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.

John Parisella
John Parisella has enjoyed a legendary career as a "horseman's horseman." At last count, he won 27 races with 27 different horses at 27 different tracks. His observations will appear bi-weekly, Mondays and Fridays in his "Parisella At the Races" 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

A Breeders’ Cup Juvenile ‘freak’ to root for and bet

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile seems exceptionally loaded this year. Classic Empire is a likely deserving favorite. Practical Joker and Syndegaard are coming in hot from New York. Either Gormley or Klint could be the next Kentucky Derby winner to come out of California. No telling how good Iroquois winner Not This Time might be. But there's a "freak" shipping west from Florida, who might be talented enough to outrun them all at a generous price.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (3)
Early retirement of stars only part of racing’s problem

It's encouraging that a number of stars, such as California Chrome, Beholder, Flintshire and Tepin are racing as 5- and 6-year-olds.However, it doesn't help the game a lot when they appear in the entries every two months or less on average. There are myriad causes but all can be remedied and must be if racing is to reverse its downward spiral.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (18)

Who Should Breeders’ Cup Bettors Call? Tote Busters©

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 18, 2016—I’ve got a product I’m offering for sale. I’ve never done this before; selling something on my own and not in partnership with another entity. It’s about quality control and cost-- not production cost but price at the retail level.


The example below from Belmont Park’s Oct. 15 Pebbles Stakes, originally posted at HRI last Saturday, is an abbreviated sample of what to expect from a Breeders’ Cup handicapping horse-profile product, called Tote Busters.

Its creation, and name, is an upshot of something that Cary Fotias and I had planned to unearth before his untimely passing several years ago. I have not forgotten its genesis and core principles, just as I will never forget my dear friend.

Regulars at are already familiar with the concept, but heretofore will be enhanced and improved starting with the 2016 Breeders’ Cup.

If it is well received, Tote Busters will be available every weekend and on big-event days starting Dec. 5 with Gulfstream Park’s Claiming Crown program that jumpstarts the track's Championship season.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (10)
Breeders’ Cup Prep Season Ends Today?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 16, 2016--Finally, the Breeders' Cup prep season is over, yes?

Between Saturday's action--doubtful, but perhaps BC eventful--the British Day of Champions at Ascot, and Sunday's Canadian International, Nearctic, and EP Taylor at Woodbine, how could there possibly be any more?

On Saturday. I almost was disappointed to read Todd Pletcher’s quotes regarding the victory by Theory after the Grade 3 Belmont Futurity—yet another New York stakes race that has gone back. I mean, six furlongs?

Anyway, I was disheartened because I had a Theory [sorry], possible physical issues notwithstanding, that the trainer really likes the uber impressive Saratoga maiden breaker, has a big future and thus has become his personal Kentucky Derby project.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (7)

Marc Lawrence Best College & Pro Upsets, Weekend of Oct. 21, 2016

Arkansas over AUBURN by 10

A tip of the visor to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. After a 1-2 start, Gus was perched above a flaming-meteor hotseat when he not only staved off execution, he finally lit a fire under his football team. Now riding a 3-game SUATS win skein, including a 38-14 dismantling of Mississippi State at Starkville two weeks ago, Auburn is playing with supreme confidence on both sides of the ball. And Tiger fans who were pissed by their team’s absence in this year’s AP Preseason poll (six other SEC teams made the Top 25) are now enjoying talk that Aubbie is on the verge of becoming a legitimate darkhorse in the SEC. To which we say: wake up. Because of their sudden public appeal, the Tigers are certainly overpriced here, laying near-doubles today when they took a full TD from the Hogs at Fayetteville last year. Bret Bielema’s Razorbacks proved they could compete for a full 60 minutes when they survived an epic 34-30 slugfest against Ole Miss last Saturday, and the Hogs own a soo-weet 5-1 ATS mark when taking 17 or fewer points as conference road dogs. Currently obscured by the Auburn spotlight is the fact that the Tigers are a terrible risk in this situation, going just 3-9 ATS as SEC chalk of 7 or more points from Game Three out. Hey, just winning the contest outright won’t be easy as Malzahn stands a shaky 4-10 SU in his last 14 conference games! Making matters worse, Auburn is caught smack in the middle of a Mississippi revenge sandwich: off the MSU revenge win (1-5 ATS after Miss State) with an Ole Miss revenger on deck (2-6 SUATS before playing the Rebels). Will the Tigers summon a superior effort to honor former Auburn DE Quentin Groves, who died unexpectedly this week at the age of 32? Perhaps, but deaths within football programs usually result in dreadful perfomances the following game with broken hearts not yet ready to mend so quickly. With that, we’ll side with a scrappy bunch of Hogs that have posted a 4-2 SU winning effort in their last six games versus ranked foes. While head Tiger Malzahn basks in the glow of his team’s recent success, we’ll focus instead on THE CLINCHER: Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is 12-3-1 ATS as a dog off a SUATS win in his career, including 11-1 ATS as a dog of 10 or less points.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)
Marc Lawrence College & Pro Best Upsets, Nov. 14-16

