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.

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

In Cuomo NYRA Chess Match, a Checkmate Dead-Heat

ELMONT, NY, June 28, 2016 – Governor Andrew Cuomo played his cards face up before the game even started and when he did, everyone else folded their hand.

His first card, played in April, was a request that the New York Racing Association seal its own fate by including option three in its request for privatization.

Option three gave Cuomo another year to control the New York Racing Association and, when the state legislature adjourned last week, that's just what happened.

It’s fair to say that the legislature tried to return the franchise to NYRA, but Cuomo wouldn't have any of that. The one-year extension was contained in an omnibus bill passed at the very end of the session and signed into law on June 23.

Cuomo played his second card earlier this month when New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released an audit of NYRA, claiming that NYRA's figures didn't match up with the figures obtained using his own accounting methods.

NYRA quickly replied to defend their numbers, however, the underlying message from DiNapoli wasn't in those numbers; it was in the words. DiNapoli criticized NYRA for not having a long term plan.

HRI called for this in April when NYRA presented a plan to essentially reshuffle the chairs in the boardroom. There was no business plan, no financial projections, no statement of attainable goals, in effect, nothing. They're smart people, so why don't they get it?

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (34)
Belmont 148 Redux: Big Doings at Big Sandy

ELMONT, NY, June 14, 2016 - The New York Racing Association reported that attendance for Belmont Stakes Day was 60,114.

“And one rabbit,” tweeted Todd Pletcher.

It was gracious of Pletcher after the Steve Asmussen-trained Creator beat his horse, Destin, by a nose in the final jump of 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes. But what could he say other than that?

Of course, Pletcher also trains horses for Creator's owner, WinStar Farm, and they've run rabbits for him, too. And it was WinStar that provided the seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer with his first Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver.

Then turn-about is fair play, isn’t it: In the 2007 Belmont Stakes, Asmussen's Curlin was beaten a head by Pletcher's filly, Rags to Riches.

Asmussen, who will be inducted into The National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame this August in Saratoga Springs, put an exclamation point on that honor by saddling his first Belmont Stakes winner.

Ironically, strategically, the rabbit Gettysburg was moved from Pletcher’s barn to Asmussen's for a Belmont run to insure a more honest pace. It was certainly a circuitous way to get Creator into the winner's circle, a trip that brought celebrity chef Bobby Flay along for the ride.

The Food Network star and NYRA board member bought into the WinStar colt on Wednesday three days prior to the race to impress his new “friend.” Flay was on the other end of Creator's lead shank after the race; his friend had to be duly impressed.

However, this barn switch maneuver raises the question of optics, especially for casual fans. Was this the horse racing version of insider trading?

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (27)

Track operators are an endangered species

The grand old men of race track ownership are all being threatened by actuarial tables. Frank Stronach is 83. Richard Duchossois is 94. Charles Cella of Oaklawn is approaching his 80th birthday. Dr. Edward Allred, who renovated Los Alamitos into a thoroughbred track is 80. John Brunetti, who long has harbored dreams of restoring thoroughbred racing to Hialeah, is 85. Who is going to replace these men and maintain racing? This is a question racing must deal with.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)
News Was Not All Good on Belmont Weekend

California Horse Racing Board member Steve Beneto said, “To Hell with the bettors,” a couple of weeks ago. Golden Gate and its jockeys put this attitude into practice in a big way on Sunday.

The pity is, this happened at the tail end of the most glorious non-Breeders’ Cup weekend in memory, the Belmont Stakes Festival.

Instead of everyone feeling upbeat about the game, the latest screwing of the customers is the topic among those who follow and participate in racing most avidly.

You can only abuse people so long before they get disgusted and walk away. Indeed, there are already calls for a boycott of California racing as a result of this.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)

Unsolicited Opinions and a Possible Heads-Up

HALLANDALE BEACH, NJ, June 26, 2016—Two weeks ago we thought it a capital idea to ask a series of impertinent questions, which was the title of a Sunday column written by the late Harness Hall of Fame writer, Clyde Hirt.

Today we thought we clear the cache, ridding the inbox of items that have been stored there for about a week or so, including Saturday’s stakes race results.

