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

Clasico shows potential for more international races

Gulfstream was mobbed for the Clasico Internacional del Caribe with Latin fans, who rooted for their nation's horses as if it were an international soccer match. This enthusiasm demonstrated there is a substantial untapped market among fans originally from south of the border. It would be wise for Gulfstream and other tracks in areas with similar demographics--NY and California, for instance--to create similar events. Also, the 1-3 finish for fillies is the latest example that the U.S. is behind the times when it comes to segregating the genders. Meanwhile, out West, Southern California stewards became the story in another major stakes.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)
Latin America’s Kentucky Derby is a guessing game

Gulfstream, which has gambled and won with year-round racing, the Pegasus and Claiming Crown, is taking another risk Saturday, bringing the Clasico Internacional del Caribe to South Florida for the first time. The centerpiece of the five-stakes festival, the Clasico del Caribe, is often called "The Kentucky Derby of the Caribbean and Latin America." But the dozen horses entered are all unknowns to local players and the big race is supported by four other stakes for imports, which will transform handicapping into a guessing game.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (34)

Stakes with Plenty of Stuffing

It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since Churchill Downs inaugurated its “Stars of Tomorrow” program for juvenile runners only. Then you look at its history and, as the great Dick Enberg might say. “Oh, my.”

Its lynchpin, the Jockey Club Stakes, has taken a bit of an unfair hit in recent years for not being the harbinger of winning Kentucky Derby form it should be.

While it’s true that the 1-1/16 miles two-turner has produced only two winners--Super Saver who doubled up in 2009-10 and Real Quiet, runner-up in 1997 but a Derby hero the following year--the day has been a launching pad for numerous Grade 1 stars.

Shackleford, a future Preakness and Met Mile winner, raced on the day, as did 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge; Belmont Stakes winner Creator; a pair of Classic winners, Fort Larned and Gun Runner, and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and this year’s protem Best in Show.

It’s difficult to know what lies ahead for Grade 2 Golden Rod winner Road to Victory, or Jockey Club Stakes winning Enticed, but their futures look extremely bright. Ladies first:

We’ve seen this movie before and Mark Casse, a force at the Churchill Fall meet for a decade, did it again. This time he shipped Road to Victory in off a single 7-furlong debut on Woodbine turf and parlayed that win into a two-turn dirt score, and did it the hard way.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (15)
Racing Family Comes Full Circle at Payson Park

Some people run away as children to join the circus. But not the late Hall of Famer Thomas Joseph Kelly, who ran off to join the racetrack when he was 13. When he passed, eight full decades later, he left as the patriarch of one of racing’s foremost families.

Last week, T.J.’s son, Larry, also a racetrack lifer, became the new General Manager of world renowned Payson Park Training Center in Indiantown, Florida, a two-hour drive north and west of Gulfstream Park.

The appointment is proof positive that what goes around indeed comes around again.

It started with Turnpike Tom, who served as apprentice for trainer Louis Fuestel. When making the transition from hot walker to groom to trainer, it’s no guarantee that one will someday land in racing’s pantheon.

But Kelly did get a pretty good start, having learned from the man who trained the mighty Man o’ War.

Of course, Payson Park long has been the winter home of Roger Attfield, Christophe Clement, Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, among other racing notables. And when the 59-year-old Kelly joined the Payson family last week, the Payson circle was complete.

Payson Park is widely regarded as one of the best training centers anywhere in the world. It features a turf course and safe, deep dirt track over which hoof beats are barely audible.

European-style hacking trails add to the atmosphere. It allows horses to be horses and a great way to prepare youngsters for the rigors of future racetrack life.

Tom Kelly was the first trainer to use Payson as a training center. Born in Maryland and once a regular on that circuit, Kelly was a mainstay in New York during temperate times and raced primarily at Hialeah in winter. Payson is where some of the horses went for R & R.

The Kelly men are racetrackers through and through. T.J.’s younger brother, Edward (E.I.) Kelly, trained the 1959 sprint champion, Intentionally.

