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
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

Where Players Bet Matters

Despite excellent racing and full-court-press promoting by TVG’s wall-to-wall coverage, the message being sent by boycotting horseplayers is being heard loud and clear.

Having said that, I predict that today’s handle will be up over last year’s, thanks to a six-figure Pick Six carryover, a pool that features $1 wagering and not the standard $2 in non-jackpot scenarios.

But that, too, is beside the point.

While unofficial handle at racing’s other top tier venues, Belmont Park and Santa Anita is up significantly, Keeneland’s is down considerably by comparison for the period of OCT 6 through OCT 15.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (2)
Final Q & A on Horse Racing Integrity Act 2017

HOW LONG HAS WHOA BEEN IN EXISTANCE AND MANY MEMBERS DO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE?
WHOA was founded in 2012 on a phone call with lobbyist Frankie Trull. She suggested that lobbying as an alliance of individuals would be more powerful than each of us lobbying on our own. As an alliance, WHOA has given us common ground. From those early days with 10 original members, WHOA’s membership has grown to over 1,500 members who have endorsed our pledge and signed on to the WHOA membership roster. http://www.waterhayoatsalliance.com/join.shtml.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE ITS MEMBERSHIP, PRIMARILY, BREEDERS AND OWNERS?

WHOA is a grassroots group of like-minded Owners, Breeders, Trainers, Jockeys, Equine Practitioners, Industry Professionals, Handicappers and Racing Fans who stand against the permissive use of performance enhancing drugs in American horse racing.
WHOA’s membership is open to anyone with a stake in the racing game. It includes all racing disciplines: Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Quarter Horse.
The membership breaks down as follows:
Owner/Breeders 45%
Industry Professionals 15%
Equine Practitioners 1%
Trainers 4%
Jockeys <1%
Handicappers 2%
Racing Fans 16%
Horse Lovers 17%

HOW MANY TRAINERS ARE MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION?
There are currently 54 trainers in WHOA; 10 of them, Hall of Famers.

WHEN WAS THE BARR-TONKO BILL ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED AND WHAT IS ITS CURRENT STATUS?


Written by John Pricci | Comments (13)

Three races to look forward to at the Breeders Cup


The beauty of the Breeders' Cup is every race is a beauty. But some are more beautiful than others. Three weeks out, a trio of Breeders' Cup events stand out for their competitiveness and championship implications: the Classic, the Distaff and the Juvenile. The Classic will almost certainly produce the Horse of the Year, best older dirt horse and perhaps the 3-year-old championship. The Distaff should settle the older Filly & Mare division and likely the 3-year-old filly title. The Juvenile will be an East-West showdown with an Eclipse on the line between a pair of colts, whose breeding and running styles should put them at the top of next year's Kentucky Derby contenders.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (28)
What about star power drives sports does racing not understand?


The Breeders' Cup is one of the best things to happen in racing. Unfortunately, it has led to many of the sports most tradition laden and richest stakes, such as this Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup, to be treated as if they didn't exist. The BC isn't to blame. It's the fault of extremely conservative training methods by some of the sport's biggest names, who act as if they owe the game nothing. But the biggest event of this weekend and the next month is the players' boycott of Keeneland to protest greedy and unnecessary takeout hikes. Follow the lead of Ken Ramsey, an owner and a player: Don't bet a dime on Keeneland.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)

For Racing, What Cost Security?

Dr. Rick Sams, laboratory director at LGC Sports Science, the official testing laboratory for Kentucky, Virginia and Maine racing commissions based in Lexington, says that designer drugs administered to horses simply cannot be detected by laboratories.

Sams, it should be noted, also is a member of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium's Scientific Practices Committee and consultant to the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

On the other hand, Martin Panza, senior vice president of racing operations at the New York Racing Association, said nobody is using drugs that we don’t know about. Both cannot be correct.

“Both right, both wrong,” said Dr. Steven Barker, the veterinarian whose laboratory at Louisiana State University was the first to discover dermorphin, aka ‘frog juice’. “The answer is somewhere in the middle.”


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (29)
The More Things Change…

Thoroughbred racing in the US cannot withstand a hurricane of change. Yet if it does not occur, it will drown in a sea of drugs, deaths and litigation. Its destiny is our hands.

