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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.

Bob Ike's Free Racing Picks
Bob will be providing HRI readers a free racing picks for SoCal throughout each week.

Darin Zoccali's Free Harness Racing Picks
Zoccali will be handicapping the feature race at The New Meadowlands nightly and will occasionally cover a major national harness race from other venues.

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.

UK Horse Racing
Epsom Derby 2013 , a personal favourite is fast approaching. A really great resource to read ahead of the event is the Racing Post's Derby microsite. It covers all news stories as they unfold as well providing all the racecards, free tips and plenty more.

Royal Ascot The Queens horse racing show piece. Latest news, odds and tips provided courtesy of the Racing Post.


Latest Columns and Blogs

Let the Waiting Begin

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ, April 19, 2014—Well, the two final Der.., er, Preakness preps have been run--but more on that later.

To say that Cairo Prince’s 3-year-old season has had its ups and downs following a thoroughly comprehensive victory in the Holy Bull Stakes early in the season would be an understatement.

First, came the Florida Derby disappointment which might have been able to be remedied; everything else being equal, which, of course, it never is.

Then following defections at the top of the Churchill Downs points leader board, he was able to draw into the field at #20. That was just; he deserved a spot in Derby 140.

Now comes the unfortunate ankle injury, the source of which remains a mystery to his connections at this writing, that has knocked him off the Derby trail but hopefully will not force him to enter the breeding shed prematurely.

The defection moved Vinceremos up to #20, giving Todd Pletcher a fourth Derby entrant should the status quo be maintained.

We’re not sure that the Sam F Davis winner and Tampa Bay Derby runnerup even has a puncher’s chance with this Derby class but one supposes that for the five-time Eclipse Award winner there is safety in numbers.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)
In Wake of Churchill’s Takeout Rise, Talk of Boycott Intensifies

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, April 17, 2014—I was trying to think of a possible headline to address the recent takeout increase at the upcoming Churchill Downs spring meet and “tone deaf” immediately came to mind.

Almost instantly, however, that description was too moderate to define this absolute unknowing decision in terms of what’s been learned about the economics of parimutuel takeout in recent years.

HorseRaceInsider has written extensively on this subject since 2010. What I have to say now I’ve said over and over and over and over again. Other websites and bloggers have done the same during the same period of time.

Can racetrack institutions and horsemen’s groups really be this obtuse?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (22)

Lessons to be learned from the Derby trail

History teaches many of the same lessons during each year's Kentucky Derby prep season. Alas, it seems few learn them.

MIAMI, April 16, 2014--We study history to learn from the past and hopefully not make the same mistakes. So what have we learned from this year’s Triple Crown prep season?

The foremost lesson is a reiteration. Getting involved in Kentucky Derby Futures betting is a fool’s venture. It got even more foolish this season when Churchill Downs moved the first pool into November 2013.

The smartest guy in the room is the one who makes one large preemptory bet on the field within minutes of the pool opening. (I assume it is one guy or one syndicate because the M.O. has been the same since Churchill introduced futures betting.)

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (28)
Social Inclusion owner: No price on a dream

Social Inclusion, might be sold between the Wood and Derby. However, his owner, Ron Sanchez, said any deal will have him keeping a substantial interest.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (6)

A Winning Night at the New Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NY, April 20, 2014—On Saturday night at the New Meadowlands, Robert McMasters of Milford, Ohio won the Second Annual World Harness Handicapping Championship.

The new champion McMasters moved early and he moved late, but if you looked at the pivotal races that won him the context, the results could not have been more disparate.

What was interesting is that it appeared he had blown his 82 rivals away with the second race winner on the Meadowlands card.

How can you catch someone that cashed a $40 win, $50 place bet on a horse returning $75.40 to win and $21.40 in the middle?

And how crazy was it that McMasters needed a $30 bet on the winner of the finale, OK Fame, paying $4.20. Clearly, it takes all kinds. McMasters amassed a final bankroll of $2,968, good for $16,600 in prize money.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)
California Chrome Notwithstanding, Derby Chaos Reigns

SARATOGA SPRINGS, April 14, 2014—Barring last-minute qualifiers from Saturday’s Lexington Stakes and late injury defections, the field for the 140th Kentucky Derby is all but set. And if there weren’t a modicum of clarity at the top, the Derby field--at least from a handicapping perspective--is in disarray.

California Chrome is a clear cut Derby favorite and solid support can be garnered for Santa Anita Derby runnerup Hopportunity, Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong, and undefeated, albeit lightly raced Florida Derby winner, Constitution. After that, it’s Katy bar the door.

With three weeks remaining, the Derby 140 picture is so muddled that fans might have an easier time making a case for California Chrome to become thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner than for any of his rivals to upset the Derby applecart.

How in the name of sanity are handicappers supposed to evaluate Saturday’s winner in Hot Springs in a Derby context in that not only did Danza’s win come in his second run this season, his fourth lifetime overall and his first start around two turns, but the Grade 1 was his “a other than" win?

In short, what does his victory say for the vanquished?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (22)

Not This Time For Foiled Again

By Joe Scarpa

As good as he is, even Foiled Again can't overcome a tough trip and the seven post at Yonkers.

That was the story last night at Old Hilltop as the fifth and final round of Levy preliminary races concluded with the first bump in the road this year for the great 10-year-old pacer. In the 11th race on the card Foiled Again's winning streak ended at six as he finished sixth, beating just one horse.