And, so, as tribute to the late, great Jimmy Cannon, sports columnist for the Journal-American back in the day when New York City had--between morning, afternoon and evening editions--about a dozen newspapers.

This, then, is our version of his very popular “Nobody Asked Me But…” opinion piece.

Nobody asked me but Mo Tom would not have a won a classic even if he had enjoyed the same clear sailing he experienced yesterday in suburban North Randall, Ohio--but that would have been interesting to see.

Mo Tom made an awesome far turn-move to win as much the best over non-Grade 1 rivals. Actually, the Ohio Derby wouldn’t have been on any horseman’s radar were it not for the $500,000 purse…

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)
Of Three-Year-Olds, ‘Capping Tomes, and the Fastest Figure Ever?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., June 21, 2016—For lovers of the game, the events this past week, both from a sporting and betting perspective, were interesting and thought-provoking. To wit:

An interesting poll question from one of the aggregator sites asked readers to register their vote for opinions the performance of 2016 to date. The choices were among California Chrome’s Dubai World Cup, Frosted’s Metropolitan Handicap and Tepin’s historical Queen Anne performance at Royal Ascot.

The results were as interesting as the poll question. While the victory of Tepin was a bit nuanced given turf and overall visual impression—a victory showing extremely high class while under brilliant handling from Julien Leparoux--figured to finish in the show spot.

She did, but was well supported by all 29% of all respondents. Of greater interest, as of 3:38 pm Monday, California Chrome and Frosted locked in a statistical dead-heat.

‘Chrome’ checked in with a 35.25% share for his dominating victory at 1-1/4 miles over a top-class international field that included Frosted, whose Met Mile’s electric, visually stunning performance gained a slightly larger share at 35.93% of total voters.

But if performance figures were used as a measure, the results probably wouldn’t have been that close. According to Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph, Frosted’s Met Mile earned a figure of negative 8-½, the largest of all-time on the TG scale.

So, who did Frosted supersede?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (7)

Belmont Park Late Pick 4 All-Entrants Analysis

Underwritten by Promotional Arrangement with

Listed by Program Number with Morning Line Odds



1-Yowl (5-1), troubled in last, is bred bottom side of pedigree for added ground, has been highly competitive at this level in last two starts, loses Ortiz but picks up Lezcano. Dynamics suit well.
2-Freifan (8-1), first-time reported gelding, is not especially fast on the Pricci Energy Scale, failed in lone start at this trip and lacks true route pedigree on both sides.
3-Lotta Gold (20-1) jumped up in first start on turf going 1-1/16 miles June 4 on this course, has route pedigree dam’s side, Tagg effective with recent maiden graduates and L Saez takes return call.
4-Verger (3-1) gets Rosario, 6-for-18 recently for Cannizzo, has not earned competitive PERs since winning turf debut at Spa last year and barn only 8% with new acquisitions, underlay on early line.
5-Tizacinch (15-1) has PERs that have been improving incrementally, coming into his own as gelded 5YO. Loses Saez to Lotta Gold but picks up hot-riding Alvarado and dam’s three winners all won on grass. Looms live price shot.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (1)

Analysis Via Promotional Arrangement with


1-Fired Up Sensation (3-1) owns highly competitive Pricci Energy Ratings, drops into maiden claimer for first time (Clement 29%, profitable) with switch to Leading rider Ortiz and first-Lasix (28%, profitable. Obvious strong contender.
2-Truly Bound (12-1) drops into claimer first time for Tony Dutrow (24%, profitable). Outrun lone turf start and one of dam’s two winners have won on grass. Switches to Irad.
3-Tiz Twice (5-2) showed marked improvement with early speed when dropped to this level and stretched to route last out. Bred for distance both sides, dam’s five winners include three on turf, and Alvarado on the re-ride. Sharp blowout, very solid contender.
4-Say Cin Cin (12-1) drops into claimer for first time since November 2015and raced competitively despite rough trip in lone grass try; switch to Luis Saez
5-French Dressing (15-1) placed twice in four turf starts, two on this course; last raced in claimer October 2015; goes first-time for Gyarmati (20%, profitable) and gets switch to Lezcano; viable price shot on early line.
6-Mo’s Ginny (6-1) was a good second in lone start under similar conditions at two now returns to that level in a LAY-2 situation for Albertrani, profitable when dropping in with maiden claimers; switch to Javier augurs well.
7-Charlotte’s Hope (30-1), the other Albertrani, makes second with serviceable pedigree and takes confident class rise after being non-threat in turf/racing debut; interesting.
8-More Than a Legend (8-1) drops into maiden claimer for first time but deep closer compromised with late run style and wide draw. Nevertheless, Kimmel 25% profitable on this type of drop.
9-Laquesta (4-1) had wide trip from wide post going 6F now drops into maiden claimer for the first time getting second Lasix (Ribaudo profitable) with distance pedigree on top side; obvious solid contender must overcome wide post.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Gulfstream Ready for Saturday’s Star-Filled Summit of Speed

