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'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.

John Parisella
John Parisella has enjoyed a legendary career as a "horseman's horseman." At last count, he won 27 races with 27 different horses at 27 different tracks. His observations will appear bi-weekly, Mondays and Fridays in his "Parisella At the Races" 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

Special Report: Pennysylvania Derby Day a Family Affair

By Zac Coffman
Special Correspondent

BENSALEM, PA., September 24, 2016--Parx was in the national spotlight Saturday as they hosted the annual Pennsylvania Derby Day card, this year featuring a three-year-old championship duel between Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness winner Exaggerator.

Walking through the crowd early in the day, however, you could have questioned whether this rivalry should have graced the billboards promoting the day’s events, or maybe it neither of them. Maybe it should have been the filly Songbird all along.

Arriving at the track two hours before first post - it was great to see the entire apron filled with excited fans, young and old, something you barely see enough of nowadays—watching the elders introduce their youngsters to the game.

Once they day got started, bettors dove into the day’s program, sharing opinions not only with other bettors that came to see the spectacle but, more importantly, getting some special selections from their kids--like sixth race third-finisher Here’s a Jetpack at 55-1!

From the opener, it was impressive to see rail positions completely filled, especially since Parx is infamous for having one of racing’s highest takeout rates, a contributing factor as to why the track struggles to fill even half the rail on a normal race day.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (7)
Some Positive News for a Change

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 19, 2016—The recently concluded meet at Kentucky Downs is a trend-busting phenomenon that represents a victory for racing because it’s a winner for the player.

Not that winning money there is easy; winning is never easy. But you’ve got a chance to make money because true value is available and the interest is there because, on balance, horseplayers love turf racing.

With record purses attracting full fields, Kentucky Downs closed its five-date boutique meet September 15 with total wagering up nearly 34 percent, an astounding figure. Compared to last year, which was great, it was equivalent of an added sixth day.

Betting on the closing program was $3.6 million, bringing all-sources handle to $22.5 million for 2016. Not bad for a five-day meet spread over two weeks at a track in the middle of nowhere battling significant major league competition.

I played and lost, but am looking forward to the 2017 session. I wagered three days, lost two, and nearly won enough the third day when, forgetting to take my stupid pills, nearly got even for my personal incursion into the Kentucky countryside.

Form-wise, my only beef is that results there reflect parimutuel feast or famine. On one hand, bettors get solid prohibitive choices at greater than odds-on, e.g. Kitten’s Cat comprehensive victory at 5-2.

But there are too many more examples where complete chaos rules. That’s the good news and bad news about $130,000 two- and three-year-old maiden races on grass.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (62)

Pennsylvania Derby All Stakes Pick 4

Reprinted Courtesy of Promotional Agreement with


RACE 9 Maiden Claiming 6-1/2 Furlongs

5-Ratface Macdougall (6-1) Been showing improved speed with each subsequent start, just missing in last. Has bullet work for this but added sixteenth unlikely to help. Recent blowout fastest of 10 for the week here. (won, 6-1)
8-Sir Bronx (3-1) Carroll barn en fuego recent and is 35% effective with its beaten claimers. Late developing 3YO gelding has improved since dropping to this level for last two. Solid works and Contreras on a return call; obvious must use. (2nd, 5-2)


7-The Pizza Man (8-1) Hasn’t delivered [sorry] since taking Del Mar G2 last fall. Prolific winner is a worthy (9) 3-0-2 at the trip but has not hit the board in either WO appearance. Recent AP work 4th fastest of 47 peers last week. (won, 5-1)
4-Wake Forest (5-2) Talented but has been somewhat enigmatic this season despite winning G1 Man o’ War this spring at Belmont. Solid recent works since tough-trip Million try and gets switch to Irad. Anticipating big last-run finish. (2nd, 5-2)

