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

V.E. Day at the Spa; Lezcano Wins 2000th

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 25, 2014—As far as Travers preps go, today’s Curlin Stakes probably raised more questions than were answered, although it seems likely at this point that the first two finishers will return on August’s penultimate Saturday.

Coming from absolutely last and from as far back at 10 lengths between calls as the leaders entered the final turn, V. E. Day, making his first career start on dry dirt in his fifth lifetime run, rallied strongly down the center of the strip to win the restricted 9-furlong event by a head over Charge Now.

Protonico, making his second start this year and only fourth start in life, and a tepid 3-1 choice in a field reduced to nine with the program scratch of Commanding Curve, was a nose farther back in third, the mile and an eighth going in a solid, albeit unspectacular, 1:50.51.

Another lightly raced colt, Viva Majorca, finished even faster than the winner and was reaching the front three but ran out of racetrack.

A convincing case can be made that the Tiago colt, making his first start beyond 7 furlongs and around two turns, was the best horse given the race's dynamics.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Clement’s Career Year Rolls On

SARATOGA SPRINGS, July 24, 2014—Guess we just might have to chalk it up to fate because right now, even with Todd Pletcher’s prolific winning and his strength in numbers, especially with babies, this just might be Chris Clement’s meet. We’ll know more at the week’s end.

Clement had horses for three races beginning today through Saturday; Pure Sensation, who was making his turf debut in the Quick Call Stakes, Life in Shambles in Friday’s Curlin and, of course, the big horse in Saturday’s Jim Dandy.

The latter is the quintessential prep for the Derby of Midsummer but the Grade 2 has no problem standing on its own as a prestigious event. Tonalist, the colt that spread the icing on the Frenchman’s petite duchesse, will head this one up as the early line choice.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

Untapable Question: Do Colts Hold Haskell Advantage?

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 22, 2014—For myself and many others, the best part of betting on the horses is the handicapping process; trying to figure things out, predicting the future.

In that context the learning process never ends, which is another thing that pleases inquiring minds. This came to mind with respect to Sunday’s Grade 1 Haskell, deep in both quality and contentiousness.

When it comes down to the betting, it is likely at post time that a filly will lead them. And this always comes as big news whenever a filly meets colts in a big spot. Think Rachel Alexandra’s Preakness and Woodward; think Zenyatta’s Classics, both of them.

The storyline goes that racing females and males is commonplace in Europe, but not so much here when the fairer sex meets the perceived stronger animal. Racing even compensates for this by giving females a weight allowance.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)
Stars n’ Stripes Grades: Box Office A, Execution B+

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 6, 2014—At the bottom line, the first Stars and Stripes Festival program held over the July 4th weekend, essentially Saturday’s five graded stakes program including two Grade 1s for three-year-olds on grass, was very successful.

More than 11,000 fans showed up on a glorious afternoon, or about twice the new normal, and the $16 million simulcast handle on the 10-race card beat last year’s totals—a tough comparison since the 2013 holiday program was conducted over a very long “weekend”—by $6 million.

And 11 races were carded last year so, yes, Virginia, quality does count.



Written by John Pricci | Comments (13)

NJ hellbent on adding sports betting to tracks


New Jersey is not letting a rebuff from the courts derail its plan to add sports betting to the menu at race tracks and casinos. Marijuana is against federal law, too, but the government is looking the other way at that. The belief is the same thing will happen if and when New Jersey begins taking bets on games, possibly as soon as the first week of the NFL season.




Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (5)
Florida allows Churchill to keep Calder casino, fire 241 racing employees

Florida racing is better off with Gulfstream in command and Churchill Downs out of the picture. But it's not right that CDI can make believe it still is involved in racing to keep its casino. While it is raking in the slots cash, CDI is laying off 241 employees, who worked in Calder racing. The only potential bright spot is Hialeah might be closer to getting back into the game.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (2)

It’s Magic

By Ken Weingartner

After watching Bee A Magician put together an 18-race win streak that began at age 2 and covered her entire 3-year-old season, harness racing fans wanted to know what was wrong with the 2013 Horse of the Year as she went winless in her first four starts this season.

Not much, says trainer Nifty Norman, other than the fact that winning is difficult.

“Lots of people have said to me that she’s been no good, but only once really,” Norman said. “Her first start was a great run, [second in 1:51.3] right off the bat and she had trot finishing. We kind of raced her easy in her second start and she was second; she was a little bit flat. Then she was sick, but she’s been good again ever since.

“People just expect her to win,” he added with a chuckle. “It’s not that easy; I wish it was. But I think she’s been pretty solid.”

