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.


Bill Finley
Every weekend, and when there is breaking news, Bill Finley or members of the "Harness Racing Update" staff will provide HRI readers with the latest in harness racing information and opinion.


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

Goldencents makes his bid for a title


Goldencents lived up to his odds-on favoritism in the BC Dirt Mile but he had to gut it out the length of the stretch to get it done. Will this be enough to overcome Palace Malice for best older horse? Earlier, Wesley Ward got off his Breeders' Cup schneid in a big way, finishing first and second with Hootenanny and Luck of the Kitten in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (0)
A couple of key plays to work around on Friday & Saturday

Everyone has their own approach to attacking the Breeders' Cup. Mine is not to go caveman but to try to find a key horse or two in one race, then spread widely in the other legs of Pick 3's, which tend to pay handsomely even with a short price or two in the sequence. Goldencents looks like the most certain winner of the two days and is positioned between wide open races on Friday. The scratch of American Pharoah from the Juvenile makes Carpe Diem a key on Saturday.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)

On Breeders’ Cup Eve, Horseplayers Continue Their Advocacy

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., October 26, 2014---Set against a backdrop of horsemen signing entry cards for a run in Breeders’ Cup XXXI beginning Friday, close to 500 stakeholders have signed a petition asking that security cameras be installed in all barns on the Santa Anita backstretch.

After being unable to get any satisfaction with that state’s alphabet groups, most significantly the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the TOc, grassroots horseplayer activists in California took matters into their own hands.

It may be too late for this year's Breeders’ Cup but not so for the prime winter meet the day after Christmas. If all tracks don’t take reasonable measure to shore up their security, no executive ever should be allowed to use the word transparency again.

Not onsite for the Breeders’ Cup this year, I’m not privy to the current politics of the situation but the issue is simple and universal enough. It’s all about the level playing field, about customer’s betting money, the coin of the realm that gives lifeblood to this thing of ours.

As a rule, it’s difficult to spur horseplayers into action, but since the advent of the Horseplayers Association of North America and activists such as Andy Asaro, who continues to act as Prodder-in-Chief to hundreds of industry stakeholders daily, horseplayers finally are playing a role: See Santa Anita in 2012; see Churchill Downs in 2013.

Thanks to these volunteers, the voice of horseplayers has created within the betting community a spirit of cooperation for the health of the game, one that offers a front that’s more united than the sum of all of industry alphabet groups combined.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)
No Triumph This Time, Only Tragedy

MIAMI LAKES, October 17, 2014—Call it the Robin Williams syndrome, anything that properly reflects tragedy that goes beyond the pale.

Death almost always begets sadness but this was something more, perhaps a replication of how one feels when a special one passes. Even from a great distance, Juan Saez seemed to possess the kind or rare talent that belied his tender age.

Sometimes, death can be a blessing for those that suffer from disease, but I’ve always wondered if that was true. How would I feel about letting go if given the choice between doing just that or carrying on?

There was nothing about the death of the 17-year-old Saez that had any saving grace whatsoever: In death’s wake, shocking and profoundly sad are the only apt descriptions.

I never met the young man nor did I have the opportunity to see the teenage phenom in the flesh; only on horseback, on a closed-circuit monitor. His productivity demanded that you sought him out wherever he chose to hang his tack.

I finally caught up to his all too brief meteoric career while he was riding in Kentucky this Fall. His passing came with an ever-present reminder that jockeys are the least appreciated athletes of all.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 30 - Nov. 3

College Picks

Boston College over VA TECH by 3

Our MIDWEEK ALERT informs us that the Eagles hit Blacksburg on this first Saturday in November with the better overall offense, the better rushing attack and the stingier defense. And ‘better’ yet – we find them on the right side of the page (i.e. dogs). That’s a combination we can’t pass up. Yes, we realize that Beamer’s boys will be looking for payback after dropping a 34-27 decision last season in Chestnut Hill but we also know that Eagles’ HC Steve Addazio is 4-0 SUATS as a dog versus a foe with revenge. And, yes, we’re well aware that the 4-4 Hokies – like in 2012 – still need two wins in their final four games to extend a 21-year bowl streak
under Frank Beamer. The Gobblers may have to find one of those wins at either Duke in two weeks or at home in its season finale against Virginia (the one at Wake Forest is a given) as we can’t see an offense that has been held to two meaningless touchdowns (both late 4th-quarter scores) in its last two games doing any damage against B.C.’s 8th-ranked stop-unit. An easy take as we may find ourselves in an Eagles’ nest come this ‘Midweek.’


