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

Talented from Day One, Holy Bull Winner Is No Upstart

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 25, 2015—It was a state-bred maiden race at Saratoga; didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary on paper. But when the betting opened it became apparent that a dark bay named Upstart might be OK.

Ante post, he was the 3-2 choice over six rivals and he made that quote look generous, indeed. All he wanted to do was run, run, run, but Jose Ortiz didn’t want him to move yet.

On the turn, the $130,000 Saratoga yearling still wanted to go—“traffic, hard held,” the chart footnote reads--but with the straight in sight, Ortiz let out a notch of rein and Upstart did the rest.

It was an impressive enough score, which is nothing unusual for Saratoga, but what happened after Upstart reached the wire 5-1/4 lengths in front of Tizquick was.

The ridgling galloped out, slowed to a canter, then to a walk on the backstretch. But instead of turning around and galloping back toward the winners’ circle, Ortiz walked him slowly over to the inside portion of the track, stopped, and gave him a feel for the rail.

I only remember seeing this maneuver before steeplechase events; the riders giving their mounts a “feel for the hedge/fence,” some familiarity with the obstacle the horse will be asked to traverse.

What jumped to mind in this case is that the outfit must really like this youngster. Finally, Ortiz galloped him back slowly but trainer Rick Violette couldn’t wait, running out to the middle of Saratoga Race Course to greet horse and rider. High fives ensued.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)
Kentucky Derby Prep Season: Game On

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 21, 2015—Are you ready for some prep ball?

Finally, things are beginning to heat up as the Road to Kentucky Derby takes its first serious step Saturday when Gulfstream Park renews the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at 1-1/16 miles.

But before taking a look ahead, there already has been some interesting action in racing’s glamour division and a few recent participants might turn out to be players in Louisville.

Whether they’re elite players or not will shake out in the days and weeks ahead. Thus far, it’s been a promising start.

Two weeks ago Calculator earned an impressive maiden score at the expense of some classy runners in Santa Anita’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes, ridden and performing as though he were much the best.

Ground loss didn’t matter, early button-pushing didn’t matter but what mattered was the impressive way he drew off that belied a lineage that’s admittedly a bit short on the maternal side of his pedigree.

Of course, he will be given ample opportunity to outrun his ancestry in the future; the 1-1/16 miles of the San Felipe seems the logical place to find out more about Peter Miller’s trainee.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)

Taking Seahawks to Deflate Patriots

Though the offi cial opening line on today’s fray favored the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks by a fi eld goal, the line most of America first saw was ‘pick.’ At press time, a rush of New England money had moved the line to Patriots -1. But before you get caught up in sparring with the pointspread or shopping for the best lines, you may want to ponder this sobering fact: the outright winner of the Super Bowl stands 40-6-2 ATS all-time. That’s right, only six times in the history of the most gambled-on sporting event in America has the favorite on the game straight-up and failed to cover the number. Translation: if you can just pick the winner on the scoreboard, the odds are extremely favorable that you’ll cash a ticket as well. And if today’s battle royal between New England and Seattle stays near the current price range, picking a winner should be easier to fi gure than past Super Bowls. That’s because the combined pointspreads for the previous 48 Super Bowls fi nd the chalk laying an average of just over 7 points per game. Since that isn’t the case here, let’s focus on fi nding the SU winner in what looks to be an evenly matched contest at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)
Grab Points with the Colts

Patriots Over the Colts by 3

After devising a game plan that completely shut down Denver in a 24-13 Colts win last week – and led to the termination of the Broncos’ entire coaching staff – Indianapolis head man Chuck Pagano sets his sights on even bigger game: New England’s implacable, steely-eyed Bill Belichick. And while those who stalk ‘The Hoodie’ on the turf of his own Gillette Stadium hood seldom succeed in bagging the prize, our database doesn’t hesitate to recommend a play on Pagano’s team this evening. For openers, conference title game losers from the previous year (Patriots) have found it extremely diffi cult reversing their losing ways, going 2-11 SU and 3-10 ATS, including 0-9 SU and 1-8 ATS when facing .722 or greater opponents. Belichick himself may have amassed a 194-73 SU record since taking over at New England 15 seasons ago, but he owns just a 5-3 SU and 3-5 ATS slate in championship affairs, including five straight pointspread failures in his last five games. He is also 0-5 ATS in title games after scoring 24 or more points in divisional round games, and 0-5 ATS off three spread losses in a row when facing greater-than .666 foes. Meanwhile, conference championship contenders like Indy that arrive off a road win preceded by a victory at home are 8-4 SU and 10-2 ATS since 1998, including 6-0 ATS as an underdog of 4 or more points. Patriot backers are still buzzing over Tom Brady’s 367-yard, 4-TD performance against Baltimore but Colts QB Andrew Luck seems to save his best for big games, going 5-1 SUATS as an underdog in his NFL career versus opponents with a win percentage of more than .750. As for the seldom-mentioned Indianapolis defense, they gave up only 288 yards to the Broncos and have held two of their last three opponents to season-low yards. Hey, we’d actually like the Colts to pull the outright upset here if not for the fact that New England is 10-0 SU in its last 10 games versus AFC South opponents. Still, we can’t back a ‘leaking oil’ favorite like the Patriots that’s been outgained in each of their last three games – and not when over half of the 33 teams in this round who put 34 or more points on the scoreboard in a divisional round victory fell short of the Super Bowl, going 16-17 SU and 10-22-1 ATS. WithIndy HC Pagano a solid 22-7 SU and 21-7-1 ATS in games with a posted O/U total of 45 or more points, we’ll take the dog in this closer-than-expected slugfest.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

Twice caught rider faces third battery allegations; How does racing allow this to happen?

