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
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.


Bill Finley
Every weekend, and when there is breaking news, Bill Finley or members of the "Harness Racing Update" staff will provide HRI readers with the latest in harness racing information and opinion.


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

Will Del Mar Horseplayers Double Their Pleasure?

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 11, 2014—There’s a rumor being circulated on the Internet that the Thoroughbred Owners of California are considering a return to the higher takeout rates on Daily Doubles currently in place at Del Mar.

This can’t possibly be true, can it? Don’t they read newspapers out there? Has Internet commentary and social media reached lower California yet?

Hasn’t any owner out West ever heard of Churchill Downs?

Takeout deniers, much like climate change “non-scientists,” believe more in spin than science, coincidence over statistics, and obfuscation over progress. However anyone spins it, the Churchill Downs boycott was largely responsible for handle losses of $48-millionat the 2014 spring meet.

The Dow Jones is hovering around 17,000 for a while now, California Chrome gave the sport a bounce, in a Wall Street sense, this spring, and fields are smaller everywhere.

So, what else could it be?


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Tom Durkin: Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, June 22, 2014---Allegiance to present day race callers very often is a matter of taste, like appreciating a fine wine, a movie, favorite athlete, etc., etc.

Consequently, it follows that provincialism plays a huge role in formulating those preferences, just as one would for a favorite horse or jockey: Seabiscuit or War Admiral; Shoemaker or Arcaro; Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra?

And, so, when it comes to con the world of contemporary race callers, the majority of racing fans are aligned in two camps: Denman or Durkin?

Personally, it’s impossible for me to remain neutral. I, like so many others who have crossed paths with Tom Durkin during his 43-year career, consider him a cherished friend.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t strive for objectivity.

I have not listened to Denman’s calls nearly as many times as I’ve heard Durkin’s. But I can’t imagine, even if the coasts were reversed, I would remember as many of Trevor's calls as I would Tom’s.

Twenty-four Breeders’ Cups and 11 Triple Crowns has given Durkin far more opportunities to voice racing’s most memorable events, and he has had more than his share of “moving like a tremendous machine” moments:

There was Easy Goer and Sunday Silence “in a racing epic,” the Real Quiet-Victory Gallop Belmont photo: “a picture is worth a thousand words, this photo is worth five million dollars; history... in the waiting.”

And, of course, Smarty Jones’ crushing Triple Crown bid, marked by Durkin’s diminishing crescendo as he informed 120,000 fans “Birdstone wins the Belmont Stakes.”


Written by John Pricci | Comments (16)

It’s not fair: East has big races but titles are won in California


Shared Belief once again demonstrated the potential to become one of the most exciting horses in years with a dominant score in the Los Alamitos Derby. If he runs the table in the Pacific Classic and Breeders' Cup Classic, he could not only grab the 3-year-old title from California Chrome but also capture Horse of the Year. He could do all this without ever leaving California. That isn't right.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (20)
Gulfstream Control Good for Florida Racing; Elsewhere Adios Synthetics

The long pending agreement that turns over control of South Florida racing to Gulfstream and The Stronach Group is a good thing for racing because it gets Churchill Downs Inc. out of an important racing state. The downside is CDI is being rewarded by being allowed to keep it's casino after running racing into the ground.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)

Stars n’ Stripes Grades: Box Office A, Execution B+

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 6, 2014—At the bottom line, the first Stars and Stripes Festival program held over the July 4th weekend, essentially Saturday’s five graded stakes program including two Grade 1s for three-year-olds on grass, was very successful.

More than 11,000 fans showed up on a glorious afternoon, or about twice the new normal, and the $16 million simulcast handle on the 10-race card beat last year’s totals—a tough comparison since the 2013 holiday program was conducted over a very long “weekend”—by $6 million.

And 11 races were carded last year so, yes, Virginia, quality does count.



Written by John Pricci | Comments (13)
For July 4th Horseplayers, It’s Morning in America

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 3, 2014—The second half of the racing season began this past Tuesday and we’re preferring to see what remains of 2014 as a glass that is half full despite racing’s myriad problems.

All know what those negatives are: Permissive medication, coupled with the reality wrought be negative perception; a continued lack of transparency on several important fronts, and of alphabet horsemen’s groups that still expect the customer to pay for everything from a higher tax on wagers to improved testing protocols.

Despite all that, there are a number of positive takeaways that will be our focus, the hope that positive storylines continue moving the game forward while it continues to work out its problems in a meaningful way.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (10)

Through the Meadowlands Pace Notebook

By Ken Weingartner

1. National Debt, Scott Zeron, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1

Last year, National Debt won all four of his starts while competing in Alberta for trainer/co-owner Kelly Hoerdt, who received Canada’s 2013 O’Brien Award for Horsemanship. He was sent to New Jersey-based trainer Ron Coyne Jr. for the start of this season and captured the Gilmour Memorial Series during the winter.

National Debt, who finished fifth in his Pace elimination, won by JK Endofanera, has won seven of 10 lifetime races and earned $76,073. Owned by Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil, and the J&T Silva Stables, National Debt had issues with allergies earlier this season while racing in Canada and missed nearly two months prior to his Pace elim.

