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

Travers Day All-Grade 1 Pick 4

Exclusively for, reprinted via promotional agreement


Posted comments on winners with notable money finishers


8-Tourist (5-2) won his lone start on this course, three of four at this trip lifetime and exits long series of G1 event. Has enough tactical gas to overcome wide draw and reunites with winning rider Rosario. Worthy favorite.
7-A Lot (10-1) drops significant weight exiting two rapidly run sprints, gets switch to Javier. Has run very well on this course but this is a different level and had better inside draw in last week’s canceled renewal.


6-Songbird (1-5) is 9-for-9 lifetime and needs no introduction. Biggest hurdle figures to be today’s trip but did drew out in final furlong winning CCA Oaks here at 9 furlongs July 24. Has continued to train well over the strip.
3-Going for Broke (10-1) obviously, Chad is en fuego and this filly has benefit of winning 9 furlongs over the track. Only loss sprinting in debut over speed-kind strip. Bred for the trip with Irad on the re-ride and will be running in the lane.


1-Orino (10-1) has never been entered this cheaply but draws in with salty NY-Bred group. Barn’s horses always live here, draws pole and attracts Johnny; wakeup potential.


5-True Charm (12-1) comes off comprehensive open lengths score in recent off-turfer here and has run very competitively in two of three turf starts; live threat to repeat with Lezcano on the re-ride.
4-Laura’s Patriot (12-1) was a very willing fourth going 7/8s in Belmont finale and appears well suited by the turnback; getting weight for all and apprentice, struggling here, has ability.
7-Wantagh Queen (20-1) raced wide in one of these, her Spa turf return, following maiden-claiming Belmont win. Second at this trip last year now gets switch to Geroux; surprise package?




1-Economic Model (6-1) placed gamely after making mid-race run into stretch in G3 Dwyer. Broke maiden here in 2015 and second to rapid Awesome Banner at trip in Swale. Training strongly in blinkers.
2-Fish Trappe Road (8-1) has improved markedly since turned back into sprint this spring, beating ‘Model’ in latest. Loves this trip (3) 2-1-0 and owns tactical speed and kick; fair value on early line.
3-Summer Revolution (6-1) has been visually impressive in two rapidly run starts at today’s trip, including Spa debut. Extremely fast figures on both Thoro-Graph and Pricci Energy Rating scales but takes substantial rise here. Intriguing.
4-Tail of S’avall (30-1) was third behind ‘Model’ and ‘Road’ in Dwyer and did make maiden here in debut at 2. Tough draw given his style and dynamics in bulky field.
5-Bird Song (30-1) has been developing nicely this summer for Wilkes and jumped up to win Spa debut July 24. Distance should suit, Jose Ortiz re-rides, but makes significant class rise here.
6-Mohaymen (5-1) has been toughened at the highest levels all season long and is 2-for-2 in career rounding one turn. Suited by dynamics, style and distance but has not shown development since leaving Gulfstream. Mixed signals.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Saratoga Late Pick 4, Roll Tide

Exclusively for, reprinted via promotional agreement


1-King Kreesa (12-1)
won the Forbidden Apple after getting loose in soft fractions on a speed-kind course…but these are Grade 1 rivals.

2-Grand Arch (6-1) returns to what might be his favorite course--over which he won this race last year. A four-time winner at the trip, returns with profitable spacing for Lynch barn that’s come alive recently. Nicely drawn, sheds 6 pounds and ML odds offers value.

3-Reporting Star (20-1) four of five lifetime wins have come at this trip, sheds six pounds, and won G3 Appleton at the distance three back. In top hands but this is a different level.

4-Force the Pass (8-1) just missed catching ‘Kreesa’ after chasing the loose leader in the Forbidden Apple. Has enough versatility to adapt to dynamics, well drawn and three of four lifetime wins at today’s distance. Excellent value on early line.

