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

Racing & Wagering Board v Rick Dutrow: Nightmare From the Start

In Part 1 of the HRI Special Report, it was established in sworn testimony and e-mails that the positive Butorphanol findings in the horse Fastus Cactus were highly dubious and there was meddling into state process by the president of a national regulatory organization.

Part 2 will examine how Rick Dutrow Jr. was denied a license in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, adding to a dossier compiled by the New York State Racing & Wagering Board that would suspend the trainer 10 years for the “crime” of appealing two questionable suspensions.

How and why this all happened remains a mystery

Written by John Pricci | Comments (18)
RICK DUTROW REVISITED: How a Deeply Flawed Process and Politics Leads to Kangaroo Court

NEW YORK, May 28, 2015--Like many Thoroughbred racing fans, the word that most often leapt to mind whenever I saw Rick Dutrow Jr.’s name in print was “juice.” Unlike many of those who still cling to the notion, I know now that I was wrong.

Seven years ago, an undefeated, seemingly invincible three year old returned to New York seeking to achieve the kind of immortality that only a Triple Crown sweep can bestow, what American Pharoah will try to accomplish June 6.

Instead of becoming the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner and only the second to run the Thoroughbred gauntlet while undefeated, Big Brown was eased before he could reach the Belmont Park homestretch.

For Big Brown, the troubles he encountered in the 2008 Belmont Stakes began at the start of the race. It ended with a performance that was a pivotal factor leading to the suspension of his trainer for 10 years.

Rick Dutrow had his livelihood taken away in a hearing governed by New York State’s Administrative Procedure Act. This type of hearing is conducted as any trial would, with two notable exceptions: There is no presumption of innocence and no due process.

Big Brown’s star-crossed Belmont likely began as a 2007 juvenile when he suffered a foot abscess, one in each hoof albeit not concurrently, resulting in wall separations. Dutrow’s problems began Monday of Belmont week the following year when he told the national media his colt would run without the anabolic steroid Winstrol.

The steroid revelation shocked almost everyone in attendance, racing and non-racing media alike. I know, I was there.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (28)

American Pharoah: What Price Greatness?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 21, 2015--This is no news flash: American Pharoah is quite the race horse. It takes a special Thoroughbred to go on a four-race roll at the highest divisional levels in this day and age.

Winning four races in an eight-week span against the best your generation has to offer takes a special horse, indeed. American Pharoah won the Derby with class and courage; he took the Preakness with class and speed.

Yes, American Pharoah is extremely gifted, to date the best of his very talented peer group, but I’m not yet ready to concede the other ‘G’ word: Great.

For me, that will take one more victory, his fifth in 11 weeks, including three which have been won in tandem only 11 times in history.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)
Game On…Rained On…Game Over

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 16, 2015--In the end, the Preakness players told you all you needed to know.

In the walkover from the Preakness Stakes barn, Bob Baffert was asked how American Pharoah’s condition was; would he be ready for the challenge, coming back in two weeks?

Would we see the same horse that dominated the Arkansas Derby before showing his class and grit three weeks later in Louisville?

Baffert said just what you’d expect him to say, “but you still need that luck,” he said to the national television audience.

After the race, Victor Espinoza was asked on his way to the winners’ circle after spread-eagling the Preakness field from pillar to post whether he had planned the winning front-running gambit.

“After the rain I didn’t want to be behind horses,” Espinoza said. He didn’t need to think about strategy and the trip any longer. Espinoza knew he had to quarter-horse out of there and take the race to his rivals from the jump.

And he took Preakness 140 by taking the lead then taking the prize. Now Espinoza and American Pharoah can take their act on the road just one more time, this time for the biggest prize of all; racing immortality.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (22)

On Balance, Derby Points System an Improvment

LOS ANGELES, CA., May 27, 2015—This year, the new points system rule determining a starting stall in the Kentucky Derby celebrated its third birthday this year. The new rule dictates that points be awarded weighed on the merits of each qualifying Derby prep.

The more prestigious the prep, the more points money finishers earn. Grade counts as does the calendar. Previously, total earnings in graded stakes were the barometer.

So, if the pot were big enough, two-year-old stakes races not named Juvenile would have more of an impact on the Derby field than an event that almost always determines a divisional championship.

We thought we’d take a closer, detailed look at eligibility factors might help all Kentucky Derby fans distinguish between the intended and unintended consequences of participation in various races.

Written by Indulto | Comments (2)
Governor, Let My People In

When Pharoah was in NYRA's land
Let my people in
Upon the grounds they could not stand
Let my people in

Go down there, HANA,
Way down in NYRA's Land
Tell old
Let my people in

May 9, 2015—Just like the Horseplayers Association of North America and Bladerunners, early advocates for a National Horse Racing Commission, learned, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) is finding out that organizing horseplayers is even more difficult than herding cats.