VIRGINIA over Pittsburgh by 7

The Panthers continue to win slugfest games as they’ve scored 36 or more points in all fi ve FBS contests this season while surrendering 27 or more in each game. The feeling here is that a bigger game with Virginia Tech is up next and might grab more of their focus… and that would be a mistake. Especially since the Cavaliers have gone full circle under Bronco Mendenhall, dropping their fi rst three games of his tenure before responding with a pair of wins in the last two contests. The Cavs are now Homecoming dogs with rest, a terrifi c spot for avenging teams, and Virginia is currently riding a 10-game ATS win skein as a dog versus FBS foes. Our Coaches’ Database kicks in with THE CLINCHER: Mendenhall is 8-1 ATS as a conference dog of 3 or more points, including 8-0 ATS when his team’s win percentage is less than .600.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)

An Open Letter to New York State’s Franchise Oversight Board

ELMONT, NEW YORK, October 11, 2016 - To the membership of the New York State Franchise Oversight Board:

I'm writing as a concerned New Yorker and I'm sure I represent many tax-paying citizens of our state.

The New York Racing Association, its Board of Directors, and executives seem to subsist in some kind of ideological bubble that won’t allow reality to interfere until the franchise is returned to them.

While assuming this position, the NYRA has exhibited questionable business practices and has shirked its fiduciary responsibility.

Of course, this comes as a result of delay tactics by state government that is efforting to maintain control of Thoroughbred racing on America’s most important horse racing circuit.

I dutifully ask that the FOB scrutinize the following:

NYRA's president and chief executive officer, Christopher Kay, has said his utmost priority is to make a profit, yet his authority has failed to lead NYRA down a sound fiscal path.

Payments from Genting's Resort World Casino, which were agreed to by the state as part of a franchise extension agreement, among other considerations, have not been met in full due in part to Governor Andrew Cuomo's arbitrary order to cap casino revenue at 2012 levels.

In 2007, NYRA traded the property rights of its three racetracks--Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga--for casino revenue. There were no caps in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by then Governor Elliott Spitzer.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (71)
How About Preps for Belmont Fall Three-Year-Olds?

ELMONT, NY, September 27, 2016 – In 1971, Philadelphia mayor James Tate unexpectedly resigned from his third term and appointed Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo as his replacement. Many questioned the legality of the move but no one legally challenged it.

Rizzo had the reputation of being a notorious cop who left a brutal legacy. Like George Wallace before him and now Donald Trump, Rizzo preyed on white working-class fears of the city's rising violent crime rate and made no bones about his racist distaste for blacks.

"Just wait after November, you'll have a front row seat because I'm going to make Attila the Hun look like a faggot," he said of his enemies during his 1975 re-election bid.

Another move of Rizzo's was to increase taxes. So much so that Thoroughbred racing pulled out of Liberty Bell Park and Keystone Race Track was quickly constructed on the site of a pig farm in Bensalem Township, just north of the city line about 3 miles from where Liberty Bell once stood.

Keystone opened in November of 1974 with all the charm of a strip mall. In fact, because of the large “K” attached to the grandstand, many people dubbed it the K-Mart of racing.

Now renamed Parx Casino and Racing, the track was the site of last weekend's major Thoroughbred races, including the Pennsylvania Derby and Cotillion Stakes of course, the latter a hold-over from Liberty Bell.

