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

Royal Ascot Redefines Dark Tuesday; Gosden, Dettori Team Rule

I’m not exactly sure when I became a Euro weenie. What is for certain, however, is that I was very late to the party.

It’s difficult enough following two or three tracks on a simulcast Saturday, and now I want to begin watching races after crossing the world’s largest pond beginning at 8:30 am?

Why not?

Racing fans with a similar jones have the good fortune that NBC Sports, via its NBCSN network, needs programming. With Royal Ascot gaining in popularity with American horseplayers, and because bet takers also want more content, the void is nicely filled.

Fans, more than gamblers, love the pomp and circumstance of horse racing as spectacle.

And if Her Majesty the Queen weren’t spectacle enough, Ascot 2018 played host to the newlyweds of the year, Prince Harry and the lovely Duchess of Sussex.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (12)
Is Justify Up to the Champion’s Test?

ELMONT, NY, June 7, 2018--Since I can remember, when time comes for a post draw in a big race, trainer Bob Baffert was always dogmatically pragmatic about drawing the pole position:

He never wants to be on the fence. He and his horse were very fortunate in the first two legs of this series but this time the racing gods were not as kind.

There are horses drawn outside the potential 13th winner of the Triple Crown capable of forcing the pace issue, namely stablemate Restoring Hope, who could play the role of stalk-ee, and Noble Indy, a potential pace forcer.

That, the mile and a half, and sixth race in 111 days, are obstacles. And what of the foot irritation on his left hind leg sustained in the mud at Churchill? Is it still an issue?

There have been no hints from the barn either way, but the possibility lingers.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)

Sour grapes shouldn’t detract from another sweet performance

Mike Repole's baseless complaint that Justify had help in winning the Belmont is another example of people, who should be promoting the sport, hurting it. Repole was probably embarrassed by how poorly his two entrants, Noble Indy and Vino Rosso, ran and was looking for an excuse. He should be embarrassed, not by his horses, but by the negative publicity his ridiculous assertion brought to the sport.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (14)
There’s Justify and everyone else

Nine hopefuls (dreamers) are set to attempt to thwart Justify's bid for a Triple Crown. There's no reason why any of them should be able to do it. Maybe they're running for second, which is worth as much as winning a half-million dollar stakes. The only horse in the field who can beat Justify is Justify. If he runs his race, and his post-Preakness works have been sensational, he wins. It's that simple.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (0)

The Justify Triple Crown Tour Is On

Yes Virginia, and Kentucky and New York and Maryland and California, there very much is racing life beyond the Triple Crown.

But the burning question that remains is where will Justify run next? The sub-text promoted by cynics was whether he would ever run again.

On the NBCSN telecast from Churchill Downs Saturday night, Bob Baffert told the hosting trio that there definitely are plans for Justify to keep racing.

The two-time Triple Crown-winning Hall of Famer appeared certain if just a tad hesitant before answering--at least that’s what his body language was suggesting.

As to the when, that was a lot trickier. He wants to get the colt back home to Santa Anita for further evaluation. He said all was well with Justify this week but wanted more time.

That is certainly fair in terms of taking the best care of the horse that he can. But that didn’t square with Justify’s body language last night, according to Baffert himself.

The Tour began in Louisville last night and next Saturday, at Santa Anita, there will be another parade and more feting, as there should be for a hometown hero:

Written by John Pricci | Comments (20)
Celebrate Justify Now, Legacy Can Wait

ELMONT, NY, June 12, 2018--Ultimately, it will be history—and the remainder of this season—that will more clearly define Justify’s place in the pantheon of the sport’s greatest equines. But we know plenty already.

The three races in five weeks is but a part of the latest wonder horse’s story. Rather, it’s more about Apollo and the six-race career that began 111 days before he passed the champion’s test and raced into history.

And it wasn’t very long before Triple Crown newbies and racing’s loyalists began whispering the name Travers. Some people say “not so fast, his appearance in Saratoga is no slam dunk.” And that’s true.

