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

‘Belief’ and ‘Chrome’ could be the new Alydar and Affirmed

Shared Belief's dominant score in the Pacific Classic answers the last question about his brilliance. He has won on synthetics and dirt. He has won at six furlongs and a mile and a quarter. He is the first of his generation to take on and put down older horses in an important race. But he still has one obstacle to overcome en route to a divisional Eclipse and Horse of the Year: Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome. That showdown is expected to come in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Even casual fans should be excited about that.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (29)
It’s never on Sunday for Gulfstream stakes


Florida (and other jurisdictions) once had high hopes that Sunday would become the equal of Saturday in drawing fans to the track. It hasn't happened. Gulfstream is giving up on forcing the issue. Its winter stakes schedule--67 races, 37 graded--doesn't include a single Sunday stakes.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (17)

GUEST EDITORIAL: Stop Doping at the Sales

By Carlo Vaccarezza

Carlo Vaccarrezza came to national prominence as the owner of Grade 1-winning turf specialist Little Mike. Since then, Vaccarezza has taken out his trainer's as has enjoyed some success on the Florida circuit with a limited amount of starters. Vaccarezza felt it was important to share this message with the HorseRaceInsider audience. It's a side of the sport that also needs a light shined on it in these trying days for the sport.



Written by John Pricci | Comments (7)
Untapable Question: Do Colts Hold Haskell Advantage?

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 22, 2014—For myself and many others, the best part of betting on the horses is the handicapping process; trying to figure things out, predicting the future.

In that context the learning process never ends, which is another thing that pleases inquiring minds. This came to mind with respect to Sunday’s Grade 1 Haskell, deep in both quality and contentiousness.

When it comes down to the betting, it is likely at post time that a filly will lead them. And this always comes as big news whenever a filly meets colts in a big spot. Think Rachel Alexandra’s Preakness and Woodward; think Zenyatta’s Classics, both of them.

The storyline goes that racing females and males is commonplace in Europe, but not so much here when the fairer sex meets the perceived stronger animal. Racing even compensates for this by giving females a weight allowance.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)

“Tom-my Dur-kin, Clap-Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, September, 1, 2014—What can you say about a legend?

“No words,” is an expression we’ve heard often recently, but usually it marks solemn occasions, such as the sudden, unexpected loss of Robin Williams. The moment is so profound that erudition is overmatched.

Legends are found on the silver screen or television, like Williams, or the stage, the baseball diamond or the gridiron. For the average American, knowing or loving a legendary figure is an unattainable fantasy.

But most people don’t feel that way about Tom Durkin. He is approachable, responsive, and racing fans have reached out to button-hole him virtually every day this meet, telling him what his calls, his words, have meant to them.

There’s a sign as you drive down Nelson Avenue toward High Rock Ave., propped up against a house on the corner. It says: “Arrrrh, thanks for the memories, Tom, you will be missed.”


Written by John Pricci | Comments (7)
Wise Dan’s Finest Hour

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 30, 2014—At this stage, it’s amazing that certain Thoroughbreds can still provide chills and thrills to fans, bettors and everyone in between.

But betting wasn’t necessary to have an interest in the Bernard Baruch, not when two-time defending Horse of the Year is making his first start since Derby day, enduring colic surgery in between.

It’s no secret that we wished that at some point in the last two seasons, that the connections of Wise Dan would take the highest road possible; there was no question as to turf mile supremacy. So why not one run for the ages?

On a simply gorgeous Saratoga afternoon, Wise Dan returned to work, attempting to win the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch for the third consecutive year off a series of seven workouts while having to spot seven rivals anywhere from 8 to 13 pounds.

After 29 races, 21 lifetime victories, multiple championships and $6.8 million later, the 56th running of the Bernard Baruch turned out to be Wise Dan’s finest hour.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)

A Sport in Conflict with Itself: Policing vs Promoting

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 13, 2014--The approach that can help insure racing’s survival might have been outlined two years ago when Travis Tygart, the CEO and Counsel to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, was invited to speak at the annual Jockey Club Round Table conference here.

That day Tygart’s message reached many of the industry’s most influential stakeholders and, intertwined with Senate investigations into a spate of equine injuries and fatalities, the idea of federal regulation was introduced.

What everybody thought they knew then, and still believes, is that federal legislation can’t work because individual states control racing’s rules and regulations and there’s no realistic chance that the status quo would ever change.

Horsemen’s groups cite the progress being made on the medication front. Matters like these take time, they say. The issue is highly charged and has become political as proponents and opponents have dug in their heels.

And the wheels of politics grind very slowly, if and when they grind at all.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)
L’Affaire Martin: Del Mar Wants It Both Ways

SARATOGA SPRINGS, July 15, 2014—This time, it was the other, silent member of “Dumb Ass Partners,” Perry Martin, who jumped ugly on the subject of dual Classics winner and 2014 Horse of the Year co-favorite, California Chrome.

