HRI Featured Writers
HRI Featured Writers

Pricci’s Free Race Analysis

Whenever his daily work schedule permits, HorseRaceInsider executive editor John Pricci will analyze that day's feature race from a major thoroughbred-racing jurisdiction.

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

Great Betting and Good Horses in NOLA Saturday

At once, divining the winner of the Louisiana Derby is as easy or as hard as you make it. The form on the favorites is clear cut and decisive on paper. After that, it's anything goes. A fun race where, if you can fill in the lower tiers, there may be money to be made. Good betting race.

I'm sure Keith Desormeaux has thought this through. Forget the wet for a moment: My Boy Jack (5-2) showed a clear affinity for Oaklawn Park, yet, here he is in NOLA on shorter rest? Does Desormeaux then want more spacing into Louisville? Then again there's the million other reasons; a strong pull: Get it while you can.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (2)
Newsday Beaten on Award-Winning Breaking-News Story

Prior to the timelines established below, HorseRaceInsider staffer Mark Berner was working for months on a story that came to fruition in early December 2017: The New York Islanders would be playing its home games in a new arena built on the grounds of Belmont Park.

Berner knew the Islanders could go to the bank, according to several sources, “when the dog and pony show is announced by Empire State Development.” ESD announced on Dec 3 that a listening session would be held on Dec 10, in Elmont.

Newsday was still chasing the story on December 4. “The potential to build at Belmont is incredible and the community’s input in this process is vital,” said state Senator Todd Kaminsky. “…We are hosting a listening session so that all bidders can engage with the community and clarify any points,” etc.

Berner, using sources who requested anonymity, had already written his story for HRI for posting on Dec 5: “Belmont Park and Islanders Break New Ground.”

“Empire State Development, New York State’s business development agency, has moved quickly and is ever closer to a decision that will award the bid of the New York Islanders hockey team and its consortium to build a new arena at Belmont Park.

“The Islanders hope to break ground next spring. ‘We have no comment as of now,’ said Kimber Auerbach, Executive Director of Communications of the Islanders.”

Newsday failed to corroborate the HRI story at that time but a sports website, “Fansided,” picked it up but categorized it as a rumor on December 6.

Wrote Michael Anderson of the Fansided sports blog: “…According to a report from Mark Berner of Horse Race Insider, The New York Islanders might not need to worry about a plan B. Because plan A is rumored to go through.”

Then this: “Empire State Development, New York State’s business development agency, has moved quickly and is ever closer to a decision that will award the bid of the New York Islanders hockey team and its consortium to build a new arena at Belmont Park.

“…I reached out to AKRF to comment on their collaboration with Belmont in relation to the track as well as the RFP winner and they were unable to provide a comment at the time on the matter.

“We were contacted by someone who works at the tracks who corroborated Berner’s claim and indicating that this rumor is in fact true.”

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)

There could be something magic about the number 136

Maryland-Baltimore County made March Madness history last week when it upset Virginia, the first 16th seed to beat a No. 1 in 136 tries. Coincidentally, two extraordinarily talented and undefeated colts, Magnum Moon and Justify, seem poised to conquer the Curse of Apollo, which has endured for 136 years. More immediately, Saturday's first final phase Kentucky Derby qualifier, the Louisiana Derby, is more likely to produce a couple of Derby starters than the winner.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (4)
Cal stewards take forever to make the wrong call

Stewards are paid to make decisions. It shouldn't take 20 minutes to scrutinize video and make a call, as it did in the San Felipe. What did they see in minute 19 that they didn't see in minute 12 or minute 7? The mere fact that it took so long is argument enough that what happened on the race track should have been left "as is." This is merely the most recent embarrassment to come out a Southern California stewards stand. Something has to be done and it shouldn't take 20 minutes to do it. They have to go.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (4)

Would-Be Derby Legends, Beware the Ides of April

As all Kentucky Derby fans, an assessment of pedigree is an invaluable handicapping variable. And it turns out that lineage could prove history making in 2018. It’s an old school line that just might resurface on May’s first Saturday.

Of course, we’re referring to the mating of Zeus to Leto. The sire brings much to the table: youth, athleticism and, as a patron of the art of victory, has a reputation for producing stunning poetic imagery.

And when his offspring begins a second career at stud, they are known to be quite prolific themselves, as they are said to really enjoy their work.

Old school breed improvers, meanwhile, truly value class in the dam. Leto was a real blue hen in her day, some even consider her a goddess, a mother known to be very protective of her foals. A looker herself, she passed on those traits to her offspring.

Of course, the most famous son of this mating enjoyed his heyday around 1882. He became famous when he won one of the world’s most prestigious horse racing events.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (10)
Louisville Kentucky Here They Come…

After the dust settled on Saturday night in Arcadia, with only the run of highly regarded Justify in a Sunday allowances, we thought there would be a sizable shakeup. That didn’t happened. But if there were a shake-up, maybe it’s Apollo that’s all shook up?

Bolt d’Oro, who debuted at #1 in the Week 1 poll last weekend, solidified his position at the top after he was awarded victory in a heavyweight fight masquerading as the Grade 2 San Felipe. More on that later.

In New York, meanwhile, Enticed gave trainer Kiaran McLaughlin a second viable Kentucky Derby contender who jumped up to #4 after his thoroughly comprehensive G2 Gotham Stakes victory, a race that helped expose the weaknesses of both Free Drop Billy and Firenze Fire.