With the way the race developed Foiled Again never had a chance. Driver Yannick Gingras was aggressive off the gate but couldn't find a spot as his stablemate Easy Again grabbed the lead for George Brennan.

Foiled Again was last down the backstretch as Easy Again got away with soft fractions of 28.1 and 57.3. Easy Again stayed on top throughout for the win, saving those who made the Ron Burke entry 1-20. Foiled Again never got involved.

"He's got great gate speed and can get himself where he belongs," Brennan said. "Tonight that was the case. I got away with a cheap quarter, stepped it up a little bit in the second quarter and then he was just lights out."

The other Levy winners on the night were P H Supercam (4th race) and Dancin Yankee (5th race).

Written by Bill Finley | Comments (0)
Andy Miller Likely Will Be Out for SIx Months

Injured in a spill Tuesday night at Yonkers driver Andy Miller underwent successful surgery Wednesday at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to repair broken vertebrae in his back. He continues to have feeling in all his extremities, but Miller still faces a long recovery.

Speaking yesterday to Harness Racing Update, Miller's wife, Julie, said the estimate is that her husband will be out of action for about six months.

"How long will he be out? That's the $1 million question," Julie Miller said. "The doctors are hesitant to say, but they did say that it usually takes a good three months for the bones to heal and another three months for the ligaments to heal. So we're looking at six months, but time will tell.

Written by Bill Finley | Comments (0)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks Update: Monday, April 21

VICAR'S IN TROUBLE (No. 2) / GENERAL A ROD (No. 15) / HARRY'S HOLIDAY (No. 20) - Trainer Mike Maker reported Monday morning that his trio of Kentucky Derby possibilities "were doing just fine" at the nearby Trackside Training Center.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Vicar's in Trouble galloped at…

Apr 22 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Charles Town Classic Quotes

"I was wowed in the San Antonio. I was saying the same thing, 'Who is this horse?' He didn't do much running last time [in the Santa Anita Handicap], but I was very confident this is the kind of horse he is. He can do this.

Apr 20 | Categories: Horse Racing, | Comments (0)

BALTIMORE, 04-19-14---Julian Pimentel rated him off the pace into the far turn, then signaled go and Kid Cruz charged by his rivals and posted an easy victory in $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes to cap off four stakes this afternoon at Pimlico Race Course.

Kid Cruz is owned by Vina Del Mar…

Apr 20 | Categories: Pimlico, | Comments (0)
A Message From Frank Stronach

AURORA, ONTARIO - The Stronach Group has always been committed to ensuring that our horse racing businesses operate with integrity and concern for the health and safety of the horses and the people who work with them. Now, more than ever, we as track operators, horsemen and regulators must come together…

Apr 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Rafael Bejarano Set for a ‘Wild’ Ride Aboard Gulfstream-Based Colt

Wildcat Red Gets Sixth Different Rider for Triple Crown

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Wildcat Red has been ridden by five different jockeys in his last five races at Gulfstream Park while establishing himself as a prominent Triple Crown contender. Rafael Bejarano is slated to become No. 6.

Apr 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Kauai Katie returns in G2 Distaff Handicap

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Kauai Katie, unraced since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Prioress in July, will return to the races on Saturday when she faces an evenly matched field of filly and mare sprinters in Aqueduct Racetrack's Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at six furlongs.

Apr 17 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
‘Foiled’, Burke Reign Again at Yonkers

YONKERS, N.Y. - Foiled Again ($2.10) withstood a sustained first-over charge from Dancin Yankee and a challenge in the passing lane from P H Supercam to pick up a fourth straight victory and remain unbeaten in his 10-year-old campaign with a narrow triumph in the third division of the fourth leg of the…

Apr 14 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., | Comments (0)

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 12, 2014) – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Danza came in as the lesser heralded stablemate, but is leaving Oaklawn as the 78th winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) and with a ticket to the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs after earning 100 points. The…

Apr 13 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Arkansas Derby and Oaklawn Handicap Quotes

Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes

Jockey Joe Bravo: (Danza, 1st): "That was a pretty great effort. Todd was pretty high on the horse and he told me this morning that he was going to be fresh so don' take anything away from him. Try to save as much as you can and let him run his race. It was textbook,…

Apr 13 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Dance With Fate Cruises to Victory in 90th Toyota Blue Grass

Occasional View and Marchman Post Grade 3 Victories in Commonwealth and Shakertown

LEXINGTON, KY (April 12, 2014) – Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing’s Dance With Fate swept past pace-setting Pablo Del Monte at midstretch and had more than enough to hold off Medal Count…

Apr 13 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Toyota Blue Grass (G1) Quotes

Peter Eurton (winning trainer of Dance With Fate)

On whether Dance With Fate will run in the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Yum! Brands
“I just don’t know. It’s three weeks and kind of quick back. I know he loves synthetic better, (likes) turf. I just don’t know if he likes…

Apr 13 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Today 4.11

Rainbow 6 Carryover Tops $4.9 Million for Saturday’s Program
Little Daddy Fires Bullet in Prep for Upcoming Stakes Debut
Gabriel Saez Rides Three Winners on Spring/Summer Opener

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-Cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved on Friday, the first racing day of…

Apr 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)