Yes, this is the same man that blew off the Preakness in a fit of Derby pique and who recently raked Del Mar over the coals for having the temerity to suggest that “America’s Horse” be honored with a parade between races on Pacific Classic day.

The story has been told in different precincts and in disparate versions and there seems to be enough “blame” to go around about a much-ado-about-very-little incident that became front page racing news because Kentucky Derby winners always are.

And that’s especially true this time when the Derby-Preakness winner’s story didn’t end on the sand and loam of Belmont Park but rather on the front page of national and network media after Steve Coburn’s meltdown following Chrome’s crushing Triple Crown defeat.

Finally, with his wife at his side like some politician who got his business caught in some cookie’s jar, Coburn, after doubling down on his post-Belmont rant the following day, made a humbling, tearful apology before a network audience the day after that. It was a case of all's well that ends.

If anything, Coburn’s knee jerk tirade and Martin’s insensitivity indicates that it just might be harder for connections of any good horse to hold their best form for over two months than it is for their equine athletes. Clearly, it was time for a badly needed freshening.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
2014 meet at Saratoga Race Course

Enhanced guest experience, improved quality of racing highlight
2014 meet at Saratoga Race Course

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.- The New York Racing Association, Inc. yesteday concluded its 146th season at Saratoga Race Course, which featured an enhanced guest experience and improved quality…


Sep 2 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Racing resumes at Belmont Park September 5

ELMONT, N.Y. - With TVG Super Saturday on September 27 serving as the centerpiece of an enhanced stakes schedule worth $11 million, Belmont Park's fall championship meet will open Friday, September 5 and run for 38 days through October 26.




Sep 2 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Woodward (G1) Quotes

Eddie Plesa, Jr., winning trainer of Itsmyluckyday (No. 2): "It's like when you have a child that does something out of the ordinary, exceptional, that you know he could do; that's what it felt like. I mean, horses aren't your children, but we take great pride in our horses; we take great pride in our…


Aug 31 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Forego (G1) Quotes

Linda Rice, winning trainer of Palace (No. 6): "[Palace] is a really talented horse, and when he is good I need to use him because on several occasions I've needed to stop on him, turn him out, and give him a break. When a horse is doing as well as he is, I don't know how long I can keep him that good."

Aug 31 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Prioress (G2) Quotes

Kelly Breen, winning trainer of Stonetastic (No. 2): "She's fast. Paco [Lopez] came back and said she did it easy. I'm happy for all the connections; she ran great. Paco said he didn't whip her. I don't know what else to say, she went in 1:08 and four, and did it the right way. We're happy to be here."

Aug 31 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Riskaverse Quotes

Tom Albertrani, winning trainer of Miss Frost (No. 2): "Her last two races she's made steps forward; it was a tremendous performance from her. We weren't planning on being on the front end, but it's just the way things worked out. She was just dragging Edgar along. Down the backside I thought maybe she…


Aug 30 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes 8/29

Stephanoatsee stepping up in G1 Woodward
• Long River can give trainer another G1 Woodward upset; Cavorting breezes
• Confrontation ready to take on G1 competition in Forego
• Brown sends out Zivo and Last Gunfighter in Woodward; Partisan Politics and Startup Nation come back…


Aug 29 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Tom Durkin - two-day celebration at Saratoga Race Course

The New York Racing Association to honor legendary race caller Tom Durkin with special two-day celebration at Saratoga Race Course

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. will celebrate the illustrious career of longtime track announcer Tom Durkin with two days in…


Aug 29 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Moreno seeks second straight Grade 1 in 61st running of the Woodward

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - What a difference a race makes.

Southern Equine Stable's Moreno has long held a reputation as a fast and dangerous horse that fights hard all the way but gets caught at the end of the biggest graded stakes events. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper gelding changed that…


Aug 28 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
P.G. Johnson Quotes

Chad Brown, winning trainer of Partisan Politics (No. 3): "We spoke about it in the paddock, Javier and I, and we really wanted the spot the No. 1 [Ancient Goddess] was in going into the first turn. Handicapping the race, I thought there were two speed horses, and I knew that European horses generally…


Aug 28 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Ballerina (G1) Quotes

Mike Hushion, winning trainer of Artemis Agrotera (No. 1): How was she training after finishing eighth in the Grade 1 TVG Acorn? "Just lightened up on her a little. She's a filly that apparently does better off of light training than five-eights [of a mile] in a minute every six days."




Aug 23 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Ketel One King’s Bishop (G1) Quotes

Tony Dutrow, winning trainer of The Big Beast (No. 7): "[Javier Castellano] came to the paddock and said, 'This horse will be OK today. There are two or three inside of me who are going to go, and I'm going to sit and make a run. I want to get the jump on [Coup de Grace].' And that's just what happened."

Aug 23 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)