5-Blacktype (10-1)
won the Oceanport when Jersey Joe took advantage of demanding course and timed his late run perfectly. Meeting tougher, obviously, and at his best with a little more ground.

6-Ring Weekend (3-1) handles any type of footing, has won at G1 level, and just missed in G2 Dixie making first start in 14 months. Loves tis course, working bullets at Fair Hill base and goes very well for Johnny.

7-A Lot (10-1) drops significant weight exiting two rapidly run sprints, gets switch to Javier. Has run very well on this course but this is a different level and had better inside draw in last week’s canceled renewal.

8-Tourist (5-2) won his lone start on this course, three of four at this trip lifetime and exits long series of G1 event. Has enough tactical gas to overcome wide draw and reunites with winning rider Rosario. Worthy favorite.

9-Takeover Target (9-2) would have preferred last week’s softer ground but likes Spa turf. Freshened awaiting this, sheds five pounds but loses Rosario to Tourist. Chad white hot, has good spacing, but this a tough spot.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

Travers Day: A Veritable Feast for Everyone

Saratoga Springs, Aug. 25, 2016--Horse players are a tough crowd. Making them all happy is well nigh impossible.

(If you don't think so, read from the comments section of this site.)

However, Saturday's Travers might be able to turn the trick. The Midsummer Derby is loaded with star power for people who still get turned on by the sport. Every 3-year-old of consequence, save Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, who is undergoing a "growth spurt," will be here.

That so many horses have the credentials to win will make it a super betting race for those who reduce champion thoroughbreds to "the two horse" or "the six horse."

Preakness winner Exaggerator, off a smashing win in the Haskell, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. In spite of his lustrous credentials, that price probably will be available when the 14-horse field is loaded.

If beating the favorite is your game, you could be handsomely rewarded. The winners of the Belmont Stakes, Jim Dandy, Tampa Bay Derby and Louisiana Derby are all double digits on the opening line.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (9)
Lost: A Racetrack and Probably Some Fans

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Aug. 18--What a relief. In the midst of my 1600-mile drive to Saratoga, I began reading stories that said the track at Saratoga had been lost on Saturday. My immediate thought was, how could people be wasting time looking for Pokemon when the most famous race track in America is missing?

Thankfully, this turned out to be hyperbole. The lost track, as described by Johnny Velazquez, turned out to be justification for the jockeys to refuse to ride the last six races of the card.

I was on the road, so I have no idea how extreme conditions were at the Spa. But I do know I have been there many times when it was raining when I woke up in the morning, never stopped all day, yet a complete program was run.

I also know that no matter how hard it might have been raining, it likely didn't exceed the Biblical downpours at Gulfstream a couple of times a week during summer. Nevertheless there hasn't been a rain cancellation in my memory.

When it's really bad or lightning is in the area, horses are held in the paddock until conditions become more tolerable. Even on the gloomiest of days, there is sufficient natural light during to run until 7 p.m. and beyond. NYRA called it quits not much after 3 p.m.

NYRA certainly didn't want to lose a Saturday at Saratoga. However, you have to wonder how much effort was made to save the cancelled races. You also have to wonder how much consideration was given to the potential long term repercussions to Saratoga and the Adirondacks tourism industry.

Saratoga probably draws a greater percentage of fans from in excess of 100 miles away than any other racetrack in America, especially on a Saturday. Fans last Saturday are likely to think twice the next time they consider the marathon drive if there is even a hint of a storm.

Also, fans pay $200 or more a night in area hotels and motels to spend a day or two at the Spa. Speaking from first-hand knowledge, a lot of these reservations are made weeks or months in advance. There also is sure to be hesitation on the part of many to making this commitment next year.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (25)

Stars Shine: Good Horses = Good Racing = Good Business

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 21, 2016—

Dear Diary,

Who said you can’t go home again? Like New Orleans, Saratoga is a place you feel more than see. It’s as if you’ve never left, especially given five decades of prior experience.

In Saratoga, the horse that has the right of way at all times. Posted signs virtually everywhere tells you as much.