Tom’s wife Frances foaled three trainers; Pat, the oldest, best remembered for his work with New York-based millionaire Evening Attire, and Tim who left the backstretch to become a New York Racing Association official.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (12)

Best Bet Bowl and NFL Upsets

North Texas over Troy by 3

Bowl Mania kicks off in New Orleans but unlike the betting public who has already pushed the Trojans up to a touchdown favorite, we don’t think this visit to the Big Easy will be a walk in the park for the co-champions from the Sun Belt. Sure, the Troy boys have notched 10 wins for the second straight campaign, including 3-0 SUATS versus winning opposition this season, and are 6-1 SU in their last seven meetings with the Mean Green while North Texas got run over by FAU and the Lane Train in the Conference USA title tilt. However, we can’t get past the fact that in their season-ending 8-point win over Arkansas State to claim a share of their conference crown, Troy was outgained by 313 yards. Our database is also a bit leery of Neal Brown’s bunch as it notes the Trojans are just 2-7 ATS as favorites versus CUSA foes and 1-3 ATS as bowl chalk. Meanwhile, UNT is 9-0 SU and 7-2 ATS versus the Belt when they sport a winning record and 2-0 ATS in this particular matchup when they arrive with rest. In addition, our soon-to-be-released 2017 PLAYBOOK BOWL STAT REPORT (available Thursday) reminds us that C-USA bowlers off a double-digit loss are 13-2 ATS. That’s plenty of good numbers in the Green’s favor but the fi nal tragedy for Troy comes courtesy of THE CLINCHER: Bowl favorites of 4 or more points on a 3-0 SUATS win streak are 3-9 SU and 1-11 ATS when facing a foe off a SUATS loss.


Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)
Best Bet NFL Upsets DEC 10 Edition

Atlanta over New Orleans by 10

Week 14 in the league where they play for pay kicks off in Hotlanta but Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been anything but sizzling for the dirty birds as they have already dropped three games at home this season. However, none of them have been on Thursday and we don’t look for that to change tonight as our AWESOME ANGLE on page 2 tells us that Thor’s Day has been a ‘House of Horrors’ for road teams on the division highway when facing a host off a SU home favorite loss. Even worse for New Orleans is their 0-4-1 ATS mark on this night from Game Eleven out and the Falcons’ 10-2 ATS log on Thursdays, including 7-1 ATS in division play. It also doesn’t take Captain Obvious to tell us that a loss all but seals Atlanta’s division fate as they already trail the Saints by two games. We should point out, too, that our NFL Quarterback Club not only fades New Orleans signal-caller Drew Brees (3-5 ATS against the Falcons when Atlanta arrives off a loss) but also headlines THE CLINCHER: Falcons QB Matt Ryan is 12-4 ATS in December against opponents coming off a SUATS win, including 7-1 ATS when his team is coming off a loss.


Written by Marc Lawrence | Comments (0)

Belmont Park and Islanders Break New Ground

Empire State Development, New York State’s business development agency, has moved quickly and is ever closer to a decision that will award the bid of the New York Islanders hockey team and its consortium to build a new arena at Belmont Park.

The Islanders hope to break ground next spring. “We have no comment as of now,” said Kimber Auerbach, Executive Director of Communications of the Islanders.

The announcement likely will come from someone with a higher pay grade. That, or the ESD award announcement will come at an opportune time for New York’s politically ambitious Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Islanders, along with NYCFC – The New York City Football Club, and developer Blumenfeld Development Group submitted bids on Empire State Development’s Request For Proposal by the September 28 deadline.

Ed Blumenthal recognized the warning signs and dropped out yesterday, citing extraordinary financial requirements that, according to a Newsday report, “appear to create a selection process that has been predetermined.”


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (45)
NYRA Supports NY Horsemen’s Plan to Help Defray Insurance Costs

Pound for pound, jockeys are among the strongest athletes on the planet. These 110-pound riders are entrusted to control 1,000-pound racehorses, and they do so with tremendous strength and deft hands.

It’s something of a jockey’s code, something they don’t speak about. But each time a jockey mounts a Thoroughbred in a horse race they literally hold their lives inside those hands.

Nearly 30 years have passed since Mike Venezia lost his life in a tragic accident at Belmont Park. Though improved safety equipment for jockeys is now mandatory, it is hardly life-saving. Any injury could end a career, or worse.

Because this occupation is so dangerous, insurance premiums are extremely high; indeed the equivalent of a professional football player in the National Football League.

In an attempt to assist horsemen meet a huge financial burden of skyrocketing insurance costs—especially in New York--and to help fill races, the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association developed a symbiotic plan.

At Aqueduct’s upcoming winter meeting, December 6 through March 31, 2018, through NYRA auspices, horsemen will receive a $300 credit to help pay any outstanding balances in the New York Jockey Injury Compensation Fund for workmen’s compensation insurance to trainers whose horses race but do not gain a large slice of the purse money.

