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'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

Goldencents makes his bid for a title

Goldencents lived up to his odds-on favoritism in the BC Dirt Mile but he had to gut it out the length of the stretch to get it done. Will this be enough to overcome Palace Malice for best older horse? Earlier, Wesley Ward got off his Breeders' Cup schneid in a big way, finishing first and second with Hootenanny and Luck of the Kitten in the Juvenile Turf.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (2)
A couple of key plays to work around on Friday & Saturday

Everyone has their own approach to attacking the Breeders' Cup. Mine is not to go caveman but to try to find a key horse or two in one race, then spread widely in the other legs of Pick 3's, which tend to pay handsomely even with a short price or two in the sequence. Goldencents looks like the most certain winner of the two days and is positioned between wide open races on Friday. The scratch of American Pharoah from the Juvenile makes Carpe Diem a key on Saturday.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (17)

123Gaming’s Robert Earle: Born to Bet

PLANTATION, FL., October 24, 2014—This time, even if I decided that I badly wanted to hurl slings and arrows at the racing industry for the snail-like pace at which it’s proven willing to accept new ideas, I couldn’t: This time, it was my bad.

Here I had this new wagering idea staring me in the face, something novel, something that possibly could stir the imagination of young people with discretionary income looking for an exciting way to occupy their time.

It was right in front of me and I didn’t see it, couldn’t conjure up how a new interpretation of a well-known wager could spark growth by servicing an untapped resource, the demographic that is the envy of every successful business; the young adult.

I’m talking about a different kind of Pick 6, a variation on the theme, one that puts rank and file bettors up front by keeping them in the sequence right to the bitter end, no matter how much or how little they invest.

The rules governing the “123 Pick Six” make a very difficult wager less daunting. Of greater import, by making the wager more accessible, it becomes an Everyman Pick Six, putting average bettors on the same playing field with well-financed individuals and syndicates.

The man behind the 123 Pick Six is Robert Earle, unknown to me at the time but the same man I saw instructing panel members and attendees in 2009 at the Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Simulcast Conference in Saratoga Springs.

He believed then and continues to believe now that he can get more people involved in the Thoroughbred racing by wagering on it.

Betting on racehorses; what a concept!

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Seven Sophomores for Seven Elders

PLANTATION, FL., October 22, 2014—Considering the effect that the event has had on traditional Fall calendar of major stakes races, the Breeders’ Cup championships has come under closer scrutiny this year.

Prior to the advent of the event 30 years ago, races such as Belmont Park’s Jockey Club Gold Cup, Champagne and Frizette--to name just three noted Eastern-based fixtures-- would have been the conquests that would have helped define championships.

Races like these still help to decide which horses are worthy of best-in-show honors in their respective divisions, but since 1984 they no longer are the final word.

Presently, thanks to the vision of John Gaines and John Nerud, a little re-branding from Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and the growth of international racing, Thoroughbred’s crowning event continues to grow in stature and appeal.

Despite carding two less races and absent three injured champions that were expected to defend their titles, a record 201 horses, 61 Grade or Group 1 winners, including five in defense of their titles, were pre-entered Wednesday in Breeders’ Cup XXXI.

Final entries will be drawn Monday with 13 races scheduled for next Friday and Saturday; four on Friday and nine on championship Saturday.

The centerpiece Classic, expected to crown the 2014 Horse of the Year, will be broadcast in prime time Saturday on the NBC network starting at 8 p.m. ET.

All remaining races will be cablecast on the NBC Sports Network over the two-day span, and the HRTV racing network will broadcast every Breeders’ Cup race. As they say in TV land, check local times and listings.

Dubbed racing’s crowning event, this year’s Classic is appropriately named. What happens at 8:35 p.m. ET Saturday will determine not only three-year-old championship honors but a Horse of the Year title as well.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)

Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 30 - Nov. 3

College Picks

Boston College over VA TECH by 3

Our MIDWEEK ALERT informs us that the Eagles hit Blacksburg on this first Saturday in November with the better overall offense, the better rushing attack and the stingier defense. And ‘better’ yet – we find them on the right side of the page (i.e. dogs). That’s a combination we can’t pass up. Yes, we realize that Beamer’s boys will be looking for payback after dropping a 34-27 decision last season in Chestnut Hill but we also know that Eagles’ HC Steve Addazio is 4-0 SUATS as a dog versus a foe with revenge. And, yes, we’re well aware that the 4-4 Hokies – like in 2012 – still need two wins in their final four games to extend a 21-year bowl streak
under Frank Beamer. The Gobblers may have to find one of those wins at either Duke in two weeks or at home in its season finale against Virginia (the one at Wake Forest is a given) as we can’t see an offense that has been held to two meaningless touchdowns (both late 4th-quarter scores) in its last two games doing any damage against B.C.’s 8th-ranked stop-unit. An easy take as we may find ourselves in an Eagles’ nest come this ‘Midweek.’

