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

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)

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 (3)
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)

Impending Danger: Industry Needs to Heed Worrisome Trend

LOS ANGELES, September 26, 2016—Horseplayers didn’t just lose an advocate this week, they lost an activist. Motivations vary, but activism generally requires passion, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice to be effective. There is a price to be paid for such expenditure of personal resources, and Lenny Moon finally decided that price was too high.

Unlike some of his predecessors, Moon didn’t pass away or even fade away. Though not explicit, his final blog piece, "Crossing the Finish Line, suggested he succumbed to his obsession with the game.

The volume of sympathetic comments to that piece, including some from well-known internet voices, were not only a testament to his popularity but also indicative of how frequently horseplayers struggle to balance their passion for the game with their family responsibilities.

Among what he counted as his successes, he wrote:

"The organization that most resonated with me and my belief system regarding horse racing was HANA, the horse player founded group that is the voice of the customer in the industry. I wrote for their free monthly newsletter for the past several years, which provides more value than anything else the industry puts out and it’s not behind a paywall. I helped get out the word when they convinced a few tracks to lower their takeout rates. Most importantly I worked hard with them to punish Churchill Downs for raising their takeout rates. The tens of millions of dollars in lost handle that first year and each year since are proof that I was on the right side."

That wasn’t always the case.

Written by Indulto | Comments (27)
Can Breeders’ Cup Think Outside the Box?

LOS ANGELES, September 10, 2016--Following Arrogate’s Travers victory, Bob Baffert announced he would train the colt up to the Breeders’ Cup thereby signaling Juddmonte’s implicit willingness to pay $150K for the privilege of entering the BC Classic starting gate.

Although the prestigious Travers amply rewarded the winner with $670K, it was not a Classic Win-And-You’re-In (WAYI) as was the Haskell. Indeed, the latter at 9 furlongs is the only WAYI for three-year-olds despite the Travers’ 10 furlongs as the Classic.

Six berths in the Classic’ starting gate have already been spoken for by Moanin (February S. [Tokyo]); Bradester, (Stephen Foster H.); Melatonin (Gold Cup at Santa Anita); Exaggerator (Haskell); Frosted (Whitney) and California Chrome (Pacific Classic).

Two remain up for grabs, the Awesome Again and the Jockey Club Gold Cup with California Chrome targeting the former and a $1M bonus sweetener, so unless you want a piece of Chrome before the big dance, there’s really only one way to go.

Written by Indulto | Comments (13)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
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)
Gulfstream’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Friday at $58,000

Super Hi 5 Carryover

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a carryover Friday of $58,649.90.

Multiple tickets Thursday with six winners returned $3,094.78.

First race post time is 1:15 p.m. Friday’s Rainbow 6 sequence starts…

Sep 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Stakes Advance


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016)
– Zayat Stables LLC’s Indiana Oaks (Grade II) runner-up Emmzy landed the outside post in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies as she attempts to land her first stakes…

Sep 22 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Double Pick 6 carryover of $106K on tap Friday at Belmont Park

ELMONT, N.Y. - The Pick 6 eluded bettors for the second consecutive day on Thursday at Belmont, triggering a two-day carryover of $106,527 into Friday's card.

Thursday's Pick-6 began with Sweetrayofshine's ($5.90) win in Race 5, followed by 43-1 longshot American Mink ($89.50) upsetting…

Sep 22 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Mrs McDougal looks for another graded stakes win in G2 Noble Damsel

ELMONT, N.Y. - Mrs McDougal will look to add a second graded stakes victory to her ledger as she headlines a field of eight fillies and mares 3-years-old and up in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Noble Damsel at Belmont Park.

A 4-year-old, Mrs McDougal will gain class relief after back-to-back…

Sep 22 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)