*The funding for the $300 Per Start Credit Program does not come from NYRA, it comes entirely from horsemen's purse money. The idea for the program came from NYTHA. While NYRA is in support of the program, they are neither the catalyst nor the source of the funding.

In New York, the winner currently gets 60% of the purse, with 20% for second, 10% for third, five percent for fourth and three percent for fifth.

Under this arrangement, the remainder of the field will split two percent of the purse among also-rans finishing sixth or worse. NYRA will guarantee that $300 minimum to these remaining horses.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (12)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
ARCI TO CALL FOR REGULATION OF BREEDING AND SALES.

DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING AND EQUINE WELFARE CONCERNS PROMPT ARCI TO CALL FOR REGULATION OF BREEDING AND SALES.

Citing the widespread use of drugs on yearlings and two years olds that may result in improper bone development and the recent use of horse auctions to launder money for the…


Dec 14 | Categories: Horse Racing, |
Forever Unbridled Holds Off Abel Tasman To Win Longines Distaff

DEL MAR, Calif. (Nov. 3, 2017) – Charles Fipke’s homebred Forever Unbridled ($9.40) swept to the lead coming off the far turn and then held off a late bid from Abel Tasman by a half-length to win the 34th running of the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) for fillies and mares…


Nov 4 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |
Rainbow 6 Hit at Gulfstream West for $177,500

Sunday’s Late Pick 5 Carryover $19,900

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Gulfstream Park West’s Rainbow 6 was hit Saturday afternoon for $177,521.

The 20-cent wager had not been hit for 19 consecutive programs before Geh Schnell ($11.20), one of three live tickets in…


Oct 29 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
SANTA ANITA STABLE NOTES - OCTOBER 28, 2017

AUTUMN MISS MILE SUITABLE FOR MISS SOUTHERN MISS
• COLLECTED AND STELLAR WIND HEADLINE BC BREEZERS
• RACING REMEMBERS BELOVED BEVERLY J. LEWIS
• CARMA HOSTS AFTERCARE AWARENESS DAY ON SUNDAY

MISS SOUTHERN MISS RETURNS TO MILE IN AUTUMN MISS


Oct 29 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |
RACING RETURNS TO CHURCHILL DOWNS SUNDAY AT 1 P.M.

21-DAY FALL MEET

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017)
– Cooler temperatures and the leaves changing colors signify the return of live horse racing to the Louisville area as Churchill Downs, the historic home of the Kentucky Derby, readies to open its 128th Fall Meet on Sunday,…


Oct 28 | Categories: Churchill Downs, |
Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Reaches $113,131 for Thursday

Tapit Filly My Favorite Gift Impressive Debut Winner
Jockey Jaramillo Enjoys Four-Win Afternoon

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 17th consecutive program Wednesday, growing the carryover jackpot to $113,131.66 for Thursday’s eight-race program.

Oct 26 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
World Championships

2017 Race Order, Wagering Menu and Guaranteed Pools Announced for World Championships

The Breeders' Cup announced today the official order of races, and guaranteed multi-race wagering pools for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November…


Oct 26 | Categories: Breeders' Cup, |
Wednesday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Grows to $100,250

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot for Wednesday’s program at Gulfstream Park West swelled to $100,250.35 Sunday when the popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 16th consecutive program.

Multiple tickets with six winners Sunday returned $9,834.



Oct 24 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
Breeders Crown

Caviart Ally looks to rebound in Breeders Crown final

Darlinonthebeach 'coming into form'


After letting a lead slip away in her elimination, Caviart Ally will try and be a little less zealous and a lot more powerful down the stretch in Friday’s $500,000…


Oct 24 | Categories: U.S. Trotting Assn., |
Rainbow 6 Grows to $87,000 at Gulfstream West

Sunday’s First Race 1:15 P.M.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Gulfstream Park West’s Rainbow 6 continues to grow, bringing Sunday’s carryover to $87,606.62.

Multiple tickets with six winners Saturday returned $4.406.20.

First race post for Sunday’s…


Oct 22 | Categories: Gulfstream West, |
Maryland Million Classic Win a ‘Bonus’ for Hometown Juarez

Bonus Points Gives Maryland-Born Jockey Third Win on Card
$150,000 Stakes Highlights ‘Maryland’s Day at the Races’

LAUREL, MD – Jockey Nik Juarez, born and raised an hour north of Laurel Park, put an exclamation point on his three-win afternoon by guiding Three…


Oