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'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.

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

Jockey Club Gold Cup is an Effinweak race

The Jockey Club Gold Cup used to one of the most important races on the national calendar, often the decisive event for year-end titles. Not this season. The best in the East, Honor Code and Liam's Map, are skipping it to prep in other ways for the Breeders' Cup. American Pharoah and Keen Ice are also training up to the Breeders' Cup. Defending champion Tonalist is nothing like the horse who won last year. Meanwhile, it's possible that last weekend produced three or four Breeders' Cup winners.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (12)
Efforts to tighten medication rules are at the mercy of horsemen

The campaigns to ban race day medication and create a testing system overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency are doomed to frustration unless a way is found to remove the ability of horsemen to shut down simulcasting, a hammer they have shown they are not averse to using. Also, Saturday opened my eyes to someone who, based on recent history, might be among the greatest trainers who ever lived.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (2)

Marc Lawrence College & Pro Upsets, Oct. 3-4

Arkansas over TENNESSEE by 3

We had the Hogs in this spot last week and they failed to deliver the money when Texas A&M blew a game-winning field goal and sent the game to overtime – where the Aggies won by 7 points. But we’re right back on the Razorbacks here versus an opponent who, for the second time this season, had a statement-making win in their grasp but let it slip away. Yes, Tennessee keeps finding new ways to lose games in heart-breaking fashion: last week the Gators grabbed the lead with a 63-yard TD pass from Will Grier to Antonio Calloway with 1:26 left on 4th-and-14 to overcome a 27-14 deficit. Then the Vols saw a 55-yard FG go inches wide on the final play of the game. Wow...all this on the heels of losing in double overtime to Oklahoma two weeks prior after blowing a 17-0 lead! Bad enough that Tennessee is just 1-4 ATS as chalk after facing Florida but last Saturday’s Gator gut-wrencher at the Swamp could put this young Vols team in a serious tailspin. That’s not a prescription for success against a hungry, pissed-off Arkansas squad that’s gone 7-2 ATS of late in this series, including 5-1 ATS when placed in the role of underdog. If that’s not enough to make you go hog-wild in tonight’s game at Neyland Stadium, there’s always The Clincher: College Football teams off a SUATS loss who faced the toughest schedule in the nation last year are 21-6 SUATS since 1980 when playing off back-to-back SUATS losses, including 17-2 ATS when facing a .750 or less opponent.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
College and Pro Upsets—Sept. 26 Weekend

East Carolina over VA Tech by 7

Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Fool us nine times, shame on the men who married Zsa Zsa Gabor. As she put it, “I was a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.” Well, it appears Frank Beamer has taken a page out of Zsa Zsa’s book as he is just 2-9 ATS in his last 11 tries as a road favorite,
including 0-3 SUATS when playing off an away game. And this ridiculous line must have Va Tech’s name and past reputation written all over it as the Pirates are 17-3 SU in their last 20 home games, with only one loss coming by more than 5 points. Yes, after bowling each of the last three years, Ruffi n McNeil’s men find themselves in a 1-2 hole to start the season but there should be no panic as the Pirates are 17-12 SU and 21-8 ATS in games with a losing record since 2005, including 16-3 ATS as a dog of 3 or more points. And don’t forget: McNeil is 5-0 ATS in his last five versus the ACC and 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS off back-to-back losses. Even series history sides with ECU as the Pirates are 5-1-1 ATS since this matchup reconvened in 2007 after a seven-year hiatus. And while Green Acres isn’t the place to be for Zsa Zsa’s sister, Eva, Greenville certainly isn’t the right spot for Beamer’s boys this last Saturday in September. Not with the Hokies staring dead-ahead to a revenger against Pitt and this word from The Clincher: Va Tech is 0-10-1 ATS as a favorite of 3 or more points versus an avenging opponent off a SU loss.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)

In Contemporary Racing, There’s No School Like Old School

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 29, 2015—When it comes to words and deeds, the two can often can worlds apart. Actions do speak loudest, of course, but the best actions are just good words put in motion.

Trainer-speak never lands gently, however: “The horse couldn’t be doing better.” “The work was just what we wanted.” “We’ll let the horse tell us,” etc.

All are well-meaning homilies. But the latter is more. Letting horses speak is the method that allows latter-day horsemanship to works best. Simply stated: Take care of the horse and the horse will take care of you.

