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

American Pharoah: What Price Greatness?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 21, 2015--This is no news flash: American Pharoah is quite the race horse. It takes a special Thoroughbred to go on a four-race roll at the highest divisional levels in this day and age.

Winning four races in an eight-week span against the best your generation has to offer takes a special horse, indeed. American Pharoah won the Derby with class and courage; he took the Preakness with class and speed.

Yes, American Pharoah is extremely gifted, to date the best of his very talented peer group, but I’m not yet ready to concede the other ‘G’ word: Great.

For me, that will take one more victory, his fifth in 11 weeks, including three which have been won in tandem only 11 times in history.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)
Game On…Rained On…Game Over

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 16, 2015--In the end, the Preakness players told you all you needed to know.

In the walkover from the Preakness Stakes barn, Bob Baffert was asked how American Pharoah’s condition was; would he be ready for the challenge, coming back in two weeks?

Would we see the same horse that dominated the Arkansas Derby before showing his class and grit three weeks later in Louisville?

Baffert said just what you’d expect him to say, “but you still need that luck,” he said to the national television audience.

After the race, Victor Espinoza was asked on his way to the winners’ circle after spread-eagling the Preakness field from pillar to post whether he had planned the winning front-running gambit.

“After the rain I didn’t want to be behind horses,” Espinoza said. He didn’t need to think about strategy and the trip any longer. Espinoza knew he had to quarter-horse out of there and take the race to his rivals from the jump.

And he took Preakness 140 by taking the lead then taking the prize. Now Espinoza and American Pharoah can take their act on the road just one more time, this time for the biggest prize of all; racing immortality.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (22)

NYRA Making Its Own History

A decision by the New York Racing Association based on business considerations, with customer comfort as a guise, will make Belmont Park on June 6 the first racetrack in history to turn away customers. In an era where tracks try to attract a few more fans by concocting every promotion imaginable, almost all of which have little to do with racing, NYRA is willing to say you're not welcome to 20,000 to 30,000 fans, attracted by, of all things, racing. A crowd in excess of 100,000 will make things uncomfortable, but this is not what this is about. NYRA is trying to guarantee it can sell 90,000 tickets in advance for years when a Triple Crown is not at stake.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (38)
Preakness Suffers From Middle Child Syndrome

MIAMI, May 12, 2015--The Preakness' suffers from middle child syndrome. From the moment juveniles start coming to the fore each summer at Saratoga and Del Mar, owners, trainers, the media and fans begin speculating about which ones might be "Derby horses." No one talks about "Preakness horses" until the herd has been culled just before the Run for the Roses.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (27)

Ready, Aim, Firing Line

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 12, 2015—It’s anticipated that Saturday’s Preakness field will be relatively small although we suspect it will turn out slightly larger than many expect when entries are taken May 13.

In a pre-Derby column, we asked whether Bob Baffert would cost himself a chance at Triple Crown immortality by winning America’s Race with either American Pharoah or Dortmund then run both colts back in the Preakness, which is expected to happen later today.

This was pre-supposing that he had the best horses going into Louisville and the best two horses coming out. That might still be the case, something we will all know with some certitude late Saturday afternoon.

Nearly two weeks ago, American Pharoah not only validated his thrashing of overmatched Arkansas rivals but proved that he was the best of his generation; unknown class quantities such as Competitive Edge and Kentuckian notwithstanding.

American Pharoah showed guts to match his undeniable brilliance, proved he could survive a fetlock-to-fetlock battle, and that when Victor Espinoza would finally ask him to reach bottom, there would be more there, there.

However, we think something remains to be seen relative to true greatness, that he is the equal of legends past, most notably Seattle Slew, the magnificent Hall of Famer to which many observers have been more than willing to draw a comparison.

To paraphrase the irascible Lee Corso, not so fast my friends.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)
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)

Governor, Let My People In

When Pharoah was in NYRA's land
Let my people in
Upon the grounds they could not stand
Let my people in

Go down there, HANA,
Way down in NYRA's Land
Tell old
Cuomo
Let my people in


May 9, 2015—Just like the Horseplayers Association of North America and Bladerunners, early advocates for a National Horse Racing Commission, learned, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) is finding out that organizing horseplayers is even more difficult than herding cats.

Sixteen million people watched the Kentucky Derby. According to the
Paulick Report
, however, less than two thousand fans responded to an NTRA request for emails in support of tax reform on large winnings over the 300-1 odds threshold.

That's fewer people than HANA’s membership!

"The NTRA has created an easy-to-use form that makes it easy for the public to submit an e-mail directly to the appropriate IRS and U.S. Treasury officials at http://www.ntra.com/IRScomment. Nearly 2,000 comments originating from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have already been submitted via NTRA.com."

This apathy is not being lost on racing industry executives determined to extract whatever additional dollars it can from this seemingly disinterested bunch of horseplayers.


Written by Indulto | Comments (25)
Money Maker Moreno and Other Memories

Los Angeles, April 22, 2015--Although I'm usually turned off when owners name their horses after themselves, the name of last year's Whitney winner never bothered me because it always reminds me of the lovely and talented Rita Moreno, of whom I'm a big fan.

