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

Oldies, Goodies and Newbies

LOS ANGELES, December 5, 2016—What do Mike Smith, Bob Baffert, Gary Stevens, Richard Mandella, Bill Mott, Aiden O'Brien, Michael Stoute, and Frankie Dettori have in common?

Well, they're all racing legends that have won multiple Breeders' Cup races for decades--and they did so again in 2016. And none of the winners were the public’s choice.

Like some human recording stars, many of racing's equine stars can be one-hit wonders. Though spectacular first-time successes create cherished memories and visions of sugar plums, stardom is truly bequeathed against proven competition on center stage.

That’s what makes the Breeders' Cup work, and its strength is that it does so multiple times a day across multiple divisions.

What often gets overlooked is the overall performances of jockeys and trainers. Owners choose conditioners proven to have their high-priced horseflesh ready when it counts.

Likewise, trainers want riders known for coolness under pressure by overcoming unexpected obstacles in order to make the most of their preparation without costly error.

Smith's latest Breeders’ Cup win on Arrogate was his third of 2016 and 25th overall. Many were disappointed he didn’t win a fourth event aboard the very popular Songbird, who suffered her lone career defeat in the Distaff.

Instead, it was good friend Gary Stevens who won the Distaff on sentimental favorite and Eclipse champion Beholder for Dick Mandella, snatching victory from defeat’s jaws that was reminiscent of his ride on Victory Gallop denying Real Quiet Triple Crown immortality. It takes a legend to beat one.

Written by Indulto | Comments (2)
A Strange Twist: Classic as a Lose-And-They’re-In Pegasus Event?

LOS ANGELES, October 24, 2016—If California Chrome can win both the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup he not only will become Thoroughbred racing’s first Win-Your Way/Buy-Your-Way-In winner but also would be the first to sweep all three legs of a bonus-incentivized series that included two Win-And-Your-In roads to the Classic.

Win or lose, it will be interesting to see which approach produces the more competitive of the two races. But should he lose the Classic, what then?

‘Chrome’ would not be the only dual WAYI winner forced to waste a free ride earned on the racetrack. Frosted has a ticket to the Dirt Mile to complement the one he earned for the Classic and, after deliberations, he’s headed to the latter.

Exaggerator’s recent retirement leaves only two possibilities among the six horses that have won seven "Classic Challenge" events: Hopportunity and Melatonin.

But as for Exaggerator, like Belmont winning Creator, Preakness winning Exaggerator will compete for dates with the sexiest broodmares in Lexington. Creator will due his suiting in the Far East.

As for Nyquist, plans are for him to compete in the Classic despite disconcerting defeats in the Preakness, Haskell and Pennsylvania Derby. Then no one knows Nyquist better than the brothers O’Neill.

One clear and present danger to Chrome’s ambitions appears to be another three-year-old, Arrogate, whose 13-1/2 length sub-two-minute Travers victory fuels the fantasy of a latter-day Jaipur-Ridan matchup.

It would be great theater to see two California-based speedsters racing head to head all the way around, even though it’s doubtful that “money riders” Victor Espinoza or Mike Smith would fall into a speed trap.

Besides, Art Sherman believes that Chrome’s at his best when he has a target to run at and said so following a recent workout.

Written by Indulto | Comments (23)

An Event and a Meet You Can Bet On

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., December 4, 2016—There is something about an opening day at any racetrack that you have to love. Don’t know whether it’s the kind of energy that only excitement brings or if it’s just a different kind of vibe entirely

But the feeling is palpable, something you can sense when you walk around the building. That’s if you love being at the races, that is.

If you’re a local Gulfstream Park regular, it wasn’t as if such a long absence makes a heart grow fonder, beat faster.

The track has been open for simulcasting since the summer meet ended while the South racing went on eight miles to the west at GP West, which colleague Tom Jicha has aptly described as a demolition site with racetrack attached.

Reports about the state of “Calder” these days have been uniformly depressing. With no simulcasting available, the 25 minutes between races is interminable before you can make a bet. A special line had to be installed for the two days of Breeders’ Cup.

In all, there are two walk-around tellers and four standing SAM machines for the public. The two machines in the horseman’s lounge probably out-handle the other six. It’s no wonder parent Gulfstream prefers fans to wager at Gulfstream during the hiatus. But not on Saturday.

