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

54 Entrants in Gulfstream Late Pick 4 + Free Square Too?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 1, 2016

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RACE 10 MY DEAR GIRL STAKES 2YO Fillies 1-1/16 Miles

1-Larryandpearlslucy (30-1): Authoritative debut winner at Mountaineer over even money rival is bred to go long and gets confident placement from barn that’s 31% first-time going long. Long pedigree and pole position; consider exotics slot only at huge odds.
2-Sweet Tooth Haven (5-1): Trainer Gold said taking her out of her best speed game in Susan’s Girl was a mistake. Fastest on Pricci Energy and Thoro-Graph scales and will be on engine from inside post. Improvement expected.
3-Katinka (15-1): Had no excuses when second vs. maidens last out, albeit colts, and barn is profitable with stretch-outs. Dynamics put her between a rock and hard place.
4-Hello Juliet (20-1): Finished well too late for 4th in bulky Desert Vixen matchup behind undefeated favorite here. Owns stretchout pedigree, good spacing, and solid works at GPW base.
5-Dude Fantasy (6-1): Earned competitive PER in MSW debut, has two-turn pedigree, and returned in nine days for first of three works for this; Tyler on re-ride for top juvenile connects.
6-Surprise Wedding (10-1): Trainer Fawkes took complete base on balls vs. maiden claimers in very educational winning debut; ears pricking and geared down at finish. Way up in class and distance but showed high promise. Check replay; exotics potential.
7-Katira (20-1): Finished evenly in both lifetime starts while never threatening to break maiden. Good connects but extremely tall task here.
8-Stormy Embrace (12-1): Placed gamely behind today’s favorite despite racing greenly while wide in deep stretch in sloppy 7-furlongs last out. Had purposeful and solid mile breeze for this at GPW base.
9-Grandma Maria (30-1): Beat 11 rivals while making two moves on the lead, proving much the best before coming back with very sharp breeze 7 days later. Win came at $16K maiden-claiming level, however.
10-U S Diva (8-1): Had tough trip on sealed wet surface in Susan’s Girl going 7 furlongs following game placing behind favorite in Desert Vixen prior. Has the right style but a little light on two-turn family.
11-Fleet Dude (12-1): Snatched victory from defeat’s jaws in two-turn maiden breaker on turf in Indiana last out. Super trainer Cox has [4] 2-1-0 slate shipping here and is field’s lone starter with two two-turn runs. Attracts Cornelio; very interesting.
12-Stop the Drama (30-1): Stretches out from two turf sprints for low profile outfit that’s 4-for-12 making route debuts and also is 2-for-5 with second-Lasix runners. But unable to handle maiden claimers last out.
13-Cajun Delta Dawn (2-1): Four-for-four lifetime, has versatility and a bulldog refuse-to-lose heart. Seeking to become only second filly to sweep filly series [Awesome Feather]. Has top connects but post an absolute killer here. Need closer to 3-1 for straight play.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Pennsylvania Derby All Stakes Pick 4

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RACE 9 Maiden Claiming 6-1/2 Furlongs

5-Ratface Macdougall (6-1) Been showing improved speed with each subsequent start, just missing in last. Has bullet work for this but added sixteenth unlikely to help. Recent blowout fastest of 10 for the week here. (won, 6-1)
8-Sir Bronx (3-1) Carroll barn en fuego recent and is 35% effective with its beaten claimers. Late developing 3YO gelding has improved since dropping to this level for last two. Solid works and Contreras on a return call; obvious must use. (2nd, 5-2)


7-The Pizza Man (8-1) Hasn’t delivered [sorry] since taking Del Mar G2 last fall. Prolific winner is a worthy (9) 3-0-2 at the trip but has not hit the board in either WO appearance. Recent AP work 4th fastest of 47 peers last week. (won, 5-1)
4-Wake Forest (5-2) Talented but has been somewhat enigmatic this season despite winning G1 Man o’ War this spring at Belmont. Solid recent works since tough-trip Million try and gets switch to Irad. Anticipating big last-run finish. (2nd, 5-2)

RACE 11 Allowances 1-1/16 MILES

3-Milwaukee Mist (4-1) 1-for-1 following barn change to Attfield who enjoys success going turf to AW, this runner’s preferred surface. Raffy Hernandez looking for repeat winning ride. (won, 7-2)
1-Cito (8-1) Barn is profitable with its AW performers but has struggled this meet. Three lifetime wins here and loves the trip with five exacta finishes including two wins. Just missed vs. weaker in last but Da Silva sticks; mixed signals. (2nd, 7-1)


8-Tepin (1-2) Queen of the Turf, literally and figuratively, seeks eighth straight victory, fifth G1 since streak began last fall and her third over males. Wisely given time following arduous Queen Anne score. Outside draw provides Leparoux with options. Obvious one to beat, but this still a prep for defense of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile title (won, 2-5)
1-Tower of Texas (20-1) Finished well too late [see replay] when second in G2 Play King prepping for this August 20, a race producing one next-out winner from two starters. Won the King Edward at the trip last year... (2nd, 23-1)
2-Mutakayyef (7-2) Has been a different horse this season, winning Group 2 Summer Mile two back before a very game third vs. Postponed in York’s G1 Juddmonte International. Two of three lifetime wins at this trip and reuniting with winning partner O’Neill. Serious rival (3rd, 3-1)

