really no different from most pols. Doesn’t it always work like this? You’re for something until you’re against it but now you’re for it again.

We’re sure legislators from all over the U.S. are shocked to learn there’s gambling going on in the sports world. The hypocrisy from all levels of government to the leagues themselves is as astounding as it is predictable.

For about a month, my local radio sports station, WOFX-980 AM, has been running ads about fantasy football, to the effect that “you don’t have to wait until season’s end to see if you won because there’s a new cash contest every week.”

I guess the authorities figure it’s just like betting on the horses, only with people.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)
We’re Not Guests, We’re Customers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, September 8, 2014--I’m a Bill Shanklin fan and have been for some time. A creative Lexington-based marketer, some of the more inventive ideas I have encountered in this business seems to have originated with him.

This time, however, I think he missed the mark. Oh, he’s correct when he posits that racing needs to cultivate the horseplayer but, if takeout is the issue, his focus is on the wrong type of player.

His idea of the ideal target, the whale, has no incentive to see takeout lowered since the high rates in place ultimately fuel his rebates.

If takeouts were lowered across the board, increased participation would affect the nigh-volume bettor in a more meaningful way because “square money” would be back in play.

Fresh betting capital would allow the deep-pocketed player to make up for smaller rebates because his expertise and bankroll leverage could buy more big-payout pools, especially fueled by carryovers.

Lower takeout, in addition to keeping active players liquid longer, would give way to marketing campaigns that attract new bettors who don’t mind mixing a little intellect with their action.

But until the current customer base is maintained and new ones are created, added liquidity won’t happen, and whales will begin to cannibalize each other, a process already underway.

As this trend continues and grows, when the whale’s perceived edge becomes smaller and smaller, they’ll move on to the next big gambling scheme.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (29)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Gulfstream Park News & Notes - 9/17

Undefeated Atreides Breezes Easy Half for Likely Run in Indiana Derby
Ohio Derby Winner East Hall Also Probable for Indiana Derby
Wildcat Red Departs to Remington for Run in Oklahoma Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Stonestreet Stables’ Atreides breezed a half-mile in 50.63…


Sep 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
GULFSTREAM TODAY 9.14

20-Cent Rainbow 6 Survives A Close Call on Sunday’s Card
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Pool Guaranteed at $50,000

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 survived a close call Sunday at Gulfstream Park, where any one of eight horses in the 11th race could have taken down…


Sep 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Ashley T. Cole (NYB) Quotes

Christophe Clement, winning trainer of Lubash (No. 3): "He's a sound horse and he tries very hard. Junior [Alvarado] has a good relationship with the horse; he knows him inside out. This is fun. This is a very good group of New York-bred turf horses. King Kreesa and Kharafa are always tough."


Sep 14 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Sands Point (G2) Quotes

Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Chad Brown, trainer of winner Ball Dancing (No. 10) and Xcellence (No. 1): "I thought [Ball Dancing] ran great. She settled nicely and made one run. When Joe [Bravo] asked her to run, she quickened. She handled everything perfectly in the race and in the gate."




Sep 14 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
CALIFORNIA CHROME

CALIFORNIA CHROME WORKS SIX FURLONGS IN 1:13.80;
SHIPS TUESDAY FOR RETURN IN PENNSYLVANIA DERBY

CYPRESS, Calif. ---In his final work before he resumes his racing career in the Grade II, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 20, 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome…


Sep 14 | Categories: Horse Racing, | Comments (0)
V. E. Day, Wicked Strong work for Jockey Club Gold Cup

ELMONT, N.Y. - With an eye on the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in two weeks, trainer Jimmy Jerkens had V. E. Day and Wicked Strong breeze over the Belmont Park training track on Saturday.




Sep 13 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Noble Damsel (G3) Quotes

Christophe Clement, winning trainer of Annecdote (No. 6): "It really was no surprise because she had been training so well in the morning. She always showed a great turn of foot. She had been training with a friend of mine in England. It's easy when people find you with that kind of horse."


Sep 13 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
GULFSTREAM TODAY 9.11

Mandatory Payouts of Carryover Pools Yield Huge Payoffs
Super Hi-5 Produces $205,788.70 Bonanza
Multiple Rainbow 6 Ticketholders Cash for $48,407.92 Each
Friday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Pool Guaranteed at $50,000
Valid Lives Up to Favoritism with Victory in Featured Fourth Race

Sep 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Daring Dancer, back in top form, returns to Belmont for G2 Sands Point

ELMONT, N.Y. - Daring Dancer, whose lone loss in five starts came at Belmont Park in May, will attempt to pick up her third graded stakes victory when she returns to Belmont for the Grade 2, $500,000 Sands Point on Saturday.




Sep 11 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Park News & Notes

Undefeated Atreides Being Pointed Toward Kelso Handicap
Wildcat Red Set to Go to Remington for Oklahoma Derby
Csaba Back at Gulfstream for Thursday’s Stakes-Quality Feature
Naval Command, My Point Exactly Could be Headed to Keeneland




Sep 11 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Real Courage Quotes

Christophe Clement, winning trainer of Za Approval (No. 4): "He had a great race in the [2013] Breeders' Cup Mile, and then came back and had a pretty good race in the Grade 1 [Kilroe Mile]. He was a bit disappointing after that, and I'm not really sure why. I don't think he likes the heat. Today was…


Sep 8 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Sky Beauty Quotes

Tom Albertrani, winning trainer of Toasting (No. 4): "I think she prefers the one-turn races. We've been experimenting with her; she won both her races at seven-eighths in the past year, but she can go longer. The plan was to take her back off the speed and I think she does better that way. She does…


Sep 8 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)