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

Tough Issues, Tough Solutions, Tougher Process Will Follow

By John Pricci with Mark Berner

EDITORS NOTE: Whether racing’s stakeholders know it or not, all of us tethered to Thoroughbreds owe The Stronach Group a debt of gratitude.

In the final analysis, the organization, knowing that it would shake up an entire industry and incur the wrath from status quo supporters, stepped up and not only did “the right thing by the horse” but took a significant approach toward insuring the sport’s future.

HorseRaceInsider speaks for its staff when it says thank you for giving us a reason to feel proud of our way of life, coming to the sport’s defense without the equivocation this industry is famous for. Thank you for helping us to weather storms that are sure to come.

We are horse lovers and horse players. We love the game and TSG’s actions mean we no longer need to apologize to the people who don’t get it about Thoroughbred racing and likely never will. And that’s OK. Americans are free to choose but it’s in our DNA to be aspirational.

We should be big enough to admit that erring on the side of expediency and the bottom line was shortsighted and wrong-headed. Mark Berner and I wrote a phrase last week that was included in Belinda Stronach’s open letter, and in a recent tweet by the respected Graham Motion:

Participation in this sport is a privilege, not a right.

And, so, with that privilege comes obligation and respect for the sport’s past, present and future. United by the love of these magnificent equine athletes, all, journalists included, must try to live up to the ideals that participation in any sport is purported to be about in the first place.



| Comments (4)

Improbable Defeat of Baffert’s Stars Scrambles Derby Picture

It started out good like it was going to be a good day the home team when Midnight Bisou out-darted Elate to the finish of the Grade 2 Azeri and when leading trainer Steve Asmussen came right back to upset the second ranked three year old in the country in Rebel 1.

In Rebel 2, however, the SoCal speedsters showed their brilliance from and ran away from eight rivals, finishing within a nose of each other at the post. The winning margin was thisclose.

The exacta finishers in two divisions of the Grade 2 mile and a sixteenth ran well enough to be numbered among the HRI Derby Power 10, Week 4 edition.

Given the results, three questions quickly came to mind:

1) What price could you have gotten that Bob Baffert, trainer of the two top rated Kentucky Derby prospects throughout 2019, would lose both races?

2) What is a voter supposed to do had the Rebel 2 photo gone Game Winner’s way instead of Omaha Beach’s? Or even a dead heat? Does the division’s defending champion deserve to lose the top spot?

3) And just who is the leading 2019 Kentucky Derby candidate now?


Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)
Derby Power 10 Week 3 Results: Attendees vs Absentees

By John Pricci

HALLANDALE BEACH—Not having the San Felipe Stakes results to ponder in Week 3 of HRI’s Derby Power 10 for 2019 is just wrong on so many levels. Let’s just say for the moment that the sport needs the Santa Anita horse population alive and well, and leave it at that.

Absent that stepping stone to the Santa Anita Derby and beyond, the remaining three Kentucky Derby preps on Saturday likely will have little effect on anyone’s list of leading three-year-olds.

The unbeaten Bafferts remain unblemished as each still continues his preparations for belated seasonal debuts.

Following workouts this morning, the connections of Game Winner and Improbable will decide what’s next, Saturday’s potentially split Rebel Stakes being the logical stop for either or both.

Whatever the decisions, these colts need to get started right now.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (13)

Oaklawn rewarded with the races it deserves

Oaklawn Park is the model of how a race track should be run, for the horsemen and the fans. Its latest move for the good of racing came when Santa Anita's closing put the SoCal Derby hopefuls in a bind. Oaklawn stepped to the fore, announced it would split the Rebel and throw another $500,000 into the already $1 million purse to ensure Derby qualifying points remained high. The Hot Springs track and its fans have been rewarded with the two ranking Derby prospects, Game Winner and Improbable, along with four other highly touted California aspirants.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (20)
Santa Anita breakdowns put future of racing in jeopardy

By Tom Jicha

The deaths of 21 horses in racing and training at Santa Anita have brought the scrutiny of the nation down on racing. The ripple effect of the suspension of racing has thrown Triple Crown preparations into chaos nationwide. Santa Anita officials are taking the right steps but so far there is no solution. Unfortunately, there appears to be no appetite to connect the dots between the breakdowns and horses racing on drugs. Perhaps it takes a crisis as daunting as the one at Santa Anita for the powers-that-be in racing to examine what horses racing on drugs is doing to the game. If the Jockey Club and race tracks don't act, others not friendly to racing will.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (22)

Raceday Medication Banned in California Following 22nd Fatality

An Open Letter to the Racing Industry

By Belinda Stronach

What has happened at Santa Anita over the last few weeks is beyond heartbreaking. It is unacceptable to the public and, as people who deeply love horses, to everyone at The Stronach Group and Santa Anita.

The sport of horse racing is the last great sporting legacy platform to be modernized. If we expect our sport to grow for future generations, we must raise our standards.

Today, I'm announcing The Stronach Group will take the unprecedented step of declaring a zero tolerance for race day medication at Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. These Thoroughbred racetracks will be the first in North America to follow the strict International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) standards.

We have arrived at a watershed moment. The Stronach Group has long been a strong advocate for the abolishment of race-day medication, but we will wait no longer for the industry to come together as one to institute these changes. Nor will we wait for the legislation required to undertake this paradigm shift. We are taking a stand and fully recognize just how disruptive this might be.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (1)
Sport, Centeno. Escape Possible Scandal, Injury at Tampa Bay Downs

By John Pricci

When it comes to horse racing, Twitter is the social media of choice. It’s fast, informative and engaging, everything you want to stay connected to your vocation or avocation of choice.

Too often, however, issues arise too quickly, the message is under-informed and engagement quickly goes off the rails. And given that human nature is what it is, c’mon, who doesn’t love a good “fix” yarn every now and then?

That was the case on a rainy Wednesday in Oldsmar Tampa where Daniel Centeno, perennially 1-2 in the jockey standings every year, jumped off 11-10 favorite R Baby Driver with victory assured several jumps before the finish post.

From the pan shot, it was impossible to immediately say what happened. It could have been interpreted that either R Baby Driver swerved and Centeno performed an unintended flying dismount or something sinister had just happened.

In the moment, this too was my reaction.



Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
NYRA announces resignation of CEO & President Chris Kay

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) Board of Directors today announced that it has accepted the resignation of NYRA CEO & President Chris Kay, effectively immediately.

To ensure continuity of operations, David O'Rourke, NYRA's Senior Vice President and…


Jan 23 | Categories: Aqueduct, |
Clasico Internacional del Caribe at Gulfstream Park

Clasico to be Broadcast on ESPN Deportes, GulfstreamPark.com

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe at Gulfstream Park, a five-race, $600,000 program featuring the best Thoroughbreds from Latin America and the Caribbean, will be broadcast in…


Dec 6 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association

FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association announce most expansive tv programming agreement in horse racing history

FOX Sports to be primary national carrier of NYRA racing beginning in 2019


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA)…


Nov 29 | Categories: Aqueduct, |
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., |
THREE SUPPLEMENT TO BREEDERS CROWN

$6 MILLION BREEDERS CROWN EVENTS AT DOWNS AT MOHEGAN SUN POCONO


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

HALLANDALE…


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, |