Roman Chapa, who has been suspended twice--for 19 months and five years--for using a battery is being investigated again for the same offense for a ride at Sam Houston Park last Saturday night. This is why arguing for tougher cheating rules is a joke. What's the point when someone who has been convicted of one of the most serious offenses can get a second and third chance?

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (17)
More nails in winter racing’s coffin

Eleven horses have died since this year's winter racing began at Aqueduct. Four of the first eight racing days in January were lost to brutal weather. Two races were run last Friday before the card had to be scrapped. Two horses broke down in those races. One was put down immediately, the other's fate is uncertain. Yet NYRA and some horsemen continue to defend the indefensible. Winter racing needs to go.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (39)

Slouching Towards Tucson

PORTLAND, OR, November 19, 2014--Beginning December 8 for four days, racing's biggest movers and shakers will gather at the 41st Annual Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson, Arizona.

The annual pilgrimage has become the place for industry stakeholders to keep in touch with each other, swap a little gossip, and get a sense of how the industry is tracking as a whole.

This will be my 10th trip to the great American Southwest, a journey I look forward to at the end of each year for the colorful characters one meets while congregating at the hotel bar each night, talking about the year that was.

It’s great to see that behind the scenes of racing and gaming stand people who are trying to insure the industry continues to tick.

It’s a place where companies can showcase anything the industry requires, from new betting software platforms, to television cameras, to racetrack surfaces.

Although the exhibitors have got smaller over the years, attendance at the seminars has remained very strong as there's always something new to discuss each year, always something new to take away, hangovers notwithstanding.

Written by Robert Earle | Comments (0)
Adore Me’s World Record Performance Down Under Unforgettable

Christchurch, New Zealand – Nov 11 – That’s no typo; you read that correctly. Indeed, harness horses often race at distances over two miles here and last week I witnessed the fastest two miles—that’s 3,200 meters to us—in harness racing history.

Of course, that makes the time of 3:54—with a last half-mile in an astounding 55 seconds—trotted by Adore Me so extraordinary.

We know the Yanks love their speed and appropriately Adore Me is a daughter the prize American stallion, Bettor’s Delight, a very familiar name to harness racing fans world-wide.

And the five year old mare didn’t just establish a new world record; she smashed the old one by 1.5 seconds in an event that was just as extraordinary as her performance:

Written by Robert Earle | Comments (0)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Oaklawn Barn Notes - Sunday, Jan. 25

Two scheduled starters for Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn, including champion Take Charge Brandi, recorded their final workouts for the mile race Sunday morning.

Jan 26 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)

OLDSMAR, FL. – The countdown has begun to discovering if Tampa Bay Downs track and multiple stakes-record holder Catalina Red can continue to excel while going around two turns against 3-year-olds from some of the country’s top stables.

Jan 26 | Categories: Tampa Bay Downs, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Park News & Notes - Fri 1/23

Frosted Aiming to Follow Cairo Prince in 2015 Lambholm South Holy Bull
Keen Ice Makes Sophomore Debut in Lambholm South Holy Bull
Decision Day Ready for Dirt Debut
All’s Okay With Jess’s Dream

BOYNTON BEACH, FL – After winning the 2014 Holy Bull (G2) with…

Jan 24 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)

Hot Springs, Ark. (Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015) – The speedy Sugar Shock is scheduled to make her first start against older horses in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes for female sprinters Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Candy Ride, Sugar Shock was Oaklawn’s top 3-year-old…

Jan 24 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Regal Minister leads field for Rego Park

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The inaugural running of the $125,000 Rego Park Stakes for 3-year-old New York-breds at six furlongs on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack - features a field of six sprinters each looking to each establish themselves on the scene this year.

Jan 24 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Park News & Notes - Thu 1/22

Vitali Leaning Toward Lambholm South Holy Bull with Bluegrass Singer
Lambholm South Holy Bull the Goal for First Down
Bocachica Released from Hospital

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Mucho Macho Man Stakes winner Bluegrass Singer is expected to make his next start in Saturday’s $400,000…

Jan 23 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Dutrow Charts Course for Grade 1 Winners

Trainer Tony Dutrow has started to formulate plans for several of his top horses at Oaklawn Park, including Grade 1 winner The Big Beast. Dutrow, based this winter in Arkansas, said the major spring objective for The Big Beast is the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn.

Jan 15 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Happy My Way Back on Favorite Track in Sunshine Millions Sprint

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Happy My Way is set to make his 2015 debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream, where the 5-year-old gelding developed into a stakes-placed performer last season.

Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Toasting Looks for Redemption in Sunshine Millions Distaff

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – In her three-year race career, West Point Thoroughbreds’ Toasting has displayed moments of brilliance, winning the Dream Rush Stakes over now multiple graded stakes winner Merry Meadow, running head to head with the highly regarded Wedding Toast in the Comely Stakes (G3), and…

Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Bad Debt Tries Again in $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Still showing the competitiveness and consistency that has earmarked his career, Bad Debt will open his 8-year-old campaign in a familiar spot.

A 15-time winner who has hit the board in 42 of 57 career starts over five racing seasons, the bay Grand Reward gelding…

Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Wildcat Red, East Hall Set to Renew Rivalry in Sunshine Millions Classic

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – East Hall followed up an impressive triumph in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (G2) with a decisive two-length decision over Wildcat Red in the Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 8. It was the first time the Bill Kaplan-trained gelding got the better of his fellow…

Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Draws Diverse Field

Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Draws Diverse Field

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Several out-of-town horses led by multiple New York-bred stakes winner Effie Trinket help comprise a diverse field for the $100,000 Filly & Mare Turf. Pennsylvania-breds Dame Dorothy, Peace Talk and Waterway Run…

Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)