RACE 11 Allowances 1-1/16 MILES

3-Milwaukee Mist (4-1) 1-for-1 following barn change to Attfield who enjoys success going turf to AW, this runner’s preferred surface. Raffy Hernandez looking for repeat winning ride. (won, 7-2)
1-Cito (8-1) Barn is profitable with its AW performers but has struggled this meet. Three lifetime wins here and loves the trip with five exacta finishes including two wins. Just missed vs. weaker in last but Da Silva sticks; mixed signals. (2nd, 7-1)


8-Tepin (1-2) Queen of the Turf, literally and figuratively, seeks eighth straight victory, fifth G1 since streak began last fall and her third over males. Wisely given time following arduous Queen Anne score. Outside draw provides Leparoux with options. Obvious one to beat, but this still a prep for defense of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile title (won, 2-5)
1-Tower of Texas (20-1) Finished well too late [see replay] when second in G2 Play King prepping for this August 20, a race producing one next-out winner from two starters. Won the King Edward at the trip last year... (2nd, 23-1)
2-Mutakayyef (7-2) Has been a different horse this season, winning Group 2 Summer Mile two back before a very game third vs. Postponed in York’s G1 Juddmonte International. Two of three lifetime wins at this trip and reuniting with winning partner O’Neill. Serious rival (3rd, 3-1)

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RACE 8 Pennsylvania Derby Champion Stakes 3 & UP 1-1/16 MILES

1-Cyrus Alexander (6-1) Recent Longacres Mile is a key race producing two next out winners from three returnees. Makes mini-stretch to best trip [(5) 2-2-0], tactical speed, pole position, purposeful strong workline with Hollendorfer reaching out for Bejarano.
2-Encryption (9-2) Two-for-two on this quirky surface, was ambitiously spotted in recent MTH Grade 2. Breen is worthy 3-for-7 shipping to this venue from the Shore. Freshened, owns two recent bullet works and has run well beneath recent sensation Nik Juarez.
3-Bodisattva (10-1) is 4-for-7 at the route--1-for-15 doing anything else--and was third in stamina-building 12 furlongs over the track. Sheds five pounds and both wins this summer have been beneath Taylor Hole.
4-Res Judicata (4-1) A four-time winner here, was second at the trip last out. Won G3 Salvator Mile at MTH three back, has tactical speed, inside draw with John Servis switching to Javier here. Set for best from barn that’s 27% effective with beaten favorites.
5-Mr. Jordan (2-1) Hails from Plesa barn that’s worthy 27% in non-graded events, benefits from mini-two-turn turn-back and Paco on a return call. Very sharp blowout for this but acts best as a need-the-lead type.
6-War Story (12-1) Triple Crown-trailer at 3 was out of his element vs. California Chrome in Pacific Classic following sloppy-track score in Randall, Ohio. Gets prolific Parx veteran Pennington in the boot for barn that’s 29% profitable with new acquisitions.
7-Tale of Life (3-1) Won Spa finale going 9 furlongs and has been effective at today’s shorter trip. Motion barn going very well at the moment, has worked purposefully at Fair Hill base and gets switch to Geroux. Placed well and owns competitive Pricci Energy Ratings and on positive Thoro-Graph line

Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)
Woodbine Mile Late Pick 4


Reprinted By Promotional Arrangement with


3-Watchyourownbobber (3-1) turns out to be yet another brilliant turf claim by Maker. Hard Spun 4YO has become a turf machine [(13) 6-3-2], is 2-for-4 at the trip and exits Mountaineer route that’s produced three next-out winners from as many starters. (won, 1-1)
7-Songsational (6-1) placed gamely in Saratoga’s Troy Stakes last out, comes up to added distance nicely for Mott, who taps Geroux for this. Recent bullet was 4th fastest of 69 peers this week at Belmont Park. (2nd, 9-2)