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 23 to Oct 27


A victim of their own success – 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS in 2013 – the underachieving Bruins have been major money burners this season, bringing a 1-6 ATS mark into this contest. Highly-touted QB Brett Hundley has regained his aim since a Heisman-killing 48-yard passing performance against Texas in mid-September but the defense has gone into early hibernation, giving up 106 points in its last three games (1-2 SU). Who can forget UCLA head coach Jim Mora’s heated sideline argument with DC Jeff Ulbrich while Oregon put up 42 points in the Rose Bowl two weeks ago? Hey, the visitors’ 7-14 road chalk mark in their last 21 Pac-12 games does not look promising... nor does their 5-14-1 ATS mark, including 0-6-1 ATS as favorites of more than 6 points, in games after facing California. We won’t even mention that the Blue-and-Gold are just 1-6 ATS in games before facing their next opponent, Arizona! Colorado’s scoreboard results may not show it but the Buffs have improved by leaps and bounds in their third season under HC Mike MacIntyre, gaining 99 YPG more
on offense while yielding 34 YPG less on defense this season compared to last. Ralphie also gets the job done as a conference home dog of 14 or fewer points off back-to-back SU losses, going 9-4 SU and 10-3 ATS, and MacIntyre chips in with a 4-1-1 ATS effort against foes allowing 18.5 or more points per game. With Ralphie’s herd averaging a stout 31 PPG, we look for the Bruins to reach a Rocky Mountain low this afternoon in Boulder. To put the wraps on this bear trap, Marc’s ‘ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG’ system from the 2011 Black Book conveys The Clincher: College football road favorites off a win in which they allowed 30 or more points, who allow more than 29 PPG and 4.0 or more Yards Per Rush on the season, are 5-25-1 ATS in this role since 1980.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)

Gingras looks at Fall Four Stakes

By Ken Weingartner
Harness Racing Communications/USTA

After guiding Lyons Again to his first career win in his Governor’s Cup elimination at Woodbine last weekend, driver Yannick Gingras believes it is just the start for the 2-year-old male pacer.

Gingras arrived at Woodbine last Friday and Saturday with plenty of firepower for the Fall Four Stakes for 2-year-old pacers and trotters, and it all fired. He drove horses in all eight Fall Four eliminations, posting five wins, two second-place finishes and one fourth.

In addition to winning with Lyons Again, Gingras picked up victories in both eliminations for the Goldsmith Maid, with female trotters Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover, a win in the Three Diamonds with female pacer JK She’salady, and a triumph in the Valley Victory with male trotter Habitat.

He finished second with Three Diamonds contender Band Of Angels and runner-up with Governor’s Cup hopeful Blood Brother. His fourth-place finish was with Pinkman in the Valley Victory elims.

The Fall Four Stakes finals, worth a total of nearly C$2 million, are Saturday at Woodbine.

Lyons Again was the longest shot driven by Gingras, at 14-1, but his Governor’s Cup elimination win from post nine by three-quarters of a length over Traceur Hanover in 1:52.4 was not a complete surprise.

“He was a longshot for everybody (else) but I’ve really, really liked this colt,” Gingras said. “He’s really been a bridesmaid, always finishing second or third, but he ran into a really sharp horse in Artspeak early in the year. There’s no shame in finishing second to him, as sharp as he was.”

A son of Dragon Again-A Filly To Fear owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound, Lyons Again has one win, four seconds and two thirds in eight starts. Three times he hit the board in races won by Artspeak, with two runner-up finishes, and once he finished second to Yankee Bounty. Artspeak and Yankee Bounty are harness racing’s two richest 2-year-old male pacers and have combined to win 15 of 18 races.

Lyons Again, who finished third in the Metro Pace and has earned $161,687 this year, was not eligible to the Grand Circuit races at The Red Mile in Lexington, so the colt enjoyed a six-week layoff following his second-place finish in a division of the Champlain Stakes on Sept. 6 at Mohawk.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Ron Burke Keeps Breaking Earnings Records

By Ken Weingartner

With the record for purses in the bank and 11 weeks remaining on the calendar, trainer Ron Burke is now left to contemplate how much his stable can increase its earnings before the end of the year.