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Marc Lawrence College and Pro Upsets, Oct. 23 to Oct 27

COLORADO over UCLA by 1

A victim of their own success – 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS in 2013 – the underachieving Bruins have been major money burners this season, bringing a 1-6 ATS mark into this contest. Highly-touted QB Brett Hundley has regained his aim since a Heisman-killing 48-yard passing performance against Texas in mid-September but the defense has gone into early hibernation, giving up 106 points in its last three games (1-2 SU). Who can forget UCLA head coach Jim Mora’s heated sideline argument with DC Jeff Ulbrich while Oregon put up 42 points in the Rose Bowl two weeks ago? Hey, the visitors’ 7-14 road chalk mark in their last 21 Pac-12 games does not look promising... nor does their 5-14-1 ATS mark, including 0-6-1 ATS as favorites of more than 6 points, in games after facing California. We won’t even mention that the Blue-and-Gold are just 1-6 ATS in games before facing their next opponent, Arizona! Colorado’s scoreboard results may not show it but the Buffs have improved by leaps and bounds in their third season under HC Mike MacIntyre, gaining 99 YPG more
on offense while yielding 34 YPG less on defense this season compared to last. Ralphie also gets the job done as a conference home dog of 14 or fewer points off back-to-back SU losses, going 9-4 SU and 10-3 ATS, and MacIntyre chips in with a 4-1-1 ATS effort against foes allowing 18.5 or more points per game. With Ralphie’s herd averaging a stout 31 PPG, we look for the Bruins to reach a Rocky Mountain low this afternoon in Boulder. To put the wraps on this bear trap, Marc’s ‘ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG’ system from the 2011 Black Book conveys The Clincher: College football road favorites off a win in which they allowed 30 or more points, who allow more than 29 PPG and 4.0 or more Yards Per Rush on the season, are 5-25-1 ATS in this role since 1980.


Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)

123Gaming’s Robert Earle: Born to Bet

PLANTATION, FL., October 24, 2014—This time, even if I decided that I badly wanted to hurl slings and arrows at the racing industry for the snail-like pace at which it’s proven willing to accept new ideas, I couldn’t: This time, it was my bad.

Here I had this new wagering idea staring me in the face, something novel, something that possibly could stir the imagination of young people with discretionary income looking for an exciting way to occupy their time.

It was right in front of me and I didn’t see it, couldn’t conjure up how a new interpretation of a well-known wager could spark growth by servicing an untapped resource, the demographic that is the envy of every successful business; the young adult.

I’m talking about a different kind of Pick 6, a variation on the theme, one that puts rank and file bettors up front by keeping them in the sequence right to the bitter end, no matter how much or how little they invest.

The rules governing the “123 Pick Six” make a very difficult wager less daunting. Of greater import, by making the wager more accessible, it becomes an Everyman Pick Six, putting average bettors on the same playing field with well-financed individuals and syndicates.

The man behind the 123 Pick Six is Robert Earle, unknown to me at the time but the same man I saw instructing panel members and attendees in 2009 at the Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Simulcast Conference in Saratoga Springs.

He believed then and continues to believe now that he can get more people involved in the Thoroughbred racing by wagering on it.

Betting on racehorses; what a concept!


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Seven Sophomores for Seven Elders

PLANTATION, FL., October 22, 2014—Considering the effect that the event has had on traditional Fall calendar of major stakes races, the Breeders’ Cup championships has come under closer scrutiny this year.

Prior to the advent of the event 30 years ago, races such as Belmont Park’s Jockey Club Gold Cup, Champagne and Frizette--to name just three noted Eastern-based fixtures-- would have been the conquests that would have helped define championships.

Races like these still help to decide which horses are worthy of best-in-show honors in their respective divisions, but since 1984 they no longer are the final word.

Presently, thanks to the vision of John Gaines and John Nerud, a little re-branding from Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and the growth of international racing, Thoroughbred’s crowning event continues to grow in stature and appeal.

Despite carding two less races and absent three injured champions that were expected to defend their titles, a record 201 horses, 61 Grade or Group 1 winners, including five in defense of their titles, were pre-entered Wednesday in Breeders’ Cup XXXI.

