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

Wise Dan’s Finest Hour

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 30, 2014—At this stage, it’s amazing that certain Thoroughbreds can still provide chills and thrills to fans, bettors and everyone in between.

But betting wasn’t necessary to have an interest in the Bernard Baruch, not when two-time defending Horse of the Year is making his first start since Derby day, enduring colic surgery in between.

It’s no secret that we wished that at some point in the last two seasons, that the connections of Wise Dan would take the highest road possible; there was no question as to turf mile supremacy. So why not one run for the ages?

On a simply gorgeous Saratoga afternoon, Wise Dan returned to work, attempting to win the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch for the third consecutive year off a series of seven workouts while having to spot seven rivals anywhere from 8 to 13 pounds.

After 29 races, 21 lifetime victories, multiple championships and $6.8 million later, the 56th running of the Bernard Baruch turned out to be Wise Dan’s finest hour.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)
Welcome Back Champ; Welcome Back, Visitors

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 29, 2014—In the past, we have been critical of the connections of two-time defending Horse of the Year champion Wise Dan for taking a road less sporting.

But as to the remainder of Wise Dan’s 2014 racing schedule, which commences in Saturday’s Grade 2 Bernard Baruch with the storied gelding seeking a three-peat, trainer Charlie LoPresti is properly impatient when it comes to questions regarding a title defense.

"I don't know how many people have said, ‘You need to do this,’ or ‘You need to do that’ to get Horse of the Year’” LoPresti said to a NYRA press staffer on Thursday. “I'm not even thinking about that right now.”

Nor should he have to.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (18)

‘Belief’ and ‘Chrome’ could be the new Alydar and Affirmed

Shared Belief's dominant score in the Pacific Classic answers the last question about his brilliance. He has won on synthetics and dirt. He has won at six furlongs and a mile and a quarter. He is the first of his generation to take on and put down older horses in an important race. But he still has one obstacle to overcome en route to a divisional Eclipse and Horse of the Year: Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome. That showdown is expected to come in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Even casual fans should be excited about that.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (29)
It’s never on Sunday for Gulfstream stakes


Florida (and other jurisdictions) once had high hopes that Sunday would become the equal of Saturday in drawing fans to the track. It hasn't happened. Gulfstream is giving up on forcing the issue. Its winter stakes schedule--67 races, 37 graded--doesn't include a single Sunday stakes.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (17)

A Sport in Conflict with Itself: Policing vs Promoting

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 13, 2014--The approach that can help insure racing’s survival might have been outlined two years ago when Travis Tygart, the CEO and Counsel to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, was invited to speak at the annual Jockey Club Round Table conference here.

That day Tygart’s message reached many of the industry’s most influential stakeholders and, intertwined with Senate investigations into a spate of equine injuries and fatalities, the idea of federal regulation was introduced.

What everybody thought they knew then, and still believes, is that federal legislation can’t work because individual states control racing’s rules and regulations and there’s no realistic chance that the status quo would ever change.

Horsemen’s groups cite the progress being made on the medication front. Matters like these take time, they say. The issue is highly charged and has become political as proponents and opponents have dug in their heels.

And the wheels of politics grind very slowly, if and when they grind at all.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)
L’Affaire Martin: Del Mar Wants It Both Ways

SARATOGA SPRINGS, July 15, 2014—This time, it was the other, silent member of “Dumb Ass Partners,” Perry Martin, who jumped ugly on the subject of dual Classics winner and 2014 Horse of the Year co-favorite, California Chrome.

Yes, this is the same man that blew off the Preakness in a fit of Derby pique and who recently raked Del Mar over the coals for having the temerity to suggest that “America’s Horse” be honored with a parade between races on Pacific Classic day.

The story has been told in different precincts and in disparate versions and there seems to be enough “blame” to go around about a much-ado-about-very-little incident that became front page racing news because Kentucky Derby winners always are.

And that’s especially true this time when the Derby-Preakness winner’s story didn’t end on the sand and loam of Belmont Park but rather on the front page of national and network media after Steve Coburn’s meltdown following Chrome’s crushing Triple Crown defeat.

Finally, with his wife at his side like some politician who got his business caught in some cookie’s jar, Coburn, after doubling down on his post-Belmont rant the following day, made a humbling, tearful apology before a network audience the day after that. It was a case of all's well that ends.

If anything, Coburn’s knee jerk tirade and Martin’s insensitivity indicates that it just might be harder for connections of any good horse to hold their best form for over two months than it is for their equine athletes. Clearly, it was time for a badly needed freshening.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)

The Speedy Sweet Lou

Ben Ken Weingartner

Only once during his current 10-race win streak has Sweet Lou trailed other horses at the halfway point, but trainer Ron Burke wouldn’t mind seeing it happen again in Saturday’s C$634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby (CPD) at Mohawk Racetrack.

Sweet Lou won his CPD elimination last week by a length over stablemate Foiled Again in 1:48.1, ending a record streak of six consecutive victories in less than 1:48, but still good enough to give his connections the opportunity to pick his starting spot for the final. Sweet Lou, with regular driver Ron Pierce, will leave from post three and is the 4-5 morning line favorite.