So when Moreno the horse won the Charles Town Classic, I had a vision of Moreno the actress/dancer doing the Charleston. Absent the real thing, I offer HRI readers this video which definitely captured the experience.

What amazes me about Moreno is the frequency with which he has been underrated only to finish first or second, often rewarding his supporters with inflated vertical exotic payoffs.

That might not have occurred last Saturday had the over-hyped Shared Belief been able to apply his ability. It was unfortunate racing luck that the 3-10 favorite sustained an injury, a little more serious than was originally believed.

It wasn't the emotional drain many associate with Bernardini's Preakness victory at Barbaro's tragic expense, but rather was a ringing reminder that races are lost when least expected, the reasons too numerous to count.

There is no such thing as a sure thing, obviously. Even Secretariat had his issues, with the letter “W,” as in Wood, Whitney and Woodward.

My approach, then, is try to be prepared for the unexpected while attempting to leverage the expected. It's great when it works out, but it can be a long way between waterholes.


Written by Indulto | Comments (7)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Belmont Park Notes 5/21

• Frosted confirmed for G1 Belmont Stakes on June 6
• Wicked Strong, Effinex eye Belmont Stakes Day assignments
• Cruz scores first win as a journeyman

ELMONT, N.Y. - Godolphin Racing's Frosted is now slated to challenge Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah in the Grade…


May 22 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
American Pharoah Returns to Track; Jogged at Churchill Downs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, May 21, 2015) - Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and Preakness (GI) winner American Pharoah (7-6-0-0-$3,730,300) returned to the track Thursday for the first time since Saturday's seven-length romp in the slop at Pimlico Race Course. The 3-year-old flew from…


May 22 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Friday’s Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Offers $350,000 Guaranteed Pool

Multi-Race Bet Unsolved for 16th Day to Set Up Lucrative Opportunity

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bettors will be provided a lucrative opportunity at Gulfstream Park Friday, when a mandatory payout of a $350,000 guaranteed pool for the 20-cent Rainbow 6 pool is scheduled.




May 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
National Museum of Racing Pillars of the Turf

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt and John Hay Whitney elected to
National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame as Pillars of the Turf

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Esteemed sportsmen Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt and John Hay Whitney have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame…


May 21 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
PREAKNESS STAKES QUOTES

Winning trainer Bob Baffert (American Pharoah): “What a day for Baltimore. They really needed this after all they’ve been through. I’m really happy for them. I just love coming here.”

“He’s just an amazing horse. Everyone talks about the greatness and it’s just starting to…


May 17 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, | Comments (0)
Celestine gets up in time for Wait A While win

ELMONT, N.Y. - James A. Bryan Jr.'s Celestine made her first start in a new barn a successful one, kicking clear to a 1 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Wait A While Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The sophomore daughter of Scat Daddy began her career last fall…


May 17 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
SAGAMORE RACING PIMLICO SPECIAL QUOTES

Winning trainer Todd Pletcher (Commissioner): “This was awesome. I’m very happy. I loved the position he was able to get into. Once he gets into that rhythm, you can keep on cruising. Right after the Skip Away, we talked about it and decided to go to the Pimlico Special. We’ll see how he comes…


May 16 | Categories: Pimlico, | Comments (0)
BLACK-EYED SUSAN QUOTES

Assistant Tammy Fox to winning trainer Dale Romans (Keen Pauline): “Dale took his time with her in Florida. She had a couple of months off. She came back for the Keeneland race and it set her up perfect for this race here. Yesterday, when I galloped her over this surface, she loved it. She loved everything…


May 16 | Categories: Pimlico, | Comments (0)
PREAKNESS NEWS & NOTES - 5.15

Justin Zayat Living the Dream with American Pharoah
Firing Line Has a ‘Good Morning’ at Pimlico
Casse Expects Less Stressful Trip for Danzig Moon

BALTIMORE – With his obligations as a student at New York University completed, Justin Zayat, racing manager for Zayat Stables,…


May 15 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, | Comments (0)
Preakness Weekend News & Notes - May 14

Cat Burglar Looking to Steal Pimlico Special

Vyjack Making Maryland Debut in Pimlico Special

Ahh Chocolate Brings Trainer Back To Scene Of His Top Victories

Perique Rounding Into Form For Allaire DuPont

Miss Ella Looks To Stay Unbeaten In Miss Preakness

May 15 | Categories: Pimlico, | Comments (0)
Preakness News & Notes - 5.14

Derby Winner American Pharoah, Dortmund Gallop with High Energy

Stevens High on Derby Runner-Up Firing Line

Danzig Moon Gets Acquainted with Pimlico Track

BALTIMORE – After watching Kentucky Derby (G1) winner American Pharoah and third-place finisher Dortmund…


May 15 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, | Comments (0)
Preakness Draw Quotes and Draw Sheet

American Pharoah 4-5 Morning-Line Favorite for Saturday’s Preakness
Kentucky Derby Hero Headlines 8-Horse Field for Middle Jewel of Triple Crown

BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner American Pharoah was installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 140th running…


May 14 | Categories: Preakness Stakes, | Comments (0)