Burke, who in 2013 became the first trainer to eclipse $20 million in a season -- finishing the campaign with $22.23 million, moved $9,333 beyond that figure this year thanks to earning $11,750 at Yonkers Raceway on Monday night. His stable broke last year’s mark when pacer Rockstar Temper won the sixth race.

“It’s neat because coming into this year I thought we might not be able to reach that,” Burke said. “Now to reach it this early, you wonder how far you can go. The next mark is 25 (million dollars). There’s not a ton of stakes races left, but there’s enough that if we can put together a run, maybe we could do 25.”

Last year, Burke’s horses won 25 races worth at least $100,000. This season, the “Burke Brigade” has captured 38 races worth at least $100,000. Among those victories were 3-year-old pacer JK Endofanera in the North America Cup, 5-year-old pacer Sweet Lou in the Ben Franklin Pace and William R. Haughton Memorial, 3-year-old pacer Limelight Beach in the Little Brown Jug, and 2-year-old trotter Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle.

He also won four New York Sire Stakes championships, plus two sire stakes crowns each in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and one in New Jersey.

Written by HRI Publisher | Comments (0)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Quotes for the $2 Million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Rosie Napravnik (jockey, Untapable, 1st) – “My husband and I are starting a family and my retirement will start on Monday. I’m very excited. I wasn’t worried about being wide on the first turn not considering the amount of horse I knew I had underneath me.”

Nov 1 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Quotes for the $1 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf

Irad Ortiz Jr. (jockey, Lady Eli, 1st) – “It was really good. I got a perfect trip and can't complain. My filly broke good and I got a nice spot down inside, and then I broke through the hole when (Sunset Glow) came out. My filly flew right through there. I was patient and waited like the trainer…

Nov 1 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Quotes for the $1 Million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

Rafael Bejarano (jockey, Goldencents, 1st) – “I knew I was going fast and I had to find a way to give him a little break from the three-eighths to the quarter-pole. I was able to do that. When the other horse started to come to me, I held onto him just a little bit before I turned him loose. When…

Nov 1 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Quotes for the $1 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

Frankie Dettori (jockey, Hootenanny, 1st) – “It was my first time on him but I had seen him run in England, so I knew his style. He wasn’t pulling. I got him settled. When I turned him on, I knew I had the race.”

Dennis Ward (father of trainer Wesley Ward, Hootenanny and Luck of…

Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Notes - Friday, October 31

Art Sherman (California Chrome) – “He looked great,” said trainer Sherman Friday after the Kentucky Derby winner galloped 1 5/8m at 6 am under regular exercise rider Willie Delgado for the Classic.

“I plan to jog him in the morning the wrong way for a mile,” said Sherman of the…

Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf Report

Aidan O'Brien (War Envoy, Juvenile Turf; Qualify, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report

Bill Mott (Quality Rocks, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Quality Rocks had a routine gallop for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott Thursday.

Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Sprint and Filly & Mare Sprint Report

Alfredo Velasquez (Private Zone, Sprint) – Good Friends Stable’s Private Zone went through another routine morning on Thursday – heading out to the Santa Anita main track around 7 a.m. to jog 1m and then gallop 1m. Trained by Alfredo Velazquez, he continues to make a positive account of himself…

Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Turf Sprint and Dirt Mile Report

Bob Baffert (Fed Biz, Dirt Mile) – Fed Biz galloped 1 1/2 m Thursday morning.

With the withdrawl due to injury of favored American Pharoah from the Juvenile, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was asked which of his six remaining entrants would move to the top of his win hopes list. The…

Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies - Thurs. notes

Aidan O’Brien (The Great War, Juvenile) – see European report

Al Stall, Jr. (Top Decile, Juvenile Fillies) – Trainer Al Stall, Jr. does not mind flying under the radar with Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence’s 2yo filly Top Decile for this Saturday’s 14 Hands Winery Breeders’…

Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Mile - Thurs. notes

Anodin – see European report

Kaigun – Trainer Mark Casse, who has four entrants including Mile contender Kaigun in this year’s Breeders’ Cup, likened Thursday’s waiting game before the two-day event on Friday and Saturday to being stopped in traffic at a yellow light.

Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Filly and Mare Turf -Thursday Notes

Abaco – Phipps Stable’s Abaco galloped 1 1/4m and schooled in the paddock Thursday morning at Santa Anita in preparation for a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The 6yo daughter of Giant’s Causeway is enjoying her most productive racing season in 2014.

Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Turf - Thursday notes

Big John B – A 1 1/2m jog on the training track was the main exercise of the day for Big John B, the 20-1 shot who will carry the hopes of owner Michael House and trainer Phil D'Amato in the $3 Million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf.

Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)