In his last six races, Sweet Lou has reached the half-mile point no slower than :53.3. The only time he trailed during that span came in the William R. Haughton Memorial final, when he followed Thinking Out Loud in the outer flow and got by earlier leaders Bettor’s Edge and Captaintreacherous in the stretch to win by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:47.1.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing that trip in the Canadian Pacing Derby,” Burke said. “I’ve got a feeling you’re getting to the point now where people are trying to leave real hard with the intention that if they make the front they know they’re not going to have to cut it because (Sweet Lou) is coming.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
E.L. Titan Hopes to Loom Large

By Ken Weingartner

Stakes-winner E L Titan has been absent from the Grand Circuit this season, but that is soon to change.

The 3-year-old male trotter, who won three of five starts last season, including divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Madison County, made his 2014 debut earlier this month and is getting ready for the Simcoe Stakes and Canadian Trotting Classic, both at Mohawk Racetrack.

Riina Rekila, who trains E L Titan for breeder/owner Erkki Laakkonen, qualified E L Titan on July 4 at Mohawk, where he won in 1:57.4, but didn’t see the colt make his first start until Aug. 9, when he was victorious by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 in a conditioned race at Mohawk.


Written by Publisher | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Riskaverse Quotes

Tom Albertrani, winning trainer of Miss Frost (No. 2): "Her last two races she's made steps forward; it was a tremendous performance from her. We weren't planning on being on the front end, but it's just the way things worked out. She was just dragging Edgar along. Down the backside I thought maybe she…


Aug 30 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 8/29

Stephanoatsee stepping up in G1 Woodward
• Long River can give trainer another G1 Woodward upset; Cavorting breezes
• Confrontation ready to take on G1 competition in Forego
• Brown sends out Zivo and Last Gunfighter in Woodward; Partisan Politics and Startup Nation come back…


Aug 29 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Tom Durkin - two-day celebration at Saratoga Race Course

The New York Racing Association to honor legendary race caller Tom Durkin with special two-day celebration at Saratoga Race Course

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. will celebrate the illustrious career of longtime track announcer Tom Durkin with two days in…


Aug 29 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Moreno seeks second straight Grade 1 in 61st running of the Woodward

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - What a difference a race makes.

Southern Equine Stable's Moreno has long held a reputation as a fast and dangerous horse that fights hard all the way but gets caught at the end of the biggest graded stakes events. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper gelding changed that…


Aug 28 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
P.G. Johnson Quotes

Chad Brown, winning trainer of Partisan Politics (No. 3): "We spoke about it in the paddock, Javier and I, and we really wanted the spot the No. 1 [Ancient Goddess] was in going into the first turn. Handicapping the race, I thought there were two speed horses, and I knew that European horses generally…


Aug 28 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Ballerina (G1) Quotes

Mike Hushion, winning trainer of Artemis Agrotera (No. 1): How was she training after finishing eighth in the Grade 1 TVG Acorn? "Just lightened up on her a little. She's a filly that apparently does better off of light training than five-eights [of a mile] in a minute every six days."




Aug 23 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Ketel One King’s Bishop (G1) Quotes

Tony Dutrow, winning trainer of The Big Beast (No. 7): "[Javier Castellano] came to the paddock and said, 'This horse will be OK today. There are two or three inside of me who are going to go, and I'm going to sit and make a run. I want to get the jump on [Coup de Grace].' And that's just what happened."

Aug 23 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Ballston Spa (G2) Quotes

Shug McGaughey, winning trainer of Abaco (No. 3): "I'm excited. In her last three races, she's really had some good moves and been unlucky to lose. Jose [Ortiz] rode a great race today and got her in good position. She's a funny kind of filly; if you allow her to lay too close she won't finish as well.…


Aug 23 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Better Talk Now Quotes

Brian Lynch, winning trainer of Heart to Heart (No. 2): "You're getting to the end of the season, so there's not many straight 3-year-old races, especially at a mile on the turf. His race at Keeneland was very impressive, and then we chased the Queen's Plate a little bit. I think he really runs the turns…


Aug 21 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Quotes from the draw for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers

Dallas Stewart, trainer of Commanding Curve (No. 1, 15-1):
About his reputation as a stretch runner: "That's his style. He's got the one hole. He's doing very well. I got my main man, Pedro Velez. He's a little different of an exercise rider than the last guy who was galloping him. He's more of…


Aug 20 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Tonalist, Wicked Strong tangle again in Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Grade 1 winners Tonalist and Wicked Strong will renew their budding rivalry on racing's biggest summer stage, joined by fellow Grade 1 heroes Bayern and Mr Speaker among 10 horses set to gather for the 145th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Saturday at…


Aug 20 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) Quotes

H. Graham Motion, trainer of winner Main Sequence (No. 4):"That was worrying. But when they went so quick, I felt a lot better. [Jockey] Rajiv [Maragh] did a great job. I told him if he doesn't break don't worry about it, and that's what he did. [Breaking slowly] has been his trait all along. I talked…


Aug 18 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)