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The late racing secretary Bobby Umphrey was once asked what his reaction was in the late 1990s when Calder management told him they wanted to run an afternoon of sprint stakes in the middle of the summer worth more than $1 million.

"I thought they had three heads,"…

Jun 28 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)


Bob Baffert, who…

Jun 23 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Rainbow 6 Carryover Stands at $61,172 for Friday’s Card

Lirica Registers Impressive Juvenile Maiden Score

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot rose to $61,172.60 for Friday’s nine-race program at Gulfstream Park when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 10th consecutive racing day Thursday

Jun 23 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 6/23

• Multiple G2 winner Mohaymen returns to worktab Thursday
• Swipe back in action in Sunday allowance; Exaggerator 'back on the muscle'
• Donk enjoying good run
• Fields set for pair of Sunday's NYSS races

ELMONT, N.Y. - Shadwell Stable's multiple Grade 2 winner…

Jun 23 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
$1.125 Million Summit of Speed Card Draws 139 noms

G2 Princess Rooney, G2 Smile ‘Win & You’re In’ Stakes
G3 Carry Back Also Set for July 2 Nine-Stakes Program

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – A total of 139 nominations were received for the nine stakes slated for the $1.125 million Summit of Speed card July 2 at Gulfstream Park, highlighted…

Jun 22 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Stakes Recap & Quotes: Grade II, $200,000 Wise Dan


(Saturday, June 18, 2016) – Nelson McMakin’s Pleuven (FR) tracked pacesetter Kasaqui (ARG), drew even with that rival with an eighth of mile to run and inched clear late to post a three-quarter…

Jun 19 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)


ARCADIA, Calif. (June 18, 2016)—How good is she? Although that question wasn’t answered completely, it would appear the sky continues to be the limit for superstar filly Songbird…

Jun 19 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Trio of Carryovers Saturday at Gulfstream

Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - There will be three carryovers when racing resumes Saturday at Gulfstream Park with a 1:15 p.m. first race post.

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a carryover of $28,072.30 after there was no single, unique ticket Friday.…

Jun 18 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Gleaves Sends Out Two in Saturday’s $75,000 Forty Niner

Casse, Maker & Zerpa Enter for Turf Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – It would seem fitting if Phil Gleaves saddled the winner of Saturday’s $75,000 Forty Niner Stakes at Gulfstream Park. After all, the race is named after the 1988 Fountain of Youth (G1) and Travers (G1) winner trained by…

Jun 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Frosted sizzles in dominant win in the G1 Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap

ELMONT, N.Y. - Frosted, the runner-up to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes one year ago, returned to Belmont Park Saturday with a triumphant performance to capture the 123rd edition of the Grade 1, $1.25 Million Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap with absolute authority.

Jun 12 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
The 148th Belmont Stakes (G1) Quotes

Steve Asmussen, winning trainer of Creator (No. 13): "It's the best feeling right now. The great thing about racing; you can have a bad day, a bad week, a bad month. They don't put you behind the gates, they line you up even and give you a chance to prove yourself. Obviously want to say thanks for the…

Jun 12 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, | Comments (0)
Woodford Reserve Manhattan (G1) Quotes

Chad Brown, winning trainer of Flintshire (No. 10):
"He ran to his works. Like I said all month, he was sent to me in outstanding condition. We're just trying to get him into our program, make sure he adapts okay and he doesn't change for the worse, which he hasn't."

"He showed the…

Jun 12 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)