It was racing as usual at what correctly is being billed as a historic meet with the advent of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. And it’s evident that the track is getting in preparedness for the Jan. 28th event, one week after it again plays host to Eclipse Award ceremonies.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (9)
Justice Remains Delayed in Dutrow Case

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., November 20, 2016—Last weekend, trainer Kellyn Gorder began a 60-day suspension nearly two years after one of the horses he trained tested positive for methamphetamine following a race at Churchill Downs.

The suspension was the result of an agreement negotiated with stewards, one subsequently upheld by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Gorder was initially suspended for 14 months for the positive test and discovery of a syringe during a related barn search.

Methamphetamine is classified as a Class A violation but the penalty was reduced to a Class B violation after further testing determined that the methamphetamine discovered was an ingredient in a popular over-the-counter medication.

At face value, reason and justice seems to have prevailed in this instance. But when measured against the way many violations have been handled, it points out how uneven justice is meted out in the racing industry.

Come January 7, 2017, Rick Dutrow will begin his fourth year of a 10-year suspension when a barn search and drug test detected the presence of Butorphanol, an analgesic pain killer having yet-to-be-proven performance-altering properties.

Butorphanol is highly controversial because the time-frame of both its efficacy and withdrawal guidelines between administration and raceday is widely disputed. After all this time, why is this trainer still being singled out as the worst transgressor ever?

All this despite expert testimony debunking the findings and statements of state witnesses; documentation from the renowned drug laboratory at University of California-Davis and confirmed by findings from the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics published in 2012, the year of Dutrow’s appeal.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (1)

As Door Closes on 2016 Season, Another Opens Immediately

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, November 27, 2016—If the cornucopia of major races from around the country over this holiday weekend proves anything, it’s twofold:

There is life after the Breeders’ Cup and a new season will be here before you know it.

That would be the opening of the championship meet on Saturday in South Florida and likewise in Southern California the day of Christmas. For now, we’ll begin putting on bow on 2016 with all appropriate pomp and circumstance.

Very soon, an official Eclipse ballots will be mailed to voters electronically and by courier, and when those opinions are assessed 2016’s champions will be crowned after primaries have decided the top three vote-getters in each category.

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves, a bad thing in the racing business. First, the skinny on the weekend’s races of note and possible future implications. To wit:

Written by John Pricci | Comments (10)
A Holiday Festivus for the Restovus

Cigar Mile analysis comes via promotional agreement with http://www.123BET.COM. Click here for a handicapping look-in of the other three graded stakes on Aqueduct's HolidayFest program

Race 10 Grade 1 CIGAR MILE 3&UP 1 Mile

2-Economic Model (6-1): Comes up to this nicely off two sharp, graded 7-furlong sprints, showing improvement in both those efforts after adding blinkers. Fresh, has good spacing into this, and stretches to most effective trip to date. Looks set for best go in his second start vs. elders and the first of three Chadsters in the lineup.

7-Connect (5-2): On the sidelines awaiting this since a strong, albeit pluperfect trip, score in the Pa Derby. He turns back to one-turn trip where he was very effective given a similar dynamic back in June. All recent works have been steady and strong and Javier takes the re-ride for Chad, 27% with repeaters and a profitable 28% effective with this type of spacing.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

It’s prime time at Gulfstream and more of same at Del Mar

Gulfstream's prime season, home of the finest winter racing in the nation, opens Saturday with a new focus, the $12 million Pegasus on Jan. 28. But the makeup of the field is still in doubt with everyone crossing their fingers for a California Chrome-Arrogate rematch. On the other coast, California stewards again demonstrated they have no regard for the betting public by failing to do what they should have when debris interfered with 10 of 13 horses in the Jimmy Durante.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (10)
Give thanks for a great weekend of racing

The Eclipse championships were mostly settled at the Breeders' Cup but this weekend still offers a cornucopia of quality racing. Aqueduct and Churchill Downs have stakes laden agendas as they wind down their 2016 seasons and Gulfstream West wraps up business, hopefully for the final time, with a pair of added-money events. I see at least four opportunities to make a score without resorting to the chalk. On the not-so-positive side, the first Kentucky Derby futures bet, the worst wager in racing, launches in advance of the 2017 Run for the Roses.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (10)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
John Jones Puts Win Streak on the Line in Saturday’s $200,000 Jewel