In Tampa, an emerging Derby contender may have announced himself as Quip wore down a fast but stamina challenged World of Trouble in deep stretch. Sam F. Davis winner Flameaway ran on late to secure the place over a tiring speedster, essentially completing a 3-speed number in the G2 Tampa Derby.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)

Glory Days and Hialeah Park

An inescapable factor for those who admit to a passion for Thoroughbred racing, with all its pomp and circumstance, its triumphs and its tragedies, is the wonder of renewal.

Three-year-olds prep in winter for the Classics of Spring, followed by the bookended summer glory of Saratoga and Del Mar, the coming of age in fall, the Breeders’ Cup and crowning of champions.

Immediately after the last glass of Christmas is raised, the future comes into clearer focus with the rekindling of prime time Santa Anita, Gulfstream’s championship session, and regeneration begins in earnest.

Suddenly it’s New Year’s Day: Happy Birthday equine friends, time has come to regroup, renew, rinse and repeat, as the game has for centuries, not only here but all around the world.

Once upon a time, Hialeah Park, a glorious racing cathedral, was a racetrack that provided the kind of high-profile focus the sport needs if it’s to deliver on its promise of endless summers at the races.

The dream that was Hialeah died decades ago. The man who made it possible, John J. Brunetti, passed a fortnight ago. So, now what?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)
Little Tampa Bay Puts on Big Time Show

Even if for one day--with Aqueduct staging a Gotham all-stakes Pick 4 and Santa Anita, with its all graded-stakes Pick 3, two G1s and the San Felipe--it was the little track that could, Tampa Bay Downs, which put on the deepest card in the U.S. and best in its history.

There’s no getting away from the fact that two most talented three-year-olds of the weekend; three if Justify’s allowance tour de force on Sunday is included—all appeared in Southern California.

But Tampa Bay’s All-Stakes Pick 5--beginning with the listed Columbia and ending with the Tampa Derby, a stakes sandwich that also included classy, hard-hitting War Story and the G2 Hillsborough, G3 Florida Oaks at 15%, was the day’s best super-exotics fare.

Of course, none of it would have been possible if not for an assist from SoFlo-based runners shipping north to Pinellas County. The high class program began quickly, the early buzz created by the debut of a million-dollar Ocala Breeders’ breeze-up graduate, Ruler of the Nile.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Agreement Represents Giant Step Forward in Florida Racing

Florida Sire Stakes Highlights Innovative $2.5 Million Deal

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – P.J. Campo calls the recently-signed agreement between Gulfstream Park, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) and Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective…

Dec 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Watershed looking to end year on high note in Queens County

Green Gratto faces talented field in $100,000 Gravesend

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Godolphin Racing's Watershed will headline a competitive field of nine in the $125,000 Queens County for 3-year-olds and up, one of two stakes races on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack alongside the $100,000…

Dec 22 | Categories: Aqueduct, |


Citing the widespread use of drugs on yearlings and two years olds that may result in improper bone development and the recent use of horse auctions to launder money for the…

Dec 14 | Categories: Horse Racing, |
Forever Unbridled Holds Off Abel Tasman To Win Longines Distaff

DEL MAR, Calif. (Nov. 3, 2017) – Charles Fipke’s homebred Forever Unbridled ($9.40) swept to the lead coming off the far turn and then held off a late bid from Abel Tasman by a half-length to win the 34th running of the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) for fillies and mares…

Nov 4 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |
Rainbow 6 Hit at Gulfstream West for $177,500

Sunday’s Late Pick 5 Carryover $19,900

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Gulfstream Park West’s Rainbow 6 was hit Saturday afternoon for $177,521.

The 20-cent wager had not been hit for 19 consecutive programs before Geh Schnell ($11.20), one of three live tickets in…

Oct 29 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |



Oct 29 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017)
– Cooler temperatures and the leaves changing colors signify the return of live horse racing to the Louisville area as Churchill Downs, the historic home of the Kentucky Derby, readies to open its 128th Fall Meet on Sunday,…

Oct 28 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Reaches $113,131 for Thursday

Tapit Filly My Favorite Gift Impressive Debut Winner
Jockey Jaramillo Enjoys Four-Win Afternoon

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 17th consecutive program Wednesday, growing the carryover jackpot to $113,131.66 for Thursday’s eight-race program.

Oct 26 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
World Championships

2017 Race Order, Wagering Menu and Guaranteed Pools Announced for World Championships

The Breeders' Cup announced today the official order of races, and guaranteed multi-race wagering pools for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November…

Oct 26 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $100,250

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot for Wednesday’s program at Gulfstream Park West swelled to $100,250.35 Sunday when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 16th consecutive program.

Multiple tickets with six winners Sunday returned $9,834.

Oct 24 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
Breeders Crown

Caviart Ally looks to rebound in Breeders Crown final

Darlinonthebeach 'coming into form'

After letting a lead slip away in her elimination, Caviart Ally will try and be a little less zealous and a lot more powerful down the stretch in Friday’s $500,000…

Oct 24 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Rainbow 6 Grows to $87,000 at Gulfstream West

Sunday’s First Race 1:15 P.M.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Gulfstream Park West’s Rainbow 6 continues to grow, bringing Sunday’s carryover to $87,606.62.

Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday returned $4.406.20.

First race post for Sunday’s…

Oct 22 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |