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

Triple Crown Change? Time for Horsemen to Walk The Talk

Horses are not machines! Write that on the blackboard 500 times—and write it across, not down. This assignment should be at least as hard as, say, winning the Triple Crown. I jest, of course, but it’s kidding on the square.

With 2017 Kentucky Derby horses ducking this year’s Preakness and Belmont Stakes left and right for various reasons, and with the only horse that raced in all three legs finishing progressively worse over the series, cries for lengthening the sequence have resurfaced.

Let’s get this out of the way now: Yes, American Pharoah was special enough to end the most recent draught and, yes, it takes a special horse to do it, and continuing the Triple Crown’s five-week span honors the legacy of those dozen Triple Crown winners.

The problem is that most of horse racing’s prime demographic does not have another 37 years to wait for the next one. And for those who lament the lack of interest in horse racing in the modern mainstream, it’s an opportunity lost to possibly creating new fans.

I am as old-school and as traditional as the next septuagenarian but the idea that lengthening the series weakens it is simply untrue.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (24)
Hey Dad, Have You Ever Taken Your Kid to the Races?

In the 50s, 60s and 70s, when horses still had a presence in everyday life, there was a lot more advertising about bringing dad out to the track on Father’s Day. But that’s not really the case anymore.

Back in the day, dads and uncles took their sons and nephews to the track on a Saturday, providing a fascinating wide-eyed introduction to the spectacle of Thoroughbred racing.

This, of course, was prologue. Betting off-track did not exist, neither did simulcasting, the Internet, or even cable TV as we know it today. In the minds of youngsters, the racetrack was an exciting wide-eyed spectacle of sights, sounds and colors, and it still can be.

But the advertising we see today is left to in-house invitations via a closed simulcasting loop because racing coverage, right down to entries-and-results agate, no longer exists in mainstream media, special big events notwithstanding.

Ergo, it doesn’t make sense for local racetracks to market en masse because sports fans in the main are unaware of the sport beyond the Triple Crown and in places outside of Saratoga, Del Mar and Lexington. Consequently, young people never get the message.

Racing’s omni-presence went out with high-button shoes. And what’s left to promote is no less controversial. Are we selling a grand, colorful, upscale entertainment experience, or a gambling game played with expensive animals?

New fans can be created only by their live introduction to racing’s grand spectacle. If it is meant to be, it will happen only after seeing horse racing’s unique blend of color, excitement and chance.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (21)

They’re back! Cries for longer Triple Crown gaps arise again

The conventional thinking was that American Pharoah's Triple Crown would silence those who argue for longer gaps between the three races. Not so. Some respected voices in the sport are already resuscitating their contentions that three races in five weeks is not reflective of contemporary racing. All it would take is an approval from NYRA, which moved the Met Mile off Memorial Day, to set the change into motion.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (8)
Gun Runner romp reinforces greatness of Arrogate


Gun Runner re-establshed himself as the best dirt horse other than Arrogate with his business-like domination of the Stephen Foster. It only re-emphasized the gap between Arrogate and the rest of the planet.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (18)

Cheery Bye to Royal Ascot’s Jolly Good Show

It was just past 8:30 a.m. Sunday when I clicked on the keyboard and turned on the NBC Sports Network only to find that Royal Ascot race meet from Berkshire, which I now know is in the English countryside 26 miles west of London, is no more until June, 2018.

For the previous five days, it was, as the saying goes, as much fun as you can have with your clothes on even without America-style past performances and lacking the time to study video--where and if you could find it—but I did come up with a decent attack plan.

Start with high-profile, pointing connections, say the lads of Ballydoyle vs. the Royal Blue of Godolphin--Aidan O’Brien vs. Charlie Appleby et al—scan blue-blooded pedigrees, and horses with an affinity for the course and distance. and proper spacing.

The proper-spacing angle of the handicapping equation was more complex however as the Euros tend to run their horses back more quickly than trainers in the New World. In that case, we looked for a break between the last and penultimate races, etc., etc.