Set for Clash with Royal Posse in $1.1 Million Claiming Crown Centerpiece
Goodtimehadbyall Back Again to Stake Claim in $110,000 Iron Horse

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The claiming of John Jones couldn’t have worked out more perfectly for trainer Lacey Gaudet and owner…

Dec 1 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
History-Making Championship Meet Gets Under Way Dec. 3

$12 million Pegasus World Cup, World’s Richest Race, on Jan. 28
$1 Million Florida Derby Highlights $2.45 Million April 1 Program
Record Stakes Purse Disbursement of $25 Million Includes 93 Stakes
Triple Crown Contenders Prepare for 3-Year-Old Season
$1 Million Claiming Crown,…

Dec 1 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Bar of Gold looks to strike it rich in G3 Go for Wand

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Chester and Mary Broman's Bar of Gold will be looking to build on an impressive win in headlining a seven-horse field in Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at one mile at Aqueduct Racetrack. It is the final graded stakes of 2016…

Dec 1 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
Three Carryovers on Laurel’s De Francis Program Saturday

LAUREL, MD – Laurel Park’s Fall Festival of Racing, featuring the De Francis (G3) Dash presented by Maker’s Mark, will have three carryovers.

The day kicks off with a $4,742.45 Super Hi 5 carryover in the first race, a 5 ½ furlong turf sprint featuring a full field of 12 with four…

Nov 19 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
Laurel Fall Festival Notes:

Well-Traveled Golden Soul Seeks First Stakes Win in $100,000 Richard Small
Ivan Fallunovalot Can Make the Grade in $250,000 De Francis Dash (G3)
Never Gone South Returns to Races in $100,000 City of Laurel
Fall Turf Festival Weekend Closes Sunday with Full Fields

Nov 19 | Categories: Laurel, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream West’s Rainbow 6 Carryover $62,000 Saturday

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - Gulfstream Park West’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a carryover of $62,085 when racing resumes Saturday afternoon.

First race post for Gulfstream’s 10-race program Saturday is 12:35 p.m. The Rainbow 6 kicks off with the fifth race, a $10,000 maiden claimer for…

Nov 19 | Categories: Gulfstream West, | Comments (0)
Double Pick 6 carryover of $33K Saturday at the Big A

ELMONT, N.Y. - Horseplayers will be greeted with a two-day Pick 6 carryover of $33,779 into Aqueduct Racetrack's live racing program on Saturday.

Buckwellspent (No. 7, $6.40) kicked off the day's Pick 6 as the lone winning favorite in the sequence in Race 4, and was promptly followed by…

Nov 19 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
$1.1 Million Claiming Crown Attracts 279 Nominations

Noms Include Graded-Stakes winners Bigger Picture, Doctor J Dub
Royal Posse Back to Defend Jewel Title
Ramsey Leads Nominations with 10

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The 18th running of the $1.1 Claiming Crown, to be hosted by Gulfstream Park for the fifth consecutive…

Nov 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Kentucky update

Juvenile Kentucky horses dominate Juvenile as Classic Empire nips Not This Time

Romans: ‘I think we proved that you can run a good horse at Ellis Park’

By Jennie Rees

ARCADIA, Calif. — Based on Saturday’s $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’…

Nov 6 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Kentucky update

By Jennie Rees

Maker hoping growing claim to fame continues with Da Big Hoss, Al’s Gal

‘Get a good sound horse, put her in the right spot, get the right jockey on her and Mike is very lethal’

ARCADIA, Calif. (Friday, Nov. 4, 2016) — Mike Maker wouldn’t…

Nov 4 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Kentucky update

Bad fall in race doesn’t stop Lull
Colebrook glad he came for Sprint

ARCADIA, Calif. — There might be a faster horse than Lull in Friday’s $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita Park. But it’s hard to imagine there’s a 2-year-old filly in the race possessing…

Nov 4 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)


Arrogate/Hoppertunity – Arrogate worked 4f in 46 4/5 Monday morning under Martin Garcia.
“Worked really good, he was happy and comfortable," Garcia said.
“It was fine,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said.
Hoppertunity, Baffert's other…

Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)