As for Saturday’s racing, including the final two legs of a special Pick 4 wager that combined three Grade 1 stakes and a Grade 2, the final two legs at Del Mar, was spectacular.

Saturday was the kind of day when you feel sorry for all those people who just don’t get it about the game. Even the non-stakes where highly competitive, featuring many tight finishes.

Betting notwithstanding, it boggles the brain that sports fans seem unwilling to appreciate the athleticism involved in the sport of Thoroughbred racing; the equines, the jockeys and, most significantly, the interaction between them.

On sun-baked afternoons from coast to coast, two SoCal based horses, Songbird and California Chrome, were so dominant they made graded stakes-winning rivals appear inferior by comparison.

Questions were answered. Songbird, indeed, can carry her speed a mile and a quarter, even if it took 26.99 seconds to close the deal.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)
On the Road Again, Almost

LIC, NY, August 14, 2016—

Dear Diary,

It’s not Saratoga yet but we’re collecting out tack and will be on our way sometime in the next 48 hours.

On Saturday we kicked back some, made a few wagers and settle in to watch “Saratoga Live” for the first time. It’s unavailable in SoFla. We have FS1 in our area, not FS2.

But it almost didn’t matter, because it rained. And when summer storms appear in Saratoga, lots can happen, none of it very good.

But I, and the NYRA, got lucky. But the association deserves credit for creating a Grade 1 double wager featuring the newly upgraded Fourstardave—thank you Wise Dan—and the storied Arlington Million.

The Million was the first international seven-figure turf event in the U.S. and instant classic—thank you John Henry.

It would have been very successful, judging by the wide open nature of both races, but then storm clouds appeared on the horizon.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (17)

Technology a Friend of Fans and Horses Alike

ELMONT, NY, August, 23, 2016 – Last year on the Fourth of July, I went to the new Yankee Stadium with my son.

I used to go to the old ball park in the Bronx as a kid with my grandfather, who had season tickets. Some years I'd go to as many as 20 games.

I haven't followed baseball in decades and would have never have thought to go if my daughter hadn't given me her tickets.

My kids grew up in the press box, on the backstretch, and backstage. Now that I'm the grandpa, it is nice to be granted access through my daughter.

I always got a feeling of excitement, a little extra pounding in my chest, when I saw the green expanse of the playing field at the old ballpark in the Bronx. It will will take some time before that vibe is present in the new ball park, if ever.

But the new stadium has an open indoor-outdoor feel, and the service at the facility is superb. Cool. The wait staff brought food to people in their seats--and they weren't special people in special boxes.

I found that this can happens when and if you download the Yankee Stadium app. You can order tickets for seats, pay for parking, make a dining reservation and more.

Well, the New York Racing Association just recently partnered with VenueNext, the company that helps put on the show at the new Yankee Stadium. I also learned that the NYRA had to deal under different circumstances.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (8)
A Horse Is a Horse, Of Course, But Fantasy Sports Isn’t Gambling?

ELMONT, NY, August 9, 2016 – If it looks like a pig, squeals like a pig and smells like a pig, it's a pig. Even if you dress it up in a Saratoga hat and put lipstick on it, it's still a pig.

The New York State legislators have changed the pig, by definition, and now call it a (cash) cow. And with the approval of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Daily Fantasy Sports will resume in this state in time for the lucrative NFL season.

The legislators of New York State decided if they call DFS a game of skill rather than a game of chance it could be legalized. In this way, New York's law is compliant with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which excludes fantasy sports that are a game of skill.

New York's new DFS law is the result of a successful court challenge by the state's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, who reached an agreement with DraftKings and FanDuel to shut down DFS wagering in March of this year.

New York's new description of Interactive fantasy sports contests now reads:

“A game of skill wherein one or more contestants compete against each other by using their knowledge and understanding of athletic events and athletes to select and manage rosters of simulated players whose performance directly corresponds with the actual performance of human competitors on sports teams and in sports events.”