On today’s NTRA conference call advancing Super Saturday prep weekend at both Keeneland and Belmont Park, the conversation and mindset of the participants was comforting, reassuring and instructive, decidedly “old school.”

Anyone familiar with the Jerkens family always knows what to expect; loquaciousness and guile? Never. Humility and honesty? Always. It was that way with the late, great Allen Jerkens; it's the same way with his son, Jimmy.

Compared to Tonalist, expected to rule as favorite in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Jerkens trainees Wicked Strong and Effinex do not enjoy the same high profile.

Effinex never seems to garner the respect he’s earned while Wicked Strong, a solid Triple Crown and Travers competitor last year, has not achieved what was expected from a top class three-year-old of 2014.

As for Effinex, Jerkens made the point that he disagrees with the notion that Tonalist had a bit the worst of it in this year’s Suburban Handicap and that Effinex somehow was the beneficiary.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)
Old, New, Healing and Through

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 24, 2015—In the game that is played without the benefit of short pants, it was good to learn this week that a number of horses and human practitioners, exceptional talents all, are on the mend.

First came news that Shared Belief was back in light training. The gelding’s absence, due to a hip fracture that could have been a lot worse had Mike Smith not protected him as quickly as he did in the Charles Town Classic, has been the biggest equine loss this year.

Without Shared Belief for much of the season, as well as the sidelining of 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, due significantly to ownership mismanagement, has left a gaping hole in the 2015 handicap division.

In context, the good news is that there is no stud career in Shared Belief’s future. While that’s next the case for last year’s Derby and Preakness winner, it is hoped the decision by ownership to California Chrome as a 5-year-old is fruitful, especially for trainer Art Sherman and Chrome’s many fans.

Meanwhile, Lady Eli’s recovery from laminitis is going so well that a decision was made to send her to a Kentucky farm for two months of R & R, allow her to enjoy life as a horse away from a racetrack barn area, even one as bucolic as Belmont Park’s.

In Philadelphia, legendary Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas has had a permanent pacemaker implanted and was scheduled to return to Kentucky to convalesce, if he himself allows it. When one sees or speak with him, the term octogenarian just doesn’t compute.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (13)

Wigglin’ N’ Jigglin’ Through First Round of Cup Preps

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 27, 2015—We bring you this interruption in our analysis of first-round of Breeders’ Cup preps in order to provide a look at possibly the greatest pacing event we’ve ever seen on a half-mile harness track.

As stated here often, we cut our horse-racing teeth at Roosevelt and Yonkers Raceways, highlighted by those amazing Friday night Free-For-All pacing battles between Eddie Cobb’s Adios Butler and Clint Hodgins’ Bye Bye Bird.

Not long after that came the slugfests between Stanley Dancer’s Cardigan Bay and John Patterson’s Overtrick. Meetings with Frank Irvin’s Bret Hanover would come later, one that required fans to park alongside the Thruway because lots at “The Yonk” were filled.

One picture will be worth a thousand of my words. Suffice it to say that getting hung out for three-quarters of a mile in 27-second quarter-miles, then resurging to win when apparently beaten, just doesn’t happen. A mile in 1:49 3/5, on a half-miler?

Enjoy the race of the weekend:

East Side, West Side, All Around the Breeders’ Cup Prep World

With Keeneland hosting its first ever fall championship event, contestants will be coming far and wide--from New York, California and Europe--to compete in the U.S. World Championships.

It follows that both Belmont Park and Santa Anita had to front-load their graded stakes schedules, to the detriment of both. There’s only so many top class runners to go around. Even races such as the storied Jockey Blue Gold Cup, scheduled for Saturday, has not been immune.

As for competition for good horses, other million-dollar events have proven a lucrative distraction to history and tradition. Of greater significance may be the fact that trainers would like to have their Breeders’ Cup preps over the surface which will host the event.

A city like Philadelphia, for instance, is efforting to become a top racing market, entitled to a spot on the national simulcast map, however brief, despite its player-unfriendly takeout policies.

For Breeders’ Cup horsemen, last week’s seven-figure Grade 1 and Grade 2 events provided opportunities to give them what they covet; graded titles, big bucks and six-weeks spacing prior to a possible championship-defining moment.

Round One Confirms, Denies, Potential Promise and Greatness

Written by John Pricci | Comments (20)
Sports Betting and Fantasy Sports, Is There Common Ground for Racing?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., September 16, 2015—Forget for the moment that Monmouth Park and racing in general is on life support in the Garden State, a state that devotes thousands of acres to green space, a state rich in racing tradition.