But here’s a question: How can a second-tier track eclipse racing at Belmont Park? The answer is that the New York Racing association offers no races for 3-year-olds of either sex on dirt at its Belmont fall meeting.

Now that's a serious hole in the NYRA's stakes schedule.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (22)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Quotes from the $100,000 Sycamore (G3)

Angel Cruz (winning rider of Renown [GB])
On scoring his second graded stakes victory of Keeneland’s Fall Meet following the Darley Alcibiades (G1) on Oct. 7 on Dancing Rags
“I love Keeneland. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful.”

On his victory aboard Renown

Oct 21 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
New York-breds shine on Empire Showcase Day

ELMONT, N.Y. - New York-breds will take center stage on Saturday as Belmont Park hosts its annual Empire Showcase Day, featuring a unique 11-race all-state-bred card, including eight stakes races worth a total of $1.75 million in purses and anchored by the $300,000 Empire Classic Handicap.

Oct 21 | Categories: | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 10/20

• G1 Met Mile, Whitney hero Frosted confirmed for BC Classic
• Shaman Ghost stretches his legs for BC Classic, Prat to ride Effinex
• Hot City Girl looks to pick up family mantle on Empire Showcase Day

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed Thursday morning…

Oct 21 | Categories: | Comments (0)
Renovated and Reinvigorated Laurel Park Welcomes Maryland Million

More than $20 million in Frontside and Backside Improvements
New Technology, Lounge, Bars and Dining Rooms
Video Tour of Facility

LAUREL, MD – The Maryland Jockey Club and Laurel Park await the 31st running of the Jim McKay Maryland Million Saturday, showcasing…

Oct 20 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
Maryland Million Draw

Maryland Million Draw to be Live Streamed Wednesday on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Lucky Viewer Can Win Apple Watch
Event Begins at 4:30 p.m. from Laurel Park
31st Maryland Million Saturday, Oct. 22

LAUREL, MD – The Maryland Jockey Club will…

Oct 18 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
Laurel Park Gearing Up for Maryland Million Celebration

185 Nominees to Nine Stakes on Saturday, Oct. 22
Position Draw 4 P.M. Wednesday, Oct. 19 at TIPS Restaurant
Maryland Club in Baltimore Hosting Gala Friday, Oct. 21
Return of Marylandia Highlights Million Day Festivities
New Second Floor Lounge, Box Suites, Ruffian Room and…

Oct 17 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
Theory in practice with G3 Futurity victory

ELMONT, N.Y. - WinStar Farm and China Horse Club's Theory proved he was back in full force Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, posting a 3 ½-length victory in the 126th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Futurity for 2-year-olds at six furlongs.

Settling in second early under Javier Castellano,…

Oct 16 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup

Time and Motion Prevails in Three-Horse Photo to Win
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane’s End

LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 15, 2016)
– The Phillips Racing Partnership of John Phillips’ Time and Motion collared Hawksmoor (IRE) in deep stretch and held off a furious…

Oct 16 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Tickets to The Pegasus World Cup Invitational Available Now

The Stronach Group Releases The First Block of Tickets to The Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Hallandale Beach, Florida
– October 13, 2016 – The Stronach Group announced today the first blocks of tickets to The Pegasus World Cup Invitational are now available. The Pegasus World…

Oct 13 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Cherry Lodge looks to move forward in G3 Matron

ELMONT, N.Y. - Gainesway Stables' Cherry Lodge will headline a field of five in the 110th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Matron for juvenile fillies at six furlongs on Sunday at Belmont Park.

A $450,000 yearling purchase in the 2015 Keeneland September sales, the daughter of Bernardini…

Oct 13 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Campbell gets call for ‘International’ drive

One driver heads to Saturday’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot with his name already etched among previous winners of the race. The driver, of course, is John Campbell.

Campbell won the 1988 International Trot as part of a magical campaign with Mack Lobell. The legendary trotter…

Oct 13 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., | Comments (0)
Campbell gets call for ‘International’ drive

One driver heads to Saturday’s $1 million Yonkers International Trot with his name already etched among previous winners of the race. The driver, of course, is John Campbell.

Campbell won the 1988 International Trot as part of a magical campaign with Mack Lobell. The legendary trotter…

Oct 13 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., | Comments (0)