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

Fillies Make News at the Spa; Two Good, One Not

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 31, 2014—When women do well in this game, it no longer comes as a surprise--but it is unusual to see two Saratoga stakes swept by the female persuasion, albeit one doing the saddling, and the other doing the riding.

In the case of the former, Tom Voss is somewhere smiling, that’s because Elizabeth, the daughter of the late, great steeplechase horseman—who did some pretty good work on the Spa flat, too--saddled her first graded stakes ever this afternoon.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
They Said It All at Whitney Draw

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 30, 2014—It’s not often when two Travers winners and a Belmont winner meet after their three-year-old year and they will on Saturday.

And one of them, last year’s Belmont Stakes and this year’s Met Mile winner, Palace Malice, the top ranked horse in the country according to the latest NTRA poll, will try to put some separation between himself, Saturday’s eight rivals, and the glamorous three-year-old class with designs on a Horse of the Year championship.

He’s even money on Saturday and a little higher than that in the Horse of the Year future book; 5-2 co-favorite with dual classics winner California Chrome. If you like those odds—too short for me—get down now, not Saturday evening.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)

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 (6)
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)

Bayern creates a wonderful dilemma for Baffert

The racing season doesn't end with the posting of the official at the Belmont Stakes. This past weekend set the stage for a scintillating fall, with the dazzling Bayern and workmanlike Wicked Strong throwing their hats into the 3-year-old-division ring, although any 3-year-old will have to do extraordinary work to overtake California Chrome. Also, in spite of not hitting the board in the Haskell, Untapable remains a formidable force looking ahead to the major distaff races.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (1)
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)

Johansson v Takter v All in Hambleltonian

Story by Rich Fisher

The fact that trainer Nancy Johansson will make her Hambletonian debut against her dad, Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, is one of the big storylines entering Saturday’s race.

And while Johansson understands and appreciates the interest, it’s not something that’s really on her mind. Especially since, hey, there will be other trainers there too!

“It’s no different to race against him than anybody else,” said Johansson, who trains Hambletonian starter Resolve, adding with a laugh. “It’s a horserace, there has to be other horses in there. He’s one of the top trainers with one of the biggest barns, so I expect him to be there.”

The two have teamed up for previous Hambletonian success, as Nancy was the caretaker for Takter’s 2010 winner, Muscle Massive. She grew up learning the trade under Jimmy, who also won the 1997 Hambletonian with Malabar Man, having said in the past “I tell people that from going to my dad’s ‘school’ I got a PhD in training.”

But neither wants to mix business with pleasure, especially when it comes to head-to-head competition.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Hambletonian Attracts 11 – Wagerng Format Announced

With 11 horses entered in The Hambletonian, the three year old colts will go straight to the Final worth $1,006,125. The Hambletonian will be carded as race 13 on the 15 race program.

The Jimmy Takter trained trio of Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton will headline the field for the 89th American Trotting Classic.

Joining those three are Datsyuk, Don Dorado, Doncango, Harper Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, JJ Alex, Resolve and Royal Ice.

The Hambletonian post position draw will take place at 4PM at Victory Sports Bar along with the draw for The John Cashman Memorial and Hambletonian Oaks.


Written by Darin Zoccali | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) Quotes

Danny Gargan, winning trainer of R Free Roll (No. 3): "We knew [going to the lead] was the only way we were going to beat [La Verdad]. We took control of the race and made her have to chase. That was the game plan, and [R Free Roll's owner Rich Averill] is a pretty smart handicapper, and he's a pretty…


Jul 29 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Shuvee Handicap (G3) Quotes

Kiaran McLaughlin, winning trainer of Antipathy (No. 3): "It was a great performance. Team McLaughlin needed a win; we haven't run that many live ones. We were real happy to get a win. She's a well-bred filly for Godolphin, and now she has a Grade 3 win to go along with a Grade 1 placing. I thought she…


Jul 28 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 7/27

• Tonalist "comes back in good order" following runner-up finish in G2 Jim Dandy
• Kid Cruz emerges from Jim Dandy in good shape
• Vyjack likely to return to sprinting in the G1 Vanderbilt
• Merry Meadow set to contest G2 Honorable Miss on Monday
• Dutrow marks G1 Ketel…


Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Amsterdam (G2) Quotes

Rosie Napravnik, winning jockey aboard Coup de Grace (No. 4): "He's a very nice horse. I spoke to Larry [Jones] this morning and rode him with a lot of confidence. He did it easily today."




Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Quotes from Competitive Edge’s 10 ¼-length debut win

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Competitive Edge (No. 9): "He has never disappointed us in anything that he has done, literally, from the first time we breezed him. He continually showed us he's a very talented colt, and every time we did something with him it was impressive. So we had high hopes coming…


Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 7/26

• Palace Malice leads group of horses working for the G1, $1.5 million Whitney
• Departing works half-mile in 48.79 seconds for Whitney
• Moreno pleases Guillot with Whitney work
• 2012 Travers winner Golden Ticket breezes over Oklahoma for Whitney
• Itsmyluckyday turns…


Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: July 25

• Wise Dan logs effortless five-furlong work; possible for G2 Fourstardave or G2 Bernard Baruch
• 2012 Travers co-winner Golden Ticket pointed toward G1 Whitney
• Velazquez, second in 1995 jockey foot race, tries again in 2014 edition
• Quick Call winner Pure Sensation a result…


Jul 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
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)