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'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

When It Comes to Championships, Less Is Not More

The most successful trainers on the planet entertain and marvel us with their horsemanship every day. We all know who they are. But based on Europe’s Cartier Awards, John Gosden might have proven he’s the best of them all.

If there were an Elias Sports Bureau for horseracing—all the comprehensive data easily accessible statistical compilations as in baseball—I could say this with certitude. But since I can’t, I’ll live with this claim until proven wrong:

As modern day Thoroughbred racing awards are presently constructed, no horseman ever has trained five champions in a single year, much less one that includes a Horse of the Year.

But that’s exactly what John Gosden has done this year, topping himself when he became the first trainer to have three championship titlists in 2014.

You need not be a Euro Nerd to celebrate Gosden’s success. The Oxford grad has won over 100 Group 1 races on four continents, including this season’s European Horse of the Year, Roaring Lion.

Many horseplayers in Southern California will remember when he took out a trainer’s license. It was in 1979 after he apprenticed in the U.S. with trainer Tommy Doyle, post-graduate work after learning his craft from Vincent O’Brien, the legendary “Wizard of Tipperary.”

Gosden’s first “big horse” won the Santa Anita Handicap four years after striking out on his own. That’s back in the day when it truly was the “Big ‘Cap.” Over 85,000 saw Bates Motel win the 1983 renewal. He was Gosden’s first champion.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)
To Whip and Not to Whip, These Are the Questions

Despite a formful, championship-crowning, and dramatic-finish excitement of last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup, it wasn’t the greatest week for the rest of the racing world, practically or optically.

On the same day Christophe Soumillon was beating on Thunder Snow with a Gatling-style machine gun right handed whip, Turffontein Race Course in South Africa conducted its first in a series of crop-free racing.

Lamentably, the National Horseracing Authority of South Africa said the next one is a couple of months down the road. Under consideration is whether jockeys will be allowed to carry whips and not use them, or not be permitted to carry them at all.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (10)

Monomoy Girl still has something big to prove

Monomoy Girl established at the Breeders' Cup that she is in a class of her own. But it's a small class. Before true greatness can be attached to her, she has to do something all-timers such as Rachel Alexandra, Personal Ensign and Zenyatta did--take on and beat the boys. She had opportunities during her 3-year-old season but passed. Now her connections have taken her out of consideration for the Pegasus, a race they had said was appealing to them. She reportedly won't be back until spring--in a stakes restricted to her own gender. Sooner or later--preferably sooner--she must step out of her comfort zone if she wants to be considered a great horse, not just a great filly.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)
Gulfstream’s coincidental Eclipse draught will endure

Gulfstream stages some of the finest racing in the nation. Bulletin's BC triumph is the latest sign that the summer program is catching up to the prime winter meet. Yet in a strange coincidence, this will be the fourth straight year in which none of the Eclipse champions will have raced at Gulfstream during their championship campaign. Speaking of the BC, the latest addition, head-to-head matchups with bargain takeouts, is a welcome development with an important caveat. Bettors had to wager on the blind because the odds were never displayed. Unacceptable. Finally, Florida is the latest state to vote greyhound racing out of existence. The do-gooders pushing the vote have not thought about what will happen to the thousands of dogs who will no longer be useful.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)

Making the Case for Consistency

Last week, the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation [TIF] issued a 24-page report: “Changing the Rules: Clarity and consistency in the adjudication of North American racing is possible with a shift [in] philosophy.”

Arguments on both sides of the disqualification issue come down to what the standard that guides American stewards in their process should be:

Should the order of finish change only when it costs the impeded runner a better placing or is a clear foul a foul wherever it occurs, “incidents at the start” notwithstanding?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)
Breeders’ Cup Day 2: Bringing Out the Best in Man and Beast

A terrific prelude to Breeders’ Cup Saturday, the return of Florida Derby winner and Kentucky Derby show finisher Audible in the seven furlong Cherokee Run Stakes, and what a comeback performance it was.

In an effort that was largely anti-profile all weekend, Audible came from far back with a wide sweep and never stopped, finishing determinedly under the wire over a group that included several graded stakes winners.

From here it will be the one mile, one turn Harlan’s Holiday in mid-December, his South Florida return for his major winter goal, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational on the final Saturday in January.

Would love it if City of Light’s people decide to take a shot. The impressive Dirt Mile winner was the only horses to defeat Accelerate rounding two turns this year and his speedy style would play very well in Hallandale Beach. But first things first...

Written by John Pricci | Comments (26)

The Cost of Technology or Lack Thereof

Once our data rich sport had a monopoly on legal betting but now sports betting is legal and is in direct competition with horse racing. The industry has a challenge on its hands: Call it the technological divide.

Horseracing is behind the curve because for years its leaders feared attaching any electronic device to a horse. That unrealistic fear has now abated, replaced by concerns that sports betting will take wagering dollars away from racing for distribution to other sports.