His absence from the Travers, whether Mr. Baffert tries to win his ninth Haskell as prelude, would be aesthetically unacceptable; unforgivable from a sporting perspective.

But then Mr. Baffert does have McKinzie and Ax Man at the ready. Arrogate, anyone?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)

Counterpoint: Winning Races Should Qualify the Derby Entrants

LOS ANGELES, May 14, 2018—The fact that the heavens opened two years in succession to rain on the Kentucky Derby post parade -- and thrice since the reign of vindictive venue restriction began – might suggest to some that the cosmos has colluded with climate change to compromise the proceedings on Derby Day.

Even if a higher power isn't manifesting its displeasure, genuine concern would not be misplaced over what has arguably become a calendar-confining, creativity-crushing qualification process that imposes Churchill Downs’ concept of candidate correctness on all Derby starters.

By casting the road to the Kentucky Derby in concrete, with little accommodation for individual development and adversity, CDI may be guilty of competition constraint and career contraction among its equine campaigners.

The 144th “Run for the Roses” was the sixth time starter eligibility was determined through performances in a selected series of qualifying prep races with preference given to participation within six weeks of the main event.

No longer is eligibility based on total earnings accumulated in any combination of graded stakes races. While the latter had been independent of surface, distance, gender, and venue, the former removed turf routes, all sprints, all filly races, and certain tracks, from the equation.

Was it the success and popularity of the Kentucky Derby that emboldened the operators of the host track to usurp the power to dictate where and when runners could qualify for their race?

Or was it the determination of deep-pocketed owners to pursue their Derby dreams at almost any cost that encouraged CDI to take control of prep participation as well as the main event?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)
Will Keeneland’s Incremental Takeout Rollback Result in Handle Uptick?

With the opening of Keeneland’s spring 2018 meet tomorrow, racing industry observers will begin keeping a close watch on the extent to which its management has succeeded in rebuilding the track’s once fan-friendly image.

In February, the track announced it would lower takeout rates in some wagering pools. Great news, right?

Well, for many of us, not so much because this sudden "largesse" follows their infamous takeout increase in all pools but one at the fall 2017 meet.

Last year, Matt Hegarty reported, "Keeneland … will raise its takeout ... from 16 percent to 17.5 percent on win, place, and show wagers and from 19 percent to 22 percent on all other bets ..."

This year, he wrote, "Takeout rates on win, place, and show wagers will be reduced from 17.5 percent to 16 percent, the rate that preceded the increase. ... On exactas ... from 22 percent to 19.5 percent ... higher than the rate prior to the increase…

“All other takeouts on exotic wagers ... will remain 22 percent ... the pick five will remain at 15 percent … lowered last year with the takeout increases in several other pools…

“When Keeneland raised its takeout rates, it split the extra revenue from the increases with host sites. Most host sites that award rebates to their biggest customers then increased the size of the awards so that rebated players did not play against the full increase in the takeout rates."

So, then, the bottom line here is that exotic wagers, which offer small bankroll bettors, minnows, the biggest bang for their buck, remain at the higher rate.

Written by Indulto | Comments (6)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Curlin’s Approval, X Y Jet Top June 30 Summit of Speed Nominations

Curlin’s Approval to Defend Title in $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2)
Alter Homebred among 23 Noms for ‘Win and You’re In’ Event
X Y Jet Tops List of 16 Noms for $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3)
Multiple Grade 1-Placed Gelding Seeks 6th Straight at Gulfstream


Jun 20 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Madame Uno Seeks Rebound in Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Punch

Jockey, Trainer, Owner Races Heats Up

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Her three-race win streak halted abruptly last time out, Madame Uno will seek to rebound in Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Punch at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old daughter of First Dude is scheduled…

Jun 14 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Justify vs. nine in Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes

It's Triple Crown hopeful Justify vs. nine in Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner draws post 1, is 4-5 to win Saturday's "Test of the Champion"

By Jenny Kellner

ELMONT, N. Y. - Can he do…

Jun 6 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, |
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, |