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.


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.


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

Talented from Day One, Holy Bull Winner Is No Upstart

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 25, 2015—It was a state-bred maiden race at Saratoga; didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary on paper. But when the betting opened it became apparent that a dark bay named Upstart might be OK.

Ante post, he was the 3-2 choice over six rivals and he made that quote look generous, indeed. All he wanted to do was run, run, run, but Jose Ortiz didn’t want him to move yet.

On the turn, the $130,000 Saratoga yearling still wanted to go—“traffic, hard held,” the chart footnote reads--but with the straight in sight, Ortiz let out a notch of rein and Upstart did the rest.

It was an impressive enough score, which is nothing unusual for Saratoga, but what happened after Upstart reached the wire 5-1/4 lengths in front of Tizquick was.

The ridgling galloped out, slowed to a canter, then to a walk on the backstretch. But instead of turning around and galloping back toward the winners’ circle, Ortiz walked him slowly over to the inside portion of the track, stopped, and gave him a feel for the rail.

I only remember seeing this maneuver before steeplechase events; the riders giving their mounts a “feel for the hedge/fence,” some familiarity with the obstacle the horse will be asked to traverse.

What jumped to mind in this case is that the outfit must really like this youngster. Finally, Ortiz galloped him back slowly but trainer Rick Violette couldn’t wait, running out to the middle of Saratoga Race Course to greet horse and rider. High fives ensued.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)
Kentucky Derby Prep Season: Game On

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 21, 2015—Are you ready for some prep ball?

Finally, things are beginning to heat up as the Road to Kentucky Derby takes its first serious step Saturday when Gulfstream Park renews the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at 1-1/16 miles.

But before taking a look ahead, there already has been some interesting action in racing’s glamour division and a few recent participants might turn out to be players in Louisville.

Whether they’re elite players or not will shake out in the days and weeks ahead. Thus far, it’s been a promising start.

Two weeks ago Calculator earned an impressive maiden score at the expense of some classy runners in Santa Anita’s Grade 3 Sham Stakes, ridden and performing as though he were much the best.

Ground loss didn’t matter, early button-pushing didn’t matter but what mattered was the impressive way he drew off that belied a lineage that’s admittedly a bit short on the maternal side of his pedigree.

Of course, he will be given ample opportunity to outrun his ancestry in the future; the 1-1/16 miles of the San Felipe seems the logical place to find out more about Peter Miller’s trainee.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)

New NYRA rules ignore real problem: winter racing

Reacting to a disheartening number of fatal thoroughbred breakdowns, NYRA has come up with a new series of rules and regulations, one more pointless than the others. They all gloss over the real problem. Winter racing at Aqueduct attracts a disproportionate number of problem horses. The only solution is to curtail racing during the worst weather months of the year.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (12)
Twice caught rider faces third battery allegations; How does racing allow this to happen?

Roman Chapa, who has been suspended twice--for 19 months and five years--for using a battery is being investigated again for the same offense for a ride at Sam Houston Park last Saturday night. This is why arguing for tougher cheating rules is a joke. What's the point when someone who has been convicted of one of the most serious offenses can get a second and third chance?


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (18)

Everything Dies Baby, That’s a Fact

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 14, 2015-As if the recent losses of good friends are not enough to remind one of his mortality, now the bricks and mortar of our past are falling by the wayside, too.

Atlantic City Race Course, we hardly knew ya’, but the little we did know and experienced, we loved.

It was 30 years ago, life was a bit simpler and the family always would look forward to the drive south in the summertime.

We loved the Jersey Shore then; we still do. We’d spend a week in Margate at the White Sands, right on the beach. On a clear day you could see the Steel Pier a few miles to the north.

As Lou said to Sally in Louis Malle’s 1980 classic: “You should have seen the ocean in those days.”


Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)
Jack Wilson: Best At His Job and a Better Person; Eclipse Finalists Announced

HALLANDALE BEACH, January 7, 2015—Long before I fancied myself as “Racing’s Wanna’ Be Savior,” I was a sharp, a wise guy, looking for a gambling edge by any means necessary.

Never mind that I was working for a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper; the sports desk wasn’t going to help me pick or bet on a winner. And the handicapping competition at the other New York tabloids were formidable rivals.

This was back in the day, the glory years of the 1970s when three Triple Crown winners graced America’s racetracks; therapeutic medication had not yet soiled the gene pool.

At the time, not only were there no capital L’s inside a circle on official track programs but past performances didn’t contain even the most basic trainer and jockey win percentages. Short comments in running lines like “no factor” or “up in time” hardly told the story.

If you wanted to know what happened, you were at the mercy of “Trackmen” whose job it is to produce past performance charts with footnote commentary. The only inviolate rule was, no matter how taxing the work circumstances, “there will always be a chart.”

For handicapping research, one either stockpiled old Forms or cut the charts out of the paper and pasted them into accountants’ long day journals which would be swollen six inches thick by the time the racing season ended.

Whenever I mentioned the term Trackman in those earlier days, the name Don Fair of the Daily Racing Form, nee Morning Telegraph, came up immediately.

Then I met Jack Wilson, who leads any discussion when someone asks “who is the best chart caller of all time?”


Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)

Slouching Towards Tucson

PORTLAND, OR, November 19, 2014--Beginning December 8 for four days, racing's biggest movers and shakers will gather at the 41st Annual Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson, Arizona.

