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

Bayern creates a wonderful dilemma for Baffert

The racing season doesn't end with the posting of the official at the Belmont Stakes. This past weekend set the stage for a scintillating fall, with the dazzling Bayern and workmanlike Wicked Strong throwing their hats into the 3-year-old-division ring, although any 3-year-old will have to do extraordinary work to overtake California Chrome. Also, in spite of not hitting the board in the Haskell, Untapable remains a formidable force looking ahead to the major distaff races.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (0)
NJ hellbent on adding sports betting to tracks


New Jersey is not letting a rebuff from the courts derail its plan to add sports betting to the menu at race tracks and casinos. Marijuana is against federal law, too, but the government is looking the other way at that. The belief is the same thing will happen if and when New Jersey begins taking bets on games, possibly as soon as the first week of the NFL season.




Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (5)

Big Weekend Everywhere

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 27, 2014—With apologies to any venue that puts up a million dollars for a Grade 1 event, and to call the William Hill Haskell Invitational a prep for the Travers is more than a little cheeky but many fans regarded Sunday’s War at the Shore as round three of Travers prep weekend.

What was supposed by many to be a triumphant victory by a sensational filly over males, or a competitive race rich in talent, turned into a romp for the brilliant Bayern, giving Bob Baffert a record seventh victory in this race and jockey Martin Garcia a record-tying third.

In the process, Bayern ran himself out of the Grade 1 7-furlong King’s Bishop on August 23rd here. Does that mean a run in the Travers off this devastating 7-1/4 length score in 1:47.82?

This was a Breeders' Cup Classic “win and you’re in” event, not by definition a stepping stone to the Travers. All Baffert would say after the race was: “I don’t think I’ll back him up after this.” Who could blame him

And while Steve Asmussen didn’t say it, I don’t think he or his connections want any part of Grade 1 colts anytime soon, although Untapable did get bumped at the start then raced wide throughout, legitimate excuses. But neither did she truly fire.

Rachel Alexandra? Can we officially stop the madness now?


Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)
The Prep Killer

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NT, July 26, 2014—With “the Chief” somewhere in Hallandale Beach looking on, the “Prep Killer” emerged with a huge weekend.

“The Prep Killer,” a.k.a. “Peanuts” in the barn where he was growing up into a top assistant to his legendary father, H. Allen Jerkens, Jimmy Jerkens took a page from dad’s book and slew a pair of heavy favorites in Saratoga's two Travers preps this weekend.

But it had to be the victory of Wicked Strong, he of the occasional wicked will, that must have been the most gratifying of all--considering the addition of blinkers and all.

And, oh, what a difference a change of equipment made.

Jerkens has dealt with the temperamental colt in the run-up to, and through, the Triple Crown series. Crowds made the colt antsy, he tended to run very spottily in his races, turning himself off and on whenever it suited his fancy.

It was time to find out if a set of blinkers would work; get him in the game earlier, help him focus throughout a race.

In the G2 Jim Dandy, the blinkers carried Wicked Strong with a rush into contention despite a wide post draw, allowing him to reach near even terms with the speedy Legend soon after the leader entered the backstretch straight.

From there, Wicked Strong, under stout restraint from regular partner Rajiv Maragh, kept the leader in his sights, stalking him throughout, and when Tonalist loomed up alongside approaching headstretch, the winner came out to greet him and the real running began. In the end, the Belmont winner could not match strides with the Wood Memorial hero.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)

L’Affaire Martin: Del Mar Wants It Both Ways

SARATOGA SPRINGS, July 15, 2014—This time, it was the other, silent member of “Dumb Ass Partners,” Perry Martin, who jumped ugly on the subject of dual Classics winner and 2014 Horse of the Year co-favorite, California Chrome.

Yes, this is the same man that blew off the Preakness in a fit of Derby pique and who recently raked Del Mar over the coals for having the temerity to suggest that “America’s Horse” be honored with a parade between races on Pacific Classic day.

The story has been told in different precincts and in disparate versions and there seems to be enough “blame” to go around about a much-ado-about-very-little incident that became front page racing news because Kentucky Derby winners always are.

And that’s especially true this time when the Derby-Preakness winner’s story didn’t end on the sand and loam of Belmont Park but rather on the front page of national and network media after Steve Coburn’s meltdown following Chrome’s crushing Triple Crown defeat.

Finally, with his wife at his side like some politician who got his business caught in some cookie’s jar, Coburn, after doubling down on his post-Belmont rant the following day, made a humbling, tearful apology before a network audience the day after that. It was a case of all's well that ends.

If anything, Coburn’s knee jerk tirade and Martin’s insensitivity indicates that it just might be harder for connections of any good horse to hold their best form for over two months than it is for their equine athletes. Clearly, it was time for a badly needed freshening.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)
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 (19)

Hambletonian Attracts 11 – Wagerng Format Announced

With 11 horses entered in The Hambletonian, the three year old colts will go straight to the Final worth $1,006,125. The Hambletonian will be carded as race 13 on the 15 race program.

The Jimmy Takter trained trio of Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton will headline the field for the 89th American Trotting Classic.