Horseracing lags behind the major sports leagues in the fields of data, tracking and analytics. Equibase, the data collection and dissemination arm of The Jockey Club that previously subsidized the installation of Trakus at North American racetracks is now working on a second generation tracking system to replace it.

Consider, however, that Trakus, a first generation tracking technology, was castoff long ago by the National Hockey League.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (35)
Racing on Television Needs a New Perspective

When viewing races on television, the New York Racing Association is the industry leader in terms of production and forward thinking technologies.

Indeed, the NYRA produces more racing programming nationally than the rest of the industry combined. It also leads in streaming its races via NYRANow, NYRABets and on its website,

Despite NYRA’s lead in this area, no one representing them gave a presentation at the 66th annual Jockey Club Round Table during the recently concluded race meet.

The McKinsey report, commissioned by The Jockey Club, was the focal point of the Round Table. McKinsey & Company is a global business management consultant specializing in the business of sports.

And when that report was presented, the stewards of the sport only heard words that applied to one medium: Television. And not only did they fail to get input from an organization does it best but apparently is only learning that television in its present state is not the answer going forward.

Jockey Club Chairman Stuart Janney was quick to pick up on the fact that only 24 racetracks supply a high definition signal to TVG--but McKinsey did not state that TVG is mostly carried on standard definition cable channels.

The demographics that racing covets does not watch conventionally broadcast TV. They sometimes watch on a TV, but not the major networks. The closest they get to that is ESPN, which broadcasts the X-Games but once upon a time did actually show horseracing.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (40)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Retiring Takter readies for final Breeders Crown

October 24, 2018, Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
For the Breeders Crown

As soon-to-be-retired trainer Jimmy Takter prepares for his final Breeders Crown appearance Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, he is focused on his horses in the hopes of adding…

Oct 24 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Post positions drawn for Breeders Crown Open Pace, Open Trot

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager
For the Breeders Crown

McWicked, harness racing’s richest horse this year, drew post No. 3 for Saturday’s $430,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace and was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite while…

Oct 24 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Eleven former Breeders Crown champions in Saturday eliminations

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - from the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown

Cranbury, NJ
--- Been there, done that. It could be the slogan for Saturday’s (Oct. 20) Breeders Crown eliminations for 3-year-olds and older horses at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.

Eleven former…

Oct 19 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |


Cranbury, NJ --- With many divisions still in flux as to year-end honors, the connections of three of the top pacers in their respective groups each supplemented to their Breeder Crown event.

The Breeders…

Oct 15 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Breeders Crown eliminations for all 2-year-old divisions

Cranbury, NJ --- Warrawee Ubeaut, a filly who earlier this month became the fastest 2-year-old pacer in harness racing history, and divisional money-leaders Stag Party, The Ice Dutchess, Green Manalishi S, and Tall Drink Hanover were among the 71 freshmen entered Monday for the Breeders Crown…

Oct 15 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Mandatory 20-cent Rainbow 6 Payout Set for Saturday

Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Swells to $898,654
Mandatory Payouts Also Set for Late Pick 5, Last Super Hi-5
Princess Rooney (G2), Smile (G3) Top Summit of Speed Card

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s Summit of Speed program, headlined by the $250,000 Princess…

Jun 30 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Curlin’s Approval, X Y Jet Top June 30 Summit of Speed Nominations

Curlin’s Approval to Defend Title in $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2)
Alter Homebred among 23 Noms for ‘Win and You’re In’ Event
X Y Jet Tops List of 16 Noms for $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3)
Multiple Grade 1-Placed Gelding Seeks 6th Straight at Gulfstream


Jun 20 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Madame Uno Seeks Rebound in Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Punch

Jockey, Trainer, Owner Races Heats Up

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Her three-race win streak halted abruptly last time out, Madame Uno will seek to rebound in Saturday’s $100,000 Ginger Punch at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old daughter of First Dude is scheduled…

Jun 14 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Justify vs. nine in Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes

It's Triple Crown hopeful Justify vs. nine in Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner draws post 1, is 4-5 to win Saturday's "Test of the Champion"

By Jenny Kellner

ELMONT, N. Y. - Can he do…

Jun 6 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, |
Agreement Represents Giant Step Forward in Florida Racing

Florida Sire Stakes Highlights Innovative $2.5 Million Deal

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – P.J. Campo calls the recently-signed agreement between Gulfstream Park, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA) and Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective…

Dec 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Watershed looking to end year on high note in Queens County

Green Gratto faces talented field in $100,000 Gravesend

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Godolphin Racing's Watershed will headline a competitive field of nine in the $125,000 Queens County for 3-year-olds and up, one of two stakes races on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack alongside the $100,000…

Dec 22 | Categories: Aqueduct, |


Citing the widespread use of drugs on yearlings and two years olds that may result in improper bone development and the recent use of horse auctions to launder money for the…

Dec 14 | Categories: Horse Racing, |