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.

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

Here’s who won’t win the Derby

The first step to finding the winner of any race is eliminating those who can't win. IMHO, there are at least 10 of those, half the field, in the Kentucky Derby. Included are the winners of some key Kentucky Derby preps. This doesn't include the poor horse who draws the No. 1 post, if he is not among my 10 tosses.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (19)
Songbird’s absence makes Oaks a super betting race

Super filly Songbird will be missed in the Kentucky Oaks but her defection has created the best betting race of Derby weekend with a half-dozen or more possible favorites and a herd of live price horses. Even better, the Oaks is tied, as always, to the Derby in a double bet and with the Derby and Turf Classic in a pick three. The payoffs could be, as The Donald says, Y-U-U-U-G-E.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (20)

The Pick Six Dinosaur and The Future of Exchange Wagering

ELMONT, NY, April 26, 2016 – The New York Racing Association's Pick Six is not yet dead but it's now struggling on life support. Once regarded as a major betting attraction of NYRA's racing day, the Pick Six has become a minor, almost irrelevant, wager.

The reason for this is obvious. The minimum betting unit is $2 while newer wagers, such as the popular Pick Four and Pick Five, have 50-cent minimums. The New York State Gaming Commission had a chance to correct this problem yesterday but failed to do so.

At their monthly meeting, members of the NYSGC attempted to standardized the rules governing the Pick Four, Pick Five and Pick Six. They were all introduced at different times and thus regulated differently.

The Pick Six would benefit from uniform rules concerning multiple race wagers in one way that the commission didn't consider. The New York Pick Six could have been heralded as unique if suddenly there were a 50-cent minimum like the Pick Four and Pick Five. Let everybody in the pool!

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (32)
NYRA Reprivatization? On Hold…Again

NEW YORK, NY, April, 12, 2016 - The New York Racing Association's Board of Directors today approved the presentation they were given by the state to reorganize the Board of Directors.

They shuffled the deck chairs and pretended not to know they were set up.

Then they knocked them down like dominoes.

Last year the state told the Board they would not go forward with privatization because they presented no plan to do so. This year they doubled down and voted to approve a proposal that again includes no plan for privatization.

There was no business plan, no projections, no statement of attainable goals, nothing. Just tacit approval by good soldiers of a proposal to keep them exactly where they are, under state control.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (20)

Weak-Eyed Worrier Becomes Winning Weekend Warrior

LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2016--I finally bit the bullet and opened a second on-line wagering account.

I was forced into action because not only has DRF Bets long been unable to deliver the Churchill Downs signal but also because the live video streaming suddenly stopped working properly.

According to DRF bets Customer Service, my DSL Internet service was now too slow to meet the minimum XpressBet platform bandwidth requirements--despite having operated correctly only one week before.

Watch and wager had become wager and wait for replays elsewhere.

I was further motivated by TVG's sign-up bonus, matching one's initial deposit up to $150, provided the full amount is wagered within 15 days of opening the account.

Indeed, that happy circumstance encouraged more frequent use of all entries in the third slot of superfectas when using them in the fourth slot seemed justified during the final rounds of Derby qualifiers earlier this month.

But another factor had bolstered bolder betting and it was just the prescription to heal my latest affliction, newly identified as “Derby Deprivation.”

Written by Indulto | Comments (7)
Who’s Your Daddy?

LOS ANGELES, April 5, 2016—Inquiring minds want to know as Kentucky Derby preps seem to have turned into soirees for sons of sires with stud fees in the stratosphere.

The Louisiana Derby was contested by three offspring of Uncle Mo, two by Bernardini, and two by Candy Ride, sire of the winning Gun Runner. Earlier that day, a son of Tapit named Lani won the U.A.E. Derby via Dubai.

The previous weekend, Cupid took Rebel Stakes, another son of Tapit, beating three other in the process. Tapit's present stud fee of $300,000 would appear no obstacle to the proliferation of his bloodlines.

The Florida Derby matched the most heralded sons of Uncle Mo and Tapit to date, Nyquist and Mohaymen, respectively, in the most widely anticipated Kentucky Derby eligibility-enabling event of 2016.

Uncle Mo's stud fee is currently "only" $75,000 but it too will skyrocket, helped by Nyquist’s comprehensive Grade 1 victory, his fourth.

Written by Indulto | Comments (26)

Canterbury Executives: Caballeros With Cojones

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 24, 2016--For once I won’t have to sound like a broken record; one that’s right twice a day (just checking to see if you're paying attention).

Indeed, for once, a racetrack brain trust is prescient and gutsy enough that its executives are willing to think outside the trifecta box and shake up the industry.

My sense of frustration with the modern game runs so high that when I read the news that Canterbury Downs was lowering parimutuel takeout to 15% in the straight pools and 18% in all multiples, I got a little emotional.

Then, at 72, which is the new 72, I reach for Kleenex every time a new Publix opens in my South Florida neighborhood.

If you think I’m being flippant or sarcastic here, slam the gavel down and convict me: Guilty as charged: 30 days. Step down; next case please.

I’ve been writing about the significance of takeout rates as the lifeblood of the game since the 1970s, when multiple bets were in their infancy and the New York Racing Association boldly experimented by lowering takeout on wagers from 17% to 14%.