Joining those three are Datsyuk, Don Dorado, Doncango, Harper Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, JJ Alex, Resolve and Royal Ice.

The Hambletonian post position draw will take place at 4PM at Victory Sports Bar along with the draw for The John Cashman Memorial and Hambletonian Oaks.


Written by Darin Zoccali | Comments (0)
Archangel - Fastest Trotter in Meadowlands History

By Darin Zoccali

East Rutherford - Many of the sport’s stars were out on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and none shown brighter than Archangel who won the first elimination for the John Cashman, Jr Memorial trot in a world record 1:50 flat. The mile broke a six-way tie for the fastest mile ever by a trotter on a mile track.

Yannick Gingras sent the handsome five year old millionaire son of Credit Winner out fast for the lead with a wicked 26.1 opening quarter then set even fractions of 54.4 and 1:22.3 in the record mile. Archangel was eared down length and a three quarter winner over Intimidate with Market Share third. Your So Vain and Sevruga round out the qualifiers from this elimination for next Saturday’s $300,000 final.

Gingras had high praise for Archangel in the post-race interview, “I told his caretaker Sarah I was gonna roll him. He has the ability, just hasn’t been lucky. He was staying with Sebastian K in the 1:49 mile at Pocono when he broke on the turn. I think he’ll give Sebastian some competition in the final, I’d take it if I could cut the mile against him next week in the final.”

Ron Burke trains the winner for Legendary Standardbred Farm and Claire Semer.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Shuvee Handicap (G3) Quotes

Kiaran McLaughlin, winning trainer of Antipathy (No. 3): "It was a great performance. Team McLaughlin needed a win; we haven't run that many live ones. We were real happy to get a win. She's a well-bred filly for Godolphin, and now she has a Grade 3 win to go along with a Grade 1 placing. I thought she…


Jul 28 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 7/27

• Tonalist "comes back in good order" following runner-up finish in G2 Jim Dandy
• Kid Cruz emerges from Jim Dandy in good shape
• Vyjack likely to return to sprinting in the G1 Vanderbilt
• Merry Meadow set to contest G2 Honorable Miss on Monday
• Dutrow marks G1 Ketel…


Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Amsterdam (G2) Quotes

Rosie Napravnik, winning jockey aboard Coup de Grace (No. 4): "He's a very nice horse. I spoke to Larry [Jones] this morning and rode him with a lot of confidence. He did it easily today."




Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Quotes from Competitive Edge’s 10 ¼-length debut win

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Competitive Edge (No. 9): "He has never disappointed us in anything that he has done, literally, from the first time we breezed him. He continually showed us he's a very talented colt, and every time we did something with him it was impressive. So we had high hopes coming…


Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 7/26

• Palace Malice leads group of horses working for the G1, $1.5 million Whitney
• Departing works half-mile in 48.79 seconds for Whitney
• Moreno pleases Guillot with Whitney work
• 2012 Travers winner Golden Ticket breezes over Oklahoma for Whitney
• Itsmyluckyday turns…


Jul 27 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: July 25

• Wise Dan logs effortless five-furlong work; possible for G2 Fourstardave or G2 Bernard Baruch
• 2012 Travers co-winner Golden Ticket pointed toward G1 Whitney
• Velazquez, second in 1995 jockey foot race, tries again in 2014 edition
• Quick Call winner Pure Sensation a result…


Jul 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Antipathy finds softer spot in G3 Shuvee

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After holding her own at 30-1 in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 7 at Belmont Park, Antipathy will take a significant drop in class for the Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap for fillies and mares on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.

Fortunately for Antipathy, she…


Jul 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: Thursday, July 24

• Commanding Curve confirmed for G2 Jim Dandy
• Dilger, Anstu looking for more Spa stakes success with Big Guy Ian
• R Free Roll, now win Gargan, seeks graded stakes win in G2 Honorable Miss
• Class drop does the trick for Artemis Agrotera in Wednesday allowance
• Brown,…


Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Lake George (G2) Quotes

Graham Motion, trainer of winner Daring Dancer (No. 2):
"[Jockey] Alan [Garcia] said she never picked up the bridle [in the loss at Belmont, when fifth in the Wonder Again]. I honestly believe it had to be the soft ground. I was having kittens in the paddock here when it started to rain, because…


Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Tonalist looking to maintain momentum in G2 Jim Dandy

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Late winter proved to be a frustrating time for trainer Christophe Clement when it came to his talented 3-year-old colt Tonalist, whose campaign had to be put on hold after he developed a lung infection while in south Florida.

Given ample time to recover and develop,…


Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes: Wednesday, July 23

• Zito looking forward to seeing Spot run long in Friday's Curlin
• Departing working toward G1 Whitney start for trainer Stall
• Motion barn loaded for upcoming turf stakes at Spa
• Better Lucky to point to G1 Ballerina following Shine Again victory




Jul 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Shine Again Quotes

Tom Albertrani, winning trainer of Better Lucky (No. 6): "I was getting a little bit concerned until I saw the :44 and change pop up there, and then I thought she could close; it would just be a matter of getting there in time. When they were turning for home, I could see she was getting a little closer,…


Jul 22 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)