Loyal to Xpressbet who have been loyal to us since HRI’s inception in 2007, I decided my mode of play would be exactas since the ADW was offering a special promotion—winning Ascot exactas at 0% takeout. I wondered how that was possible so I read further.

I didn’t understand the 33% bonus on winning exacta plays minus the 25% takeout-- which we assumed was the track’s cut plus signal fees, et al. Common sense dictates this was the equivalent of an 8% ‘rebate’ but then math never was my best game.

However, I was willing to find out how it would shake out in four days, the first time any bonuses would be paid. Either way, a bunch of three- or four- or five-horse boxes at a $1 minimum was affordable and would keep me in the game starting Tuesday morning.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
HRI STAFF SELECTIONS, BELMONT 149

TOM JICHA

1—Senior Investor: Will be running late, not sure others will be
2--Irish War Cry: The remaining class but a short price
3—Multiplier: Another who should like distance
4—Gormley: The best of those near the lead.

MARK BERNER



Written by John Pricci | Comments (5)

Vet Record Transparency Needed Every Race Day

It was three days before the Belmont Stakes and the New York Racing Association took its show on the road, traveling 15 miles west through horrendous city traffic to Rockefeller Plaza for the post-position draw ceremonies for the Belmont Stakes, Manhattan and the Met Mile.

At the same time, the New York State Gaming Commission was releasing the veterinary reports for the horses running in those three prestigious stakes.

At the draw, Epicharis, the highly regarded and highly courted colt from Japan due to defections and the Belmont week reoccurrence of Classic Empire’s celebrated foot issues, drew post 11 for the Belmont Stakes. Less than 24 hours earlier, he was found to be lame in his right foreleg by Dr. Delott, his Belmont Park veterinarian.

Epicharis was administered a shot of Bute (phenylbutazone) intravenously the morning of the draw, would be reexamined two days later but eventually had to be scratched by Belmont’s stewards Saturday morning after his re-examination. In that case, the system worked.

But also noted in the June 7 vet report was that Gormley had received five liters of fluids having suffered mild dehydration after shipping from California to New York, and Senior Investment had acupuncture treatment and vitamin B-12 to treat muscle spasms. These are not serious issues and can be treated easily and legally, which they were.

However, a complete vet report dated June 8 for Belmont Stakes day starters included many runners with indications that inflammation was present. Twisted Tom had some, and was treated with Banamine. He also received a gastric ulcer preventative.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (15)
When It Comes to Drug Enforcement, Politics Prevail

Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, told horseracing regulators at the recent 2017 ARCI Conference on Integrity and Equine Welfare that the United States Anti-Doping Agency should bid on future drug-testing contracts.

In other words, if the Thoroughbred industry wants to get serious about getting a trusted, outside agency to monitor the use of medication, legal and otherwise, and to what extent violations exist, that agency--in this case the USADA--must pay for the privilege?

In many of the 38 states where parimutuel wagering on horses is sanctioned, the answer to testing has been to opt for the lowest cost. In the majority of cases, the industry has gotten what it paid for.

But is this the approach racing really wants to take, hire testing labs based on the lowest-cost bids? If the industry insists on that, how seriously can we believe their goal is a truly level playing field for all?

Not only do the leaders of ARCI and racing commissions throughout the US permit drug use, the penalties it enacts against violators often are far too lenient. Unless, of course, it has political points to score or agendas to fill.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (17)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Florida Sire Stakes Prospect Florida Fuego Debuts Impressively

Three Rules, Delta Bluesman, Dearest Tune Up for Summit of Speed
Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner Gunnevera Breezes Half-Mile
Sunday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Grow to $47,502

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – e Five Racing’s Florida Fuego stamped herself as a hot prospect for…


Jun 25 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Phlash Phelps Flashes Championship Form in $75,000 Mister Diz