Sixteen million people watched the Kentucky Derby. According to the
Paulick Report
, however, less than two thousand fans responded to an NTRA request for emails in support of tax reform on large winnings over the 300-1 odds threshold.

That's fewer people than HANA’s membership!

"The NTRA has created an easy-to-use form that makes it easy for the public to submit an e-mail directly to the appropriate IRS and U.S. Treasury officials at Nearly 2,000 comments originating from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have already been submitted via"

This apathy is not being lost on racing industry executives determined to extract whatever additional dollars it can from this seemingly disinterested bunch of horseplayers.

Written by Indulto | Comments (25)

American Pharoah the latest star leaving the game too soon

The announcement that American Pharoah will almost certainly be retired at the end of his 3-year-old campaign has stripped some of the excitement from his pursuit of the Triple Crown. Instead of a new star for fans to get enthused about, he will soon be no more than a memory.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (6)
NYRA Making Its Own History

A decision by the New York Racing Association based on business considerations, with customer comfort as a guise, will make Belmont Park on June 6 the first racetrack in history to turn away customers. In an era where tracks try to attract a few more fans by concocting every promotion imaginable, almost all of which have little to do with racing, NYRA is willing to say you're not welcome to 20,000 to 30,000 fans, attracted by, of all things, racing. A crowd in excess of 100,000 will make things uncomfortable, but this is not what this is about. NYRA is trying to guarantee it can sell 90,000 tickets in advance for years when a Triple Crown is not at stake.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (38)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Belmont Park Notes 5/30

• Tale of Verve breezes five furlongs in advance of G1 Belmont Stakes
• Belmont Stakes contender Frammento works for two-time winner and Hall of Famer Zito
• Mubtaahij hits the track again for the Belmont Stakes
• Pletcher's Belmont trio return from works in good shape

May 30 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, | Comments (0)
Barn Notes: American Pharoah Gallops


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, May 30, 2015) - With only one week until the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI), Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI)…

May 30 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 5/29

• Pletcher trio work toward G1 Belmont Stakes
• Frosted 'all set' for G1 Belmont Stakes
• Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist breezes for G1 Met Mile

ELMONT, N.Y. - Following the workouts Friday morning from a trio Todd Pletcher-trained horses for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes,…

May 30 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Barn Notes: American Pharoah Back to Gallops; ‘Everything is Super Positive’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 29, 2015) – Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah, preparing for a sweep of the Triple Crown in the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 6, had a schooling session in the Churchill Downs starting…

May 30 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Barn Notes: American Pharoah Jogs; Conquest Curlinate Bypasses Belmont

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, May 28, 2015) - Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah returned to the Churchill Downs racetrack Thursday morning for a once-around clockwise jog around the one-mile oval. The 3-year-old, preparing for a sweep of the Triple…

May 29 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (1)
Belmont Park Notes 5/28

The Truth or Else joins Belmont Stakes mix; nine appear likely to challenge American Pharoah in his bid for the Triple Crown on June 6

ELMONT, N.Y.-- Trainer Kenny McPeek, who upset War Emblem's bid for a Triple Crown with Sarava in 2002, said Thursday morning that he will more than likely…

May 28 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, | Comments (0)


Kentuckian and Texas Red also among 42 horses nominated to Grade II event to be held at Los Alamitos Race Course on Saturday, July 4


May 28 | Categories: Los Alamitos, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes: Wednesday, May 27

• Keen Ice makes final preparations for G1 Belmont Stakes
• Ortiz gets familiar with Belmont Stakes mount Mubtaahij
• Fields taking shape for first two days of Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

ELMONT, N.Y. - Donegal Racing's Keen Ice turned in his final major work at his…

May 28 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, May 27, 2015) – Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice, who finished a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), breezed six furlongs in 1:13.60 over a fast track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for a showdown with Triple Crown hopeful…

May 27 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 5/26

• Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah breezes at Churchill Downs; War Story out of Belmont
• Untapable, Shook Up breeze Monday for Belmont Stakes Day assignments for Asmussen

ELMONT, N.Y. - Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah is likely to face nine contenders in the Grade 1,…

May 26 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, May 26, 2015) – Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah took his preparation for the June 6 Belmont Stakes (GI) to the next level breezing a half-mile in :48 over a fast track Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. Martin…

May 26 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 5/24

• Stewart has high hopes for Belmont contender Tale of Verve
• Mubtaahij breezes for Belmont Stakes bid
• Honor Code star of McGaughey's Belmont Stakes Racing Festival workers
• Brown loaded with G1 winners for Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer…

May 25 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)