* * *

RACE 8 Pennsylvania Derby Champion Stakes 3 & UP 1-1/16 MILES

1-Cyrus Alexander (6-1) Recent Longacres Mile is a key race producing two next out winners from three returnees. Makes mini-stretch to best trip [(5) 2-2-0], tactical speed, pole position, purposeful strong workline with Hollendorfer reaching out for Bejarano.
2-Encryption (9-2) Two-for-two on this quirky surface, was ambitiously spotted in recent MTH Grade 2. Breen is worthy 3-for-7 shipping to this venue from the Shore. Freshened, owns two recent bullet works and has run well beneath recent sensation Nik Juarez.
3-Bodisattva (10-1) is 4-for-7 at the route--1-for-15 doing anything else--and was third in stamina-building 12 furlongs over the track. Sheds five pounds and both wins this summer have been beneath Taylor Hole.
4-Res Judicata (4-1) A four-time winner here, was second at the trip last out. Won G3 Salvator Mile at MTH three back, has tactical speed, inside draw with John Servis switching to Javier here. Set for best from barn that’s 27% effective with beaten favorites.
5-Mr. Jordan (2-1) Hails from Plesa barn that’s worthy 27% in non-graded events, benefits from mini-two-turn turn-back and Paco on a return call. Very sharp blowout for this but acts best as a need-the-lead type.
6-War Story (12-1) Triple Crown-trailer at 3 was out of his element vs. California Chrome in Pacific Classic following sloppy-track score in Randall, Ohio. Gets prolific Parx veteran Pennington in the boot for barn that’s 29% profitable with new acquisitions.
7-Tale of Life (3-1) Won Spa finale going 9 furlongs and has been effective at today’s shorter trip. Motion barn going very well at the moment, has worked purposefully at Fair Hill base and gets switch to Geroux. Placed well and owns competitive Pricci Energy Ratings and on positive Thoro-Graph line

Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)

College & Pro Best Upsets, NFL Week 4


STANFORD over Washington by 10

It looks like the Pac-12 North will be decided on this last day in September as the 7th-ranked Cardinal travel to Seattle to take on No. 10 Washington. Both teams were exposed in victories last week as the Huskies needed overtime to top Arizona in the desert while Stanford’s all-everything, Christian McCaffrey (failed to fi nd the end zone for the fi rst time in 16 games), was gang-tackled in UCLA worse than the Old Spice Man in the Port of Savannah. The Cardinal still managed to rally late and that sets the stage for this tilt as: undefeated Game Four away teams off a SUATS win taking on a 4-0 SU foe are 7-1 ATS since 1980, including 4-0 ATS when they allow 12 or fewer PPG and 4-0 ATS when taking 3 or more points. Series history also sides with Stanford (7-1 SU last eight) as does a 8-1 ATS log in the second of back-to-back road games and 5-1 ATS weekday mark versus conference opponents. The bottom line is it’s impossible to ignore a dog with this type a pedigree, especially with the up-and-coming Huskies in unfamiliar territory and 1-6 ATS with conference revenge (fell 31-14 last season in Palo Alto). Now that’s more like it – back to a more customary two-team Friday night puppy parlay, topped off by THE CLINCHER: Cardinal HC David Shaw is 8-1 ATS as a dog with Stanford, including 5-0 ATS versus undefeated opposition.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)
Marc Lawrence Upset Best Bets, Week 3

PITTSBURGH over North Carolina by 7

In full support of the smokin’ hot SMART BOX, we’re off and running with the Panthers again this week. And our MIDWEEK ALERT agrees as well, noting Pitt’s powerful running game is averaging 240 RYPG, anchored by Heisman hopeful James Conner and his understudy Quadree Ollison (ACC Freshman of the Year with 1,121 rushing yards). In fact, these numbers fi t like a glove into a jelly-soft Tar Heels’ rush defense that allows 227 RYPG. The shocking stat from last week was the 640 yards given up by Pitt’s defense to a pissed-off Oklahoma State squad, but we can pretty much guarantee that a defensive mastermind like head coach Pat Narduzzi will not allow it to happen again. In fact, his troops are the only FBS team in the nation to have no regular games decided by more than 21 points the past two seasons – meaning they are in every game they play (average loss less than 7 PPG). On the fl ip side, the Heels put up 104 points against the likes of Illinois and James Madison this season, but were outstatted by 159 yards in a 9-point loss to Georgia. Also, consider that UNC is 0-3 SUATS in its last three lined games before facing Florida State. But when push comes to shove, here’s THE CLINCHER: The Panthers are 5-0 ATS as road dogs with triple revenge-exact and 4-0 ATS on the road with revenge under Narduzzi.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

Super Saturday under-rates this week’s racing

The best dirt horse, the most talented grass runner, the reigning sprint champion and a three-time Eclipse winner are among the superstars who will be in action Saturday, a day which features more Grade 1 races than the original Breeders' Cup agenda.In addition to eight Grade 1 events there are more than a dozen additional stakes scheduled, including the finales of the rich Florida Sire Stakes series at Gulfstream, each of which boasts an undefeated juvenile.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (4)
PARX in National Spotlight: No Males for Songbird; Nyquist Seeks Title