Exposure of extensive drug use was the nadir of the trial and conviction of trainer Murray Rojas in Pennsylvania, equine deaths have tragically been too frequent at Saratoga, and litigation opened Pandora’s Box when Kentucky judge, Thomas Wingate, struck down the absolute-insurer (trainer responsibility) rule in the case of trainer Graham Motion.

Stewart S Janney III, Chairman of the Jockey Club closed its Round Table Conference on Matters Pertaining to Racing in Saratoga Springs on August 13, with the following remarks.

“What has happened in Pennsylvania recently is disgraceful and sad, especially when you consider that the state is the sixth leading producer of foals and that it hosted approximately 4,000 races and distributed more than 100 million in purses in 2016.

Let's start by focusing on the federal trial involving trainer Murray Rojas on charges of fraud, conspiracy, and misbranding of drugs. I think it illustrates what we have to fix and how our problems interconnect.

Uncontradicted testimony described widespread, in fact, nearly universal, cheating; regulators asleep on the job; a corrupted and ineffectual testing system.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (27)

With Respect to Running Times, Racing Has a Crediblity Gap

While parimutuel takeout and the Keeneland boycott have dominated the discussion in recent weeks, there is a matter of urgency that not only effects horseplayers but the very foundation and history of Thoroughbred racing itself: The timing of races.

Whether it is how one horse matches up against another in today’s race, or whether Arrogate is the historical equal of Seattle Slew, visual interpretations notwithstanding, it is axiomatic that running time is the only absolute truth in the game.

Presently there is credibility crisis in terms of how accurate the running times you see posted on the tote board and in past performances are. This has been at issue for several years, the most egregious example being the incorrect time of the 2017 Pegasus.

This week, however, the prominent Pace Advantage, a prominent racing message board, and Twitter has blown up because of the incorrect timing issues that have occurred with regularity at the current Santa Anita race meet.

Timing and past performance company Trakus published three charts from this past Saturday without running times listed, including intra-race fractions and final clocking, because the originally posted times were inaccurate.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (18)
Horseplayers No Longer Crying in the Wilderness

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But in this case it’s more about the horse race industry working at cross purposes with its customers in the interests of commerce than anything else.

In this weekend’s edition of Horse Racing Nation “Insider,” the publication offered “FREE PICKS for KEENELAND STAKES!” Any NCIS fan can quote you chapter and verse Rule #37, according to Special Agent Jethro Gibbs: “There’s no such thing as a coincidence.”

It follows that the Cross-Country Pick 4, combining four Grade 1s at Belmont and Keeneland was also being heavily promoted, including “a 15-1 shot you can’t leave off your tickets,” with FREE Shadwell Mile PPs to sweeten the deal.

This is not meant to assess blame for bet-takers promoting their business but it is interesting that this “Insider” edition happened to coincide with a horseplayer’s boycott at Keeneland which dubiously insisted raised takeout was meant attract the best horses.

As if that weren’t going to happen, anyway. Clearly, this was a move to mirror the higher Churchill Downs takeout rates in place for years now, creating synergy should the two racing behemoths be given permission to encroach on other regional Kentucky tracks.

It would be also fair to ask whether these increases are in place at the Red Mile harness track. Is that Keeneland-owned property also a non-for-profit venture?

The highly touted Fall Champions Weekend that began opening day thus far has played to mixed betting results. Despite record attendance for Friday’ Fall opener, handle was flat year over year.

However, Saturday’s mega-card, featuring an All Stakes Pick Five—two Grade 2s and three Grade 1s--attracted 14.4% less handle than did the same number of races in 2016 and with two more betting interests, according to racing activists.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (27)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
New York, New York Pick 4 offered Saturday

ELMONT, N.Y. - Racing fans will have the opportunity to wager on a special thoroughbred/standardbred pick 4 on Saturday, October 14, when the New York Racing Association and Yonkers Raceway join to offer the New York, New York Pick 4.