Consider instead the issue of whether sports leagues, claiming they don’t want to compromise the integrity of their games, should have the power to dictate what states can and cannot do.

Is the integrity of organized sports really threatened by legalized gambling but not subjected to the same dangers inherent by illegal gambling on it? Could professional sports leagues, especially the NFL, be more disingenuous?

With Week 2 of the 50th anniversary Super Bowl season about to commence, is anyone tired of the Fantasy League commercial spots yet? I know I am.

Apparently, the uninitiated don’t mind it at all. Fantasy Sports players are lining up in droves to gamble on the games/people of their choice, new gamblers who at another point in time might have become horseplayers.

Betting on the races, despite onerous takeout rates, is still the greatest wagering game played outdoors but fantasy players don’t know this, of course, because they are not exposed to it in the same way, at the same rate.

Can’t blame the Fantasy Sports bet takers, though. They get it. They know what they’re selling; easy-to-play fun with a good chance of winning money. They how to sell it, too, thousands of sports fans are signing up by the day.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (16)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
$500,000 In Reality (Florida Sire Stakes) Quotes

Trainer Stanley Gold (Fellowship): "I was hopeful for all three, but I was looking for Abercorn and Brighton Lane, but this one, he jumped up and did it. You never know with the babies. He had a really outstanding work last week that surprised me, and I thought if he ran back to that work, there's no…

Oct 3 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
$500,000 My Dear Girl (Florida Sire Stakes) Quotes

Trainer Marialice Coffey (Flora Dora): "We had faith in her. She's a big, very well-within herself filly. She's always been very relaxed about everything so we thought it was worth a try."

(How long race been on radar): "Since the beginning of time, since they broke her. They had this race…

Oct 3 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) Quotes

Christophe Clement, winning trainer of Tonalist (No. 6): "We're back here, we won this race a year ago and it's great. I thought that even when he got beat this year, he never ran a bad race. He's a top class horse. We're back on top. I'm delighted for Mr. Evans. Obviously, he believed in us all along.…

Oct 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Quotes from the $1 Million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1)

Brian Lynch (winning trainer of Grand Arch)

“Great to see him, as he gets older, just keep getting better and better. We had this race in mind this year after a game effort last year (second by a length to Wise Dan), and (jockey) Luis (Saez) seems to get along with him fantastic. I was…

Oct 3 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
$500,000 My Dear Girl (Florida Sire Stakes) Quotes

Trainer Marialice Coffey (Flora Dora): "We had faith in her. She's a big, very well-within herself filly. She's always been very relaxed about everything so we thought it was worth a try."

(How long race been on radar): "Since the beginning of time, since they broke her. They had this race…

Oct 3 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Keeneland Barn Notes for Oct. 3


Oct 3 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Quotes from the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2)

Anthony Hamilton Jr. (winning trainer of Fioretti)

“We knew she was strong coming in, but this was a tall order.”

On whether he will take advantage of the automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Fioretti received for the victory and run her in the…

Oct 3 | Categories: Keeneland, | Comments (0)
Champagne (G1) Quotes

Dominick Schettino, winning trainer of Greenpointcrusader (No. 2): "He was training good up to the race. His first two races, even though he won, he had tight trips down inside. We talked about the track, being inside, I basically left it up to Joe. He got a little shuffled back at the break and the…

Oct 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Frizette (G1) Quotes

Steve Asmussen, winning trainer of Nickname (No. 5): "Alex Solis and Jason Litt purchased this filly as a yearling. I met with them this winter in Ocala during the sales about the possibility of getting to train for [Larry, Nancy and Jamie Roth]. We went out and looked at the 2-year-olds that they had.…

Oct 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Kelso Handicap (G2) Quotes

Peter Miller, winning trainer of Appealing Tale, via telephone (No. 1): "He broke slow, and kind of had to rush up. It wasn't what I was hoping for but once he established himself on the lead he really just ran a great race. Really a super ride from Joe [Talamo] and this win is a credit to our whole…

Oct 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)


ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2015)—In his final Santa Anita…

Oct 3 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Notes 10.2

Bullet Gone Astray Tries Turf in Armed Forces
Nicks, Gaffalione, Jack or Better On Top In Standings
Mandatory Payouts Saturday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Bullet Gone Astray is the only stakes winner entered for Saturday’s $75,000 Armed Forces Stakes at Gulfstream…

Oct 2 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)