“He had a couple good tighteners in qualifiers, and this was his first test for speed against these colts, but all in all it went well,” Coyne said. “He showed a good burst of speed at the end, he came home :26.2 and he finished up really nice, so I was really happy about that. It’s all a matter of the post and the trip and we’ll see if we get lucky.

“We missed a few of the big dances, but we’re ready to go again,” Coyne said.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
For JK the Beginningofanera

By Ken Weingartner

Alan Katz was hesitant to go to Ontario for the North America Cup last month, but he is glad he made the trip. It is unlikely he will have any similar reservations about crossing the Hudson River from New York and heading to Saturday’s Meadowlands Pace.

Katz and his brothers, Ron and Steve, bred and own JK Endofanera, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. The colt won his Pace elimination by a neck over Always B Miki in 1:48.2 last weekend and will start the final from post two with Brian Sears driving for trainer Ron Burke.

In his previous start, June 14, JK Endofanera won the $920,000 North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He will try to become the 10th horse in harness racing history to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace.

The Meadowlands Pace and $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial for older pacers will be shown live on CBS Sports Network beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday. The card also includes the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Social Inclusion Breezes at Gulfstream Park for Haskell

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Rontos Racing Stable’s Social Inclusion breezed a half-mile out of the Gulfstream Park starting gate in 47 2/5 seconds Thursday morning in preparation for a planned start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 27.

The 3-year-old son of…


Jul 10 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
DELPARK NEWS & NOTES - LOCAL HORSE COMES HOME POINTS FOR DELCAP

Princess of Sylmar coming home to run at Delaware Park in Delaware Handicap

Wilmington, Del., July 6, 2014 — She was born less than 30 miles from Delaware Park. An approximate 45 minute drive, first on route 7 (Limestone Road) and then route 41 (Lancaster Pike), into Pennsylvania pass…


Jul 7 | Categories: Delaware Park, | Comments (0)
Lynbrook (NYB) Quotes

Leah Gyarmati, winning trainer of Wonder Gal (No. 6): "There haven't been many maiden races for New York-bred fillies. We hope she lives up to our expectations. She's young, still. She's big, but she's still young. You have to keep that in mind. There are bound to be some bumps along the way."



Jul 7 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) Quotes

Chad Brown, winning trainer of Minorette (No. 9): "[Jockey] Joel [Rosario] got to know her a bit. She was really training big coming into this race. We were pretty confident she'd give a good showing of herself in here."




Jul 6 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Suburban Handicap (G2) Quotes

Chad Brown, winning trainer of Zivo (No. 3) and ninth place finisher Last Gunfighter (No. 5): "Jose rode [Zivo] perfectly. We've always put him in races we think fit him. This horse has really come around well and it was time to step out of New York-bred company and try him in an open company race with…


Jul 6 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) Quotes

Shug McGaughey, winning trainer of Mr Speaker (No. 9): "He definitely redeemed himself; his last race was very disappointing. He trained well coming up to today and we changed our game plan; I wanted him back. Jose [Lezcano] rode a great race on him. We're tickled that Martin [Panza] carded this race…


Jul 6 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Belmont Sprint Championship (G3) Quotes

Brian Lynch, winning trainer of Clearly Now (No. 3): "When he broke a little slow I thought, 'Oh boy, here we go again,' but when he cruised up on the inside near the 4 ½ pole I could tell Jose [Lezcano] had a lot of horse. He had a legitimate pace in front of him, so it was just about finding a hole,…


Jul 6 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Dwyer (G3) Quotes

Linda Rice, winning trainer of Kid Cruz (No. 1): "I was a little nervous about whether they were going to go fast enough today. Irad [Ortiz] made a strong effort from the gate to make sure he got engaged earlier, so we just didn't hand it over to a slow pace. He did a beautiful job. The horse seems to…


Jul 6 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Toast of New York appropriately headlines inaugural Belmont Derby

ELMONT, N.Y. - Toast of New York will look to become just that when he attempts to win the first running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Belmont Derby on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The 1 ¼-mile Belmont Derby is the centerpiece of the newly fashioned Stars & Stripes Day, which also features…


Jul 2 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Belmont Oaks

Flying Jib part of tough European contingent in G1 Belmont Oaks; Room Service one of several carrying American flag

ELMONT, N.Y. - The inaugural running of the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational attracted a diverse cast of 3-year-old fillies who will be traveling 1 ¼ miles over…


Jul 2 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Calder Statement Regarding The Stronach Group Agreement

Calder President and General Manager Maureen Adams:

“We would like to thank the horsemen, the breeders, the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, and The Stronach Group for their cooperation in finalizing an agreement which is in the best interest of South Florida Racing. Today, we received…


Jul 2 | Categories: Calder, | Comments (0)
STATEMENT FROM GULFSTREAM PRESIDENT TIM RITVO ON CALDER AGREEMENT

"Gulfstream Park started a journey more than two years ago to create a more vibrant Thoroughbred industry in Florida. Having enjoyed year-over-year growth the past three years, we wanted to continue the momentum Gulfstream's Champions Meet generated rather than try to rebuild that momentum and fan base…


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