In other words, gambling is still gambling, a game of chance no matter how one parses the language.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (10)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Personal Ensign (G1) Quotes

"Win and You're In Breeders' Cup Distaff Division"

Kiaran McLaughlin, winning trainer of Cavorting (No. 5): "She ran terrific. Javier [Castellano] got her back and the others went four-wide. He saved ground and I think that was the key to race. He [Javier] gets along great with this filly.…

Aug 28 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Funny Cide Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Syndergaard (No. 5): "We were optimistic coming in. The horse trained very well and ran well in his debut. We felt like Bobby On Fleek was very impressive in his debut, so it was going to be an interesting matchup. He's just got so much early speed that I think he kind…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes, Friday, August 26

Desormeaux: 'It will be fun' to prove G1 Travers favorite Exaggerator can dominate on a dry track
• Baffert: 'We came here with our best ones' for G1 Travers, G1 King's Bishop
• Creator, Gun Runner keeping low profile for G1 Travers
• Brown: My Man Sam is 'sitting on…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Fever knocks Majesto out of Grade 1 Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - An elevated temperature will force Grupo Seven C Racing Stable's Grade 1-placed Majesto to scratch from Saturday's 147th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers presented by NYRA Bets at Saratoga Race Course, according to the outfit's racing manager.


Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Chantal Sutherland Named to Ride in Sunday’s Added Elegance

Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Soars over $100,000
Huasca Set for Friday Feature off 11-Month Layoff

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jockey Chantal Sutherland is scheduled to make a return to Gulfstream Park Sunday to ride Grade 1 stakes-placed Kiss to Remember in the $75,000 Added Elegance…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes, Thursday, August 25

Baffert squad has arrived from California for Travers Day
• "There's only one Travers" for Asmussen's duo
• Delgado pleased with Majesto's progress heading into G1 Travers, hoping for good things from Grand Tito in G1 Sword Dancer
• With Travers nearing, Guillot (oh, and…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
New York Turf Writers Cup (G1 Steeplechase) Quotes

Gustav Dahl, winning jockey of Portrade (No. 5): "The idea was to have an easy pace. He likes to be on the front end and settles away once he can't hear pressure behind him. That's why he wears the hood as well; to dampen some of that noise. But here's there when you ask him. He jumps phenomenally and…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Mr Maybe leaves no doubt in John’s Call, gives Brown win No. 1,000

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Prohibitive favorite Mr Maybe came charging through the stretch and powered to a 2 ¼-length victory in Wednesday's $100,000 John's Call at Saratoga Race Course, giving meet-leading trainer Chad Brown his 1,000th career victory.

Patiently handled by Irad Ortiz, Jr.,…

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Flintshire looks to repeat in G1 Sword Dancer

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Juddmonte Farms' intrepid Flintshire will look to bolster his case as the top male turf horse in the U.S. as he heads a field of seven in the Grade 1, $1 million Longines Sword Dancer Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

A perfect 2-for-2 in 2016, Flintshire has established…

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Wavell Avenue headlines Grade 1 Ballerina on Travers Day undercard

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Reigning Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Wavell Avenue headlines a stellar cast of 10 set to contest the 38th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina on Saturday as she looks for her second straight graded stakes victory at Saratoga Race Course.


Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Cavorting gets two-turn test in Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Cavorting, undefeated in three graded stakes around one turn at Saratoga Race Course, seeks her first two-turn victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign.

The five-horse field features four Grade 1 winners, each with earnings in excess of $1 million.…

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Field for the 147th running of the Grade 1 $1.25 million Travers

Grade 1
Distance - 1 1/4 miles
Track and Stakes Record - General Assembly (1979) 2:00
Last year's winner - Keen Ice

Purse: $1.25 million
Winner: $670,000
Second: $230,000
Third: $125,000
Fourth: $ 85,000
Fifth: $ 50,000
Sixth: $ 35,000

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)