Bee A Magician, owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, returned to her winning ways with a world-record 1:51.1 triumph July 12 in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. She now holds the records for fastest 3-year-old (1:51) and 4-year-old female trotters in history.

She will try to make it two victories in a row when she meets six rivals in Friday’s second leg of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
On Edge

By Ken Weingartner


Bettor’s Edge is not the highest profile pacer in the Ron Burke Stable, but he is holding his own against the best in the sport. It’s something he has done pretty much throughout his million-dollar-earning career.

The 5-year-old gelding heads into Saturday’s $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers at the Meadowlands off a second-place finish in the Ben Franklin Pace on June 28. He finished between stablemates Sweet Lou, who edged him by a neck, and Foiled Again.

Sweet Lou and Foiled Again also are entered in the Haughton, as well as Burke-trained Clear Vision. Sweet Lou, who has a five-race win streak, is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Bettor’s Edge is fourth choice at 6-1, behind Captaintreacherous (3-1) and State Treasurer (9-2).


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Antipathy finds softer spot in G3 Shuvee

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After holding her own at 30-1 in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 7 at Belmont Park, Antipathy will take a significant drop in class for the Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap for fillies and mares on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.

Fortunately for Antipathy, she…


Jul 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: Thursday, July 24

• Commanding Curve confirmed for G2 Jim Dandy
• Dilger, Anstu looking for more Spa stakes success with Big Guy Ian
• R Free Roll, now win Gargan, seeks graded stakes win in G2 Honorable Miss
• Class drop does the trick for Artemis Agrotera in Wednesday allowance
• Brown,…


Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Lake George (G2) Quotes

Graham Motion, trainer of winner Daring Dancer (No. 2):
"[Jockey] Alan [Garcia] said she never picked up the bridle [in the loss at Belmont, when fifth in the Wonder Again]. I honestly believe it had to be the soft ground. I was having kittens in the paddock here when it started to rain, because…


Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Tonalist looking to maintain momentum in G2 Jim Dandy

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Late winter proved to be a frustrating time for trainer Christophe Clement when it came to his talented 3-year-old colt Tonalist, whose campaign had to be put on hold after he developed a lung infection while in south Florida.

Given ample time to recover and develop,…


Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: Wednesday, July 23

• Zito looking forward to seeing Spot run long in Friday's Curlin
• Departing working toward G1 Whitney start for trainer Stall
• Motion barn loaded for upcoming turf stakes at Spa
• Better Lucky to point to G1 Ballerina following Shine Again victory




Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Shine Again Quotes

Tom Albertrani, winning trainer of Better Lucky (No. 6): "I was getting a little bit concerned until I saw the :44 and change pop up there, and then I thought she could close; it would just be a matter of getting there in time. When they were turning for home, I could see she was getting a little closer,…


Jul 22 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: Monday, July 21

• Champion Will Take Charge, aiming for G1 Whitney, posts early morning workout
• Ulanbator breezes for G2 Jim Dandy
• Harpoon takes aim at Thursday's $100,000 Quick Call
• Gyarmati considering G2 Amsterdam with Noble Moon; Sweet Reason remains on target for G1 Test
•…


Jul 22 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Stopchargingmaria earns first G1 win in Coaching Club American Oaks

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Stopchargingmaria picked up her first Grade 1 victory in her third attempt with a facile victory in the 98th edition of the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.




Jul 21 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
G1 Coaching Club American Oaks Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Stopchargingmaria (No. 1): "It kind of unfolded the way we wanted it to on the first turn. We were able to get the position we wanted. She had a good trip from there, and it worked out well."




Jul 21 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Lucky Coin Quotes

Bruce Brown, winning trainer of Spring to the Sky (No. 6): "For him that was a pretty slow first quarter compared to what he did last time. It was almost like he rated him on the lead. That's the one thing with a speed horse, you just love to see when they can finish like that. He'll be able to win more…


Jul 21 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 7/20

• Palace Malice, pointing toward G1 Whitney, turns in Sunday breeze
• Kid Cruz works five furlongs in 1:03.57, possible for G2 Jim Dandy
• Somali Lemonade, nearly retired, becomes G1 winner in Diana
• Big Trouble rewards Dutrow's faith with G3 Sanford win
• Hot Stones…


Jul 21 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: Saturday, July 19

• Tonalist tunes up for Grade 2 Jim Dandy with five-furlong breeze
• Wicked Strong, wearing blinkers for the first time, breezes in preparation for Jim Dandy
• Samraat gears up with half-mile work; Jim Dandy likely
• Legend turns in five furlong work in advance of Jim Dandy

Jul 19 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)