Predictably, handle and attendance increased significantly--by 10-12%--but revenue didn’t rise at the same pace. The experiment wasn’t long enough, lasting little more than a year. NYRA was supposed to launch another but it never happened; likely didn’t fly in Albany.

Government thinking back then was so bass ackwards and regressive that the newly created Off-Track Betting Corporation had the gall to attach a 5% surcharge on winnings--which for a time was raised to 6%. In philosophical terms, very little has changed.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (25)
Best Betting Races Not Always in Bettor’s Best Interest

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., April 19, 2016—Even if “N.C.I.S.” were not the longest running drama on TV, I’ve seen it enough to know Gibbs Rule #39: “There is no such thing as coincidence.”

And, so, with a modicum of skepticism, I ask the following question: How did Ricardo Santana Jr. know enough to drop back to lonesome last, 14-3/4 lengths behind the leader according to the Equibase result chart?

Actually, it margin might have been more since the trackman there believed that Suddenbreakingnews was only a length back at the stretch call when it seemed to the eye to be more like, what three lengths?

But there is another issue that fascinates more. In his most improved recent starts, Creator has come from far off the pace but never as far back as 15 lengths at the first call as indicated in the Arkansas Derby official chart.

But then he never raced behind that fast an early pace in his entire two-turn career. There are two things about this:

Generally, pace moderates as the distances increase but not this time. In the 1-1/16 miles of the Rebel, the half-mile split was 46 4/5; in the 1-1/8 miles Arkansas Derby, Gettysburg went in early fractions in 46 1/5 after an opening gambit of 22 4/5--too fast for the distance this side of California.

And that’s where things got interesting.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (18)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Stakes Advance: Tue 5/3/2016 12:32 PM


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, May 2, 2016)
– The 1-2 finishers from last month’s Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland, Ashbrook Farm’s Weep No More and Stonestreet Stables’ Rachel’s Valentina,…

May 3 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream’s 20-Cent Rainbow 6 Hit for $218,000

Saturday's First Race Super Hi 5 Carryover $2,571.14
$100,000 Miami Mile (G3) and Powder Break Saturday's Features

- Gulfstream Park's 20-cent Rainbow 6 was hit Friday afternoon when Ansiedad, a 35-1 longshot trained by Manny Azpurua and ridden by Jose…

Apr 29 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Weekend Hideaway returns from “little vacation” to win Affirmed Success

ELMONT, N.Y. - A well-rested Weekend Hideaway came back from a three-month freshening and rolled to a 2 ¼-length victory over favored Loki's Vengeance in Friday's $100,000 Affirmed Success for New York-breds as Belmont Park opened for its 54-day spring/summer meet.

With Luis Saez aboard,…

Apr 29 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby Update: Friday, April 29, 2016


BRODY’S CAUSE/CHERRY WINE – Albaugh Family Stable’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Brody’s Cause galloped 1 ½ miles following the renovation break under exercise rider Miguel Garcia for trainer Dale Romans.
Also galloping the same distance…

Apr 29 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES - Update: Friday, April 29, 2016

CARINA MIA – Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia, 17th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard, galloped after the break under exercise rider Penny Gardiner.

DOTHRAKI QUEEN – Magdalena Racing’s Dothraki Queen, 16th on the Oaks leaderboard, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 after the break under…

Apr 29 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Aktabantay Seeks Fast Track to Graded Success in G3 Miami Mile

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Aktabantay made the journey from England to Santa Anita in 2014 to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), only to be scratched due to an injury sustained in a stall mishap.

The British-bred colt didn’t get to compete in the $1 million race for 2-year-olds,…

Apr 28 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Update: Wednesday, April 27, 2016


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, April 27, 2016)
– Koji Maeda’s Lani, winner of the UAE Derby (Group II) in his most recent start, worked three furlongs in :37.40 with blinkers on over a…

Apr 28 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Loki’s Vengeance seeks re-affirmation in Affirmed Success

ELMONT, N.Y. - Multiple stakes winner Loki's Vengeance returns to action Friday to defend his title against eight other New York-breds in the $100,000 Affirmed Success, the opening-day feature as Belmont Park begins its 54-day spring/summer meet.

First race post time is 1:30 p.m., with gates…

Apr 28 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Live racing returns to Belmont Park on April 29

Second annual Belmont Stakes Racing Festival set for June 9-11

ELMONT, N.Y. - Featuring the second annual Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, itself anchored by the 148th renewal of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11, live thoroughbred racing will return to Belmont…

Apr 28 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream News & Notes - Thu 4/21

Majesto Turns in Final Local Workout for May 7 Kentucky Derby
Florida Derby Runner-Up Breezes Mile at Gulfstream Park West
Cold Snack Thirty Kicks Off Juvenile Racing Season with a Victory

– Grupo 7C Racing Stable’s Majesto was sent to the Gulfstream…

Apr 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream News & Notes - Wed 4/20

Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner Grand Tito Tops G3 Miami Mile Noms
Daring Kathy, Notte d’Oro among 18 Nominated to Powder Break
Smile Sprint, Princess Rooney Designated ‘Win & You’re In’ Races

– Grupo 7C Racing Stables’ Grand Tito is among…

Apr 20 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)


LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, April 20, 2016)
– Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen, who had his five-race unbeaten streak snapped in the Florida Derby (Grade I) in his most recent start, put in his first work at Churchill Downs Wednesday in preparation…

Apr 20 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)