The Pick 4 wager, hosted by NYRA, is comprised of the…


Oct 13 | Categories: Belmont Park, |
Laurel Park News & Notes: Thu 10/5

G3 Winner Just Call Kenny Pointed to $100,000 Richard Small Nov. 11
Unbeaten Margie’s Money Headed for Maryland Million Lassie
Carryovers, First Monday Card Ahead on Revamped Fall Schedule

LAUREL, MD – Multiple stakes winner Just Call Kenny, who became a graded…


Oct 5 | Categories: Laurel, |
Three Grade 1 Races Featured on Fall Stars Saturday at Keeneland

Miss Temple City Bids for Shadwell Turf Mile Repeat
Dickinson Heads Field of Seven for First Lady
Albaugh Family Stables Seek Second Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity Score

LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 4, 2017) – The Club Racing, Needle in a Haystack and Sagamore Farm’s…


Oct 5 | Categories: Keeneland, |
BOLT D’ORO

BOLT D’ORO STAMPS HIMSELF A-LIST JUVENILE WITH ROUSING 7 ¾ LENGTHS WIN IN GRADE I, $300,000 FRONTRUNNER STAKES; OWNED & TRAINED BY RUIS AND RIDDEN BY NAKATANI, HE GETS 1 1/16 MILES IN 1:43.54

RACE IS ONE OF FIVE GRADE I BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE STAKES

Oct 1 | Categories: Santa Anita, |
Summer Meet Entering Action-Packed Closing Weekend

$400,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Finales Top Six-Stakes Saturday
‘Beer, Bourbon & Burgers’ Featured at Final Summer Soiree
Food, Drink Specials, Mandatory Payouts, Six Stakes on Closing Day Sunday
Jockey, Trainer Title Races Going Down to the Wire

HALLANDALE…


Sep 30 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Belmont Park Notes 9/29

Maiden runner Presumptuous 'taking a shot' in G1 Beldame
• Oscar Performance paddock schools ahead of G1 Joe Hirsch
• Verve's Tale hoping for two-turn success in Beldame
• Desert Stone set for stakes debut in G3 Pilgrim
• Money'soncharlotte looks to stay perfect…


Sep 30 | Categories: Belmont Park, |
SANTA ANITA STABLE NOTES - Fri 9/29/2017

PETER EURTON TRAINEE HAS ‘GIANT’ EXPECTATIONS
• MAJESTIC HEAT SET FOR WIN AND YOU’RE IN RODEO DRIVE
• FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE TO SANTA ANITA STARTS TODAY
• LOS ANGELES TIMES NEWSLETTER DEBUTS STARTING TODAY
• JOHN MORRIS GOLF TOURNAMENT WILL BENEFIT THE PDJF

Sep 29 | Categories: Santa Anita, |
Campo to Focus on VP Duties

Badgett Named GM at Gulfstream
Camac Promoted to Racing Secretary


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Due to his growing responsibilities as Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group, P.J. Campo has relinquished his role as General Manager of Gulfstream Park.




Sep 29 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Rainbow 6 Jackpot Hit for $93,555.42

Jaramillo Notches Fifth Multi-Win Day in a Row

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot was hit Saturday at Gulfstream Park, producing a $93,555.42 payoff for the only ticket with all six winners.

The winning combination was 7-1-2-12-2-4.


Sep 24 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Gunnevera Returns to the Worktab Saturday at Gulfstream Park West

Travers Runner-Up Breezed 4F in 49 Seconds for Breeders’ Cup Classic

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Margoth’s Gunnevera returned to the worktab at Gulfstream Park West Saturday for the first time since finishing second in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.

In preparation…


Sep 23 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Churchill Downs Barn Notes: Friday, Sept. 22, 2017

OAKS CONTENDER FARRELL READY FOR COMEBACK IN
SATURDAY’S $100,000 DOGWOOD PRESENTED BY GE APPLIANCES

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, Sept. 22, 2017)
– Following a 141-day layoff, Coffee Pot Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner Farrell is set for her return to the races in Saturday…


Sep 23 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Rainbow 6 Carryover Grows to $32,840 for Friday’s Twilight Card

Jaramillo Stays Hot Thursday with Three Winning Rides

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved Thursday at Gulfstream Park, producing a $32,840.45 carryover jackpot for Friday’s 2:15 p.m. twilight program.

Multiple tickets with all six winners…


Sep 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, |