7-Lots o’ Lex (10-1) gets back to reality after attempting G1 Beverley D in last for Aschinger, who’s 22% in LAY-2 scenarios and a worthy, profitable 24% with his shippers. Channing Hill has enjoyed prior success at this unusual configuration. (won, 12-1)
6-No Fault of Mine (3-1) is remarkably versatile 4YO that handles all surfaces—including turf in lone try at the trip. Has been toughened recently in series of graded events and attracts Geroux, 4-for-12 for this outfit in 2016. Logical favorite. (2nd, 2-1)
1-Fleet Birdie (12-1) carefully pointed here by LoPresti for longtime clients, drew off impressively to beat NW2 in Indiana Grand turf debut this June. Training well at KEE base for barn that’s batting 19% with repeaters and which has them ready off the bench. (3RD, 6-10

Race 9 Grade 3 KENTUCKY TURF CUP 1-1/2 MILES

7-Da Big Hoss (7-5) has proven amazing acquisition for Maker. Never-been-better 5-year-old is 3-for-5 at this trip, 1-for-1 at KD, and a winner of four of his last five beneath ‘Flo’. Worthy 125-pound highweight is handier than it appears on paper. (won, 1-2)
2-Bullards Alley (10-1), a G3 winner at CD this summer, was third in his lone start on this course with Glyshaw tapping regular partner Pedroza. Late developing, gelded 4YO has won at the trip and owns two strong 5F blowouts at CD base for this. (2ND, 18-1)
1-Rum Tum Tugger (30-1), a winner at this trip, is in from Saratoga for Sheppard, 1-for-1 with his only other KD starter to date. Legged up vs. tough set in the Johns Call last out, attracts BJ and merits super-exotics attention at anything near early line odds. (3rd, 60-1) [TRI: $354.80]


3-Mississippi Delta (5-2), a winner in her only start at trip, is multiple graded stakes-placed; Casse/’Flo’ team en fuego this year. Freshened at his CD base, is working well for this pointed placement. Worthy favorite has laudably versatile running style. (won, 3-2)
2-Rapid Rhythm (10-1) is versatile, hails from excellent connections but lacks experience on this course and at hybrid trip. Julien 1-for-2 for this outfit in 2016. (2nd, 10-1)
1-Rumble Doll (6-1) was narrowly beaten when fast-finish third at Spa now ships in for sharp young connections enjoying uncommon success with its turf runners. Was good second at Belmont three back in Belmont’s 7F Intercontinental augurs well. Attracts hot-riding BJ. (3rd, 6-1) [TRI: $214.00]

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RACE 9 Maiden Claiming 6-1/2 Furlongs

1-River Ring Echo (20-1) Bred for speed on both sides of pedigree and dam has thrown a winner from as many starters. Barn’s horses outrunning their odds in 2016 but rider hitting at 4% this meet and gets the pole.
2-Butler’s Pick (7-2) Chased a solid pace in state-bred MSW debut and settled for place once beaten, ridden out only. Working purposefully since, switches to Da Silva and gelding drops into claimer here. Live.
3-Immaculate Inning (20-1) Lacks both nature (4% debut sire) and nurture (barn 5% on debut). Pedigree suggests more ground, too.
4-Fo’c’sle (15-1) Returns for Casse/Husbands team on high-profile day for recent Canadian Hall of Famer. Missed the break in only start as juvenile now returns for 3YO debut for outfit that’s 22% efficient with second-time starters. Must use.
5-Ratface Macdougall (6-1) Been showing improved speed with each subsequent start, just missing in last. Has bullet work for this but added sixteenth unlikely to help. Recent blowout fastest of 10 for the week here.
6-Just Reno (8-1) Reunites with McAleney and barn’s horses have been outrunning their odds this year. Willing third vs. five rivals in open special-weights last out following poor start behind recent repeat winner; interesting.
7-Splash With Me (10-1) Gained conditioning with improved try going two turns last time now makes sensible turnback while adding blinkers. Moran sticks.
8-Sir Bronx (3-1) Carroll barn en fuego recent and is 35% effective with its beaten claimers. Late developing 3YO gelding has improved since dropping to this level for last two. Solid works and Contreras on a return call; obvious must use.
9-Teiaiagon (4-1) Barn struggling this meet but has enjoyed success with runners going turf to AW. Shorter trip and rider switch should help, as does recent addition of blinkers. Strong wakeup potential.
10-Archer Triumph’s (12-1) Finished well too late following poor start in open debut now gelded 4YO drops in with Canadian breds and gets positive rider switch to Garcia. A player here.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)