26-Time Stakes Winner Ben’s Cat Fades to Ninth in Six-Furlong Turf Sprint
Daylight Ahead Determined Winner of $75,000 Jameela
World-Class Turf Course Serves Up Six Stakes Worth $450,000

LAUREL, MD – Hillwood Stables’ Phlash Phelps, a two-time Maryland-bred…


Jun 25 | Categories: Laurel, |
Sunday’s Super Hi 5 Carryover $82,000

Saturday’s Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Returns $26,000

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – A victory by longshot Mystic Sky in Saturday’s $100,000 Soldier’s Dancer at Gulfstream Park triggered a Super Hi 5 carryover Sunday of $82,263.53 and a 20-cent Rainbow 6 payout of $26,761.18.

Jun 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Friday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $951,476

Mandatory Rainbow 6 Payout Scheduled for Saturday
Gaffalione Continues on a Roll with Three More Winners

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved at Gulfstream Park Thursday, producing a carryover jackpot of $951,476.94 for Friday’s nine-race program.…


Jun 16 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Churchill Downs Barn Notes:  Thu 6/15

GEROUX CONFIDENT PRIOR TO RIDING GUN RUNNER
IN SATURDAY’S JAM-PACKED STEPHEN FOSTER ‘CAP PROGRAM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, June 15, 2017)
– Jockey Florent Geroux has won more than 1,100 races in his career, including three victories in the Breeders’ Cup, but Saturday’s…


Jun 16 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $898,218

Earth Provides Orb with First Winner as Stallion

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Thursday’s Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot swelled to $898,218.44 when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 32nd consecutive program at Gulfstream Park Sunday.

Multiple tickets…


Jun 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Sunday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Rises to $640,989

Miguel Vasquez Celebrates Big Day with Three Wins

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot for Sunday’s program at Gulfstream Park swelled to $640,989.57 when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 26th consecutive card Saturday.



Jun 3 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Saturday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $593,898

First-Race Post Time 12:55 P.M. for 12-Race Program
Gaffalione Continues Hot Hand with Three More Winners
Concealedwithakiss Back on Track in Ana T. Handicap

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot rose to $593,898.06 for Saturday’s program…


Jun 2 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
STABLE NOTES BY ED GOLDEN - FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2017

• · TO THE VICTOR GOES THE STRATEGY IN THE BEHOLDER
• · BAL A BALI AND SMITH READY FOR GRADE I SHOEMAKER
• · JOCKEY DAVID FLORES RETURNS HOME TO SANTA ANITA

STELLAR WIND PRIMED, TACTICS UP TO ESPINOZA

The countdown is on in earnest for Saturday’s…


Jun 2 | Categories: Santa Anita, |
Friday Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Swells to $556,054

First-Race Post Set for 2:15 P.M. for First Twilight Card
Red-Hot Tyler Gaffalione Notches Four-Win Day

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 24rd consecutive program at Gulfstream Park Thursday, leaving a carryover jackpot of $556,054 for…


Jun 2 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
GRADE I, $500,000 GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA

COMEBACK CUPID MUCH BEST IN GRADE I, $500,000 GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA; BAFFERT & BEJARANO TEAM FOR 3 ¼ LENGTH WIN AS TAPIT COLT GETS 1 ¼ MILES IN RAPID 2:00.89

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 27, 2017)—
Idle since Sept. 24, Bob Baffert’s Cupid was plenty fit Saturday as he rolled to a convincing…


May 28 | Categories: Santa Anita, |
GRADE I, $300,000 GAMELY STAKES

CLASSY LADY ELI HOLDS OFF GOODYEARFORROSES TO WIN GRADE I, $300,000 GAMELY STAKES BY A HALF LENGTH UNDER ORTIZ, JR.; TRAINED BY BROWN, SHE GETS 1 1/8 MILES ON TURF IN 1:45.29

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 27, 2017)—
A tracking second throughout, classy Lady Eli overhauled pacesetter Avenge…


May 28 | Categories: Santa Anita, |