Final entries will be drawn Monday with 13 races scheduled for next Friday and Saturday; four on Friday and nine on championship Saturday.

The centerpiece Classic, expected to crown the 2014 Horse of the Year, will be broadcast in prime time Saturday on the NBC network starting at 8 p.m. ET.

All remaining races will be cablecast on the NBC Sports Network over the two-day span, and the HRTV racing network will broadcast every Breeders’ Cup race. As they say in TV land, check local times and listings.

Dubbed racing’s crowning event, this year’s Classic is appropriately named. What happens at 8:35 p.m. ET Saturday will determine not only three-year-old championship honors but a Horse of the Year title as well.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Breeders’ Cup Notes - Friday, October 31

Art Sherman (California Chrome) – “He looked great,” said trainer Sherman Friday after the Kentucky Derby winner galloped 1 5/8m at 6 am under regular exercise rider Willie Delgado for the Classic.

“I plan to jog him in the morning the wrong way for a mile,” said Sherman of the…


Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf Report

Aidan O'Brien (War Envoy, Juvenile Turf; Qualify, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report

Bill Mott (Quality Rocks, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Quality Rocks had a routine gallop for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott Thursday.




Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Sprint and Filly & Mare Sprint Report

Alfredo Velasquez (Private Zone, Sprint) – Good Friends Stable’s Private Zone went through another routine morning on Thursday – heading out to the Santa Anita main track around 7 a.m. to jog 1m and then gallop 1m. Trained by Alfredo Velazquez, he continues to make a positive account of himself…


Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Turf Sprint and Dirt Mile Report

Bob Baffert (Fed Biz, Dirt Mile) – Fed Biz galloped 1 1/2 m Thursday morning.

With the withdrawl due to injury of favored American Pharoah from the Juvenile, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was asked which of his six remaining entrants would move to the top of his win hopes list. The…


Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies - Thurs. notes

Aidan O’Brien (The Great War, Juvenile) – see European report

Al Stall, Jr. (Top Decile, Juvenile Fillies) – Trainer Al Stall, Jr. does not mind flying under the radar with Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence’s 2yo filly Top Decile for this Saturday’s 14 Hands Winery Breeders’…


Oct 31 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Mile - Thurs. notes

Anodin – see European report

Kaigun – Trainer Mark Casse, who has four entrants including Mile contender Kaigun in this year’s Breeders’ Cup, likened Thursday’s waiting game before the two-day event on Friday and Saturday to being stopped in traffic at a yellow light.


Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Filly and Mare Turf -Thursday Notes

Abaco – Phipps Stable’s Abaco galloped 1 1/4m and schooled in the paddock Thursday morning at Santa Anita in preparation for a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The 6yo daughter of Giant’s Causeway is enjoying her most productive racing season in 2014.



Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Turf - Thursday notes

Big John B – A 1 1/2m jog on the training track was the main exercise of the day for Big John B, the 20-1 shot who will carry the hopes of owner Michael House and trainer Phil D'Amato in the $3 Million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf.




Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Distaff - Thursday notes

Belle Gallantey – Michael Dubb, Gary Aisquith and Bethlehem Stables’ Breeders’ Cup Distaff contender Belle Gallantey continues to work under the supervision of trainer Rudy Rodriguez from Santa Anita’s Barn 68. Since arriving Sunday from their New York base, the two have been inseparable as the…


Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup European Report - Thursday

Aktabantay Declared from Juvenile Turf; Faithful Creek Draws In

V. I. Araci’s 2yo Aktabantay has been withdrawn from Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf because of a sore foot. Trainer Hugo Palmer has expressed his deep disappointment at having to make the decision to take him out…


Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Breeders’ Cup Classic - Thursday notes

Bayern – Bayern, a candidate for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, has picked up a major endorsement for an event that already shaped up as, to borrow a political phrase, a real ‘horse race.’

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who’ll make his riding comeback in the two-day Championships…


Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)
Turf Sprint and Dirt Mile - Wed. notes

Bob Baffert (Fed Biz, Dirt Mile) – Fed Biz galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday morning.

“He's training well and he's run well here,” Baffert said. “I liked the way he ran on the dirt last time (second to Shared Belief in the 1 1/16-mile Awesome Again). He put up a pretty good fight against…


Oct 30 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, | Comments (0)