Songbird, who goes for 11 in a row Saturday in the Cotillion, won't risk her undefeated record against colts this year, according to her trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Meanwhile, Nyquist's trainer, Doug O'Neill, said the Pennsylvania Derby might be the Kentucky Derby winner's last shot to regain his status atop the 3-year-old male division. Both camps say the two outstanding sophomores have the $12 million Pegasus on Jan., 28 at Gulfstream in their long range plans.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (20)

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)
The Dog Days of Belmont Fall

ELMONT, NY, September 13, 2016 – My friend and colleague, the late Bill Leggett, a multiple Eclipse Award winning turf writer while at Sports Illustrated--when racing was still considered mainstream--had a theory that turnstiles didn’t go far enough.

What was lacking, Leggett thought, was that the counter lacked a mechanism that would flip customers over to empty their pockets before sending him back out the same way he came in, thereby eliminating the parimutuel middle man.

When he made that comment Leggett was referring to the turnstiles at Belmont Park. My snarky reply was “NYRA won't be happy until no one comes.”

Leggett’s theory and my reaction were made during a different era, under a different NYRA regime. However, it came only 10 years after the New York Racing Association opened its new Arthur Froehlich-designed building in 1968.

If you attended opening day at Belmont Park last Friday, you could have witnessed for yourself that NYRA appears to be closer to reaching the goal of zero than it ever has in its history.

While Leggett's prophecy is close to reaching fruition downstate, the exception continues to be in Leggett’s hometown of Saratoga Springs.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (24)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Mandatory Payout Saturday on Gulfstream’s $116,000 Rainbow 6 Carryover

Nicoletti and Courtney Handicap Rainbow 6 and Pick 5 (video link)
Mandatory Payouts of Pick 5 and Super Hi 5

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL — The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 13th consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park Friday, leaving a carryover jackpot of $116,529.84…

Sep 30 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Three Rules a Source of Pleasure, Pressure for Trainer Jose Pinchin

Shipper Fleet Dude Brings 2-Turn Experience into $500,000 My Dear Girl
Pletcher Sends out Pair of 2-year-olds in Saturday Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Working with 2-year-olds has kept Jose Pinchin young during a 45-year training career.

“If it wasn’t…

Sep 30 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Juvenile New York-bred stakes on tap Sunday at Belmont

ELMONT, N.Y. - A pair of juvenile stakes for New York-breds are on tap Sunday at Belmont Park with $150,000 Bertram Bongard and $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma for fillies, at seven furlongs on the dirt.

Entering the Bongard from the barn of trainer Chad Brown is impressive maiden winner Mirai.…

Sep 30 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)



Perhaps Victor Espinoza’s most natural trait is his easy going, roll-with-the-punches attitude.

Sep 30 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Pricci, Aiello Handicap Saturday’s $1.6 Million Florida Sire Stakes

Undefeated Three Rules, Cajun Delta Dawn Go for Saturday Sweep
13-Race Program Draws 144 Entries
Mandatory Payouts of Rainbow 6, Pick 5, Super Hi 5

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park's Saturday program - featuring the $1.6 million Florida Sire Stakes - has drawn one of the…

Sep 30 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Flintshire faces few foes in G1 Joe Hirsch

ELMONT, N.Y. - Undefeated since being transferred to the care of trainer Chad Brown, Juddmonte Farms' multiple graded stakes winning turf specialist Flintshire will face three rivals as he goes in search of his fourth consecutive victory headlining Saturday's $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont…

Sep 30 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Barn Notes: Thursday, Sept. 29


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016)
– The much-anticipated wait for the return of reigning Champion Sprinter Runhappy ends Saturday…

Sep 30 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)



Sep 30 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Three Rules, Cajun Delta Dawn Breeze For Oct. 1 Florida Sire Stakes

Undefeated Juveniles Eye Series Sweeps on $1.6 Million Stakes Card

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Undefeated Three Rules and Cajun Delta Dawn breezed at Gulfstream Park Saturday in preparation for Florida Sire Stakes sweep attempts next Saturday on a program featuring eight…

Sep 25 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes, Sunday, September 25

Brown's fleet preps for "super" Saturdays; Connect in good form following upset victory in Pennsylvania Derby
• Pletcher readying Ectot, J.S. Choice, Off the Tracks, Theory, Nonna Mela, Cherry Lodge, Syndergaard, et al for upcoming stakes engagements
• Effinex and Shaman Ghost…

Sep 25 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Mrs McDougal goes gate-to-wire to win G3 Noble Damsel

ELMONT, N.Y. - Mrs McDougal started strong and held off all challengers in the seven-horse field for a gate-to-wire victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

Breaking from post 5 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., the Chad Brown-trained daughter of Medaglia…

Sep 25 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Stakes Recap & Quotes


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016)
– G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s homebred Mines and Magic muscled her way through an opening at the top of the…

Sep 25 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)