The annual pilgrimage has become the place for industry stakeholders to keep in touch with each other, swap a little gossip, and get a sense of how the industry is tracking as a whole.

This will be my 10th trip to the great American Southwest, a journey I look forward to at the end of each year for the colorful characters one meets while congregating at the hotel bar each night, talking about the year that was.

It’s great to see that behind the scenes of racing and gaming stand people who are trying to insure the industry continues to tick.

It’s a place where companies can showcase anything the industry requires, from new betting software platforms, to television cameras, to racetrack surfaces.

Although the exhibitors have got smaller over the years, attendance at the seminars has remained very strong as there's always something new to discuss each year, always something new to take away, hangovers notwithstanding.


Written by Robert Earle | Comments (0)
Adore Me’s World Record Performance Down Under Unforgettable

Christchurch, New Zealand – Nov 11 – That’s no typo; you read that correctly. Indeed, harness horses often race at distances over two miles here and last week I witnessed the fastest two miles—that’s 3,200 meters to us—in harness racing history.

Of course, that makes the time of 3:54—with a last half-mile in an astounding 55 seconds—trotted by Adore Me so extraordinary.

We know the Yanks love their speed and appropriately Adore Me is a daughter the prize American stallion, Bettor’s Delight, a very familiar name to harness racing fans world-wide.

And the five year old mare didn’t just establish a new world record; she smashed the old one by 1.5 seconds in an event that was just as extraordinary as her performance:


Written by Robert Earle | Comments (0)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
GRADE II, $200,000 ARCADIA STAKES

GRADED STAKES WINNING HOME RUN KITTEN HEADS SATURDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 ARCADIA STAKES;

FIELD OF NINE OLDER HORSES SET TO CONTEST ONE MILE ON TURF

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2015)—A close second in Santa Anita’s Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile Dec. 26, trainer David Hofmans’…


Jan 29 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
GRADE I, $300,000 LAS VIRGENES STAKES

BAFFERT’S MAYBELLENE HEADS FIELD OF TEN 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I, $300,000 LAS VIRGENES STAKES AT FLAT MILE

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2015)—Third to eventual Eclipse Award winning juvenile filly Take Charge Brandi last out, Bob Baffert’s Maybellene heads a field of…


Jan 29 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Oaklawn Barn Notes - Sunday, Jan. 25

Two scheduled starters for Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn, including champion Take Charge Brandi, recorded their final workouts for the mile race Sunday morning.




Jan 26 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
CATALINA RED APPROACHING GRADE III DAVIS IN TOP FORM

OLDSMAR, FL. – The countdown has begun to discovering if Tampa Bay Downs track and multiple stakes-record holder Catalina Red can continue to excel while going around two turns against 3-year-olds from some of the country’s top stables.




Jan 26 | Categories: Tampa Bay Downs, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Park News & Notes - Fri 1/23

Frosted Aiming to Follow Cairo Prince in 2015 Lambholm South Holy Bull
Keen Ice Makes Sophomore Debut in Lambholm South Holy Bull
Decision Day Ready for Dirt Debut
All’s Okay With Jess’s Dream


BOYNTON BEACH, FL – After winning the 2014 Holy Bull (G2) with…


Jan 24 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
SUGAR SHOCK RETURNS IN AMERICAN BEAUTY

Hot Springs, Ark. (Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015) – The speedy Sugar Shock is scheduled to make her first start against older horses in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes for female sprinters Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Candy Ride, Sugar Shock was Oaklawn’s top 3-year-old…


Jan 24 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Regal Minister leads field for Rego Park

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The inaugural running of the $125,000 Rego Park Stakes for 3-year-old New York-breds at six furlongs on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack - features a field of six sprinters each looking to each establish themselves on the scene this year.




Jan 24 | Categories: Aqueduct, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Park News & Notes - Thu 1/22

Vitali Leaning Toward Lambholm South Holy Bull with Bluegrass Singer
Lambholm South Holy Bull the Goal for First Down
Bocachica Released from Hospital

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Mucho Macho Man Stakes winner Bluegrass Singer is expected to make his next start in Saturday’s $400,000…


Jan 23 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Dutrow Charts Course for Grade 1 Winners

Trainer Tony Dutrow has started to formulate plans for several of his top horses at Oaklawn Park, including Grade 1 winner The Big Beast. Dutrow, based this winter in Arkansas, said the major spring objective for The Big Beast is the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 9 at Oaklawn.



Jan 15 | Categories: Oaklawn, | Comments (0)
Happy My Way Back on Favorite Track in Sunshine Millions Sprint

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Happy My Way is set to make his 2015 debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream, where the 5-year-old gelding developed into a stakes-placed performer last season.




Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Toasting Looks for Redemption in Sunshine Millions Distaff

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – In her three-year race career, West Point Thoroughbreds’ Toasting has displayed moments of brilliance, winning the Dream Rush Stakes over now multiple graded stakes winner Merry Meadow, running head to head with the highly regarded Wedding Toast in the Comely Stakes (G3), and…


Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Bad Debt Tries Again in $100,000 Sunshine Millions Turf

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Still showing the competitiveness and consistency that has earmarked his career, Bad Debt will open his 8-year-old campaign in a familiar spot.

A 15-time winner who has hit the board in 42 of 57 career starts over five racing seasons, the bay Grand Reward gelding…


Jan 15 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)