PARX in National Spotlight: No Males for Songbird; Nyquist Seeks Title

Songbird, who goes for 11 in a row Saturday in the Cotillion, won't risk her undefeated record against colts this year, according to her trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Meanwhile, Nyquist's trainer, Doug O'Neill, said the Pennsylvania Derby might be the Kentucky Derby winner's last shot to regain his status atop the 3-year-old male division. Both camps say the two outstanding sophomores have the $12 million Pegasus on Jan., 28 at Gulfstream in their long range plans.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (20)
Lots of questions still surround $12 million race

To the surprise of many, it appears the $12 million Pegasus will actually happen on Jan. 28 at Gulfstream. A media event is scheduled for next week to promote what will be the world's richest race. It should be a lively session with many questions still to be answered, including whether this is a good thing for racing, inasmuch as owners are being asked to put up the entire purse. But Frank Stronach deserves credit for characteristically thinking big for the benefit of racing

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (13)

Marc Lawrence Upset Best Bets, Week 3

PITTSBURGH over North Carolina by 7

In full support of the smokin’ hot SMART BOX, we’re off and running with the Panthers again this week. And our MIDWEEK ALERT agrees as well, noting Pitt’s powerful running game is averaging 240 RYPG, anchored by Heisman hopeful James Conner and his understudy Quadree Ollison (ACC Freshman of the Year with 1,121 rushing yards). In fact, these numbers fi t like a glove into a jelly-soft Tar Heels’ rush defense that allows 227 RYPG. The shocking stat from last week was the 640 yards given up by Pitt’s defense to a pissed-off Oklahoma State squad, but we can pretty much guarantee that a defensive mastermind like head coach Pat Narduzzi will not allow it to happen again. In fact, his troops are the only FBS team in the nation to have no regular games decided by more than 21 points the past two seasons – meaning they are in every game they play (average loss less than 7 PPG). On the fl ip side, the Heels put up 104 points against the likes of Illinois and James Madison this season, but were outstatted by 159 yards in a 9-point loss to Georgia. Also, consider that UNC is 0-3 SUATS in its last three lined games before facing Florida State. But when push comes to shove, here’s THE CLINCHER: The Panthers are 5-0 ATS as road dogs with triple revenge-exact and 4-0 ATS on the road with revenge under Narduzzi.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
College & Pro Underdog Best Bets September 16


So begins the next chapter in Michigan State football… let’s call it ‘AC’ (after Cook). In Sparty’s season opener against Furman, it looked like things would be FUBAR without graduated signal caller extraordinaire, Connor Cook. But new QB Tyler O’Conner kept throwing and three TDs later, MSU closed out the pesky Paladins, 28-13. Now it’s time for bigger business, and our database dutifully shares the Spartans’ 6-0 ATS mark before playing Wisconsin, along with a 10-2-1 ATS success when playing off an unlined home win. Need we mention that Sparty is looking to avenge three straight losses in this series? What we fi nd especially appealing is MSU head coach Mark Dantonio’s record in away games – where his teams have managed to win SU in 35 of 65 games – and his 17-6-1 ATS record when facing a foe off a SUATS win (he’s also 5-1 SUATS as a dog when playing with rest). Yes, the Irish punished Nevada last week in front of Touchdown Jesus to chase away memories of their OT loss to Texas, but the well-oiled machine won’t be giving out ATS party favors to the Golden Domers tonight. Brian Kelly’s boys are a dismal 0-5 ATS at home versus a rested opponent, 2-12 ATS as chalk of more than 6 points versus a Big Ten foe, and just 2-6 in the second of three straight games at Notre Dame Stadium. Yikes! If our AWESOME ANGLE on page 2 doesn’t do it for you, there’s always THE CLINCHER: MSU coach Dantonio is 8-0-1 ATS in his career away in games off a win when seeking revenge agaisnt an opponent off a win – including a 17-14 victory as a 16.5-point dog behind O’Conner at Ohio State last year.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Three Rules, Cajun Delta Dawn Breeze For Oct. 1 Florida Sire Stakes

Undefeated Juveniles Eye Series Sweeps on $1.6 Million Stakes Card

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Undefeated Three Rules and Cajun Delta Dawn breezed at Gulfstream Park Saturday in preparation for Florida Sire Stakes sweep attempts next Saturday on a program featuring eight…

Sep 25 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes, Sunday, September 25

Brown's fleet preps for "super" Saturdays; Connect in good form following upset victory in Pennsylvania Derby
• Pletcher readying Ectot, J.S. Choice, Off the Tracks, Theory, Nonna Mela, Cherry Lodge, Syndergaard, et al for upcoming stakes engagements
• Effinex and Shaman Ghost…

Sep 25 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Mrs McDougal goes gate-to-wire to win G3 Noble Damsel

ELMONT, N.Y. - Mrs McDougal started strong and held off all challengers in the seven-horse field for a gate-to-wire victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

Breaking from post 5 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., the Chad Brown-trained daughter of Medaglia…

Sep 25 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Stakes Recap & Quotes


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016)
– G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s homebred Mines and Magic muscled her way through an opening at the top of the…

Sep 25 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Friday at $58,000

Super Hi 5 Carryover

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a carryover Friday of $58,649.90.

Multiple tickets Thursday with six winners returned $3,094.78.

First race post time is 1:15 p.m. Friday’s Rainbow 6 sequence starts…

Sep 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Stakes Advance


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016)
– Zayat Stables LLC’s Indiana Oaks (Grade II) runner-up Emmzy landed the outside post in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies as she attempts to land her first stakes…

Sep 22 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Double Pick 6 carryover of $106K on tap Friday at Belmont Park

ELMONT, N.Y. - The Pick 6 eluded bettors for the second consecutive day on Thursday at Belmont, triggering a two-day carryover of $106,527 into Friday's card.

Thursday's Pick-6 began with Sweetrayofshine's ($5.90) win in Race 5, followed by 43-1 longshot American Mink ($89.50) upsetting…

Sep 22 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Mrs McDougal looks for another graded stakes win in G2 Noble Damsel

ELMONT, N.Y. - Mrs McDougal will look to add a second graded stakes victory to her ledger as she headlines a field of eight fillies and mares 3-years-old and up in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel at Belmont Park.

A 4-year-old, Mrs McDougal will gain class relief after back-to-back…

Sep 22 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Rises to $41,185 for Sunday’s Card

Super Hi-5 Carryover of $5,383 for First Race
Trainer David Braddy Notches Win No. 999
Tyler Gaffalione Rides Four Winners

– The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the sixth straight racing program Saturday at Gulfstream Park, producing a $41,185.45…

Sep 18 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
A family affair: On Leave makes the grade in G2 Sands Point

ELMONT, N.Y. - Stuart Janney III's homebred On Leave kept her 2016 record intact with a 2 ¾-length front-running victory against 3-year-old fillies on the turf in Saturday's featured race, the Grade 2, $500,000 Sands Point at Belmont Park.

On Leave broke alertly under jockey Jose Ortiz…

Sep 18 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Not This Time Dominates Iroquois


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016)
– Albaugh Family Stable’s homebred Not This Time, a half-brother to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt…

Sep 18 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Strong 2-Year-old Program Makes Gulfstream a Track for All Seasons

Three Rules, Cajun Delta Dawn, Gunnevera Lead Class of ‘16

– A sensational day of racing on the Sept. 3 Florida Sire Stakes (FSS) program contributed significantly to the growing realization within the Thoroughbred industry that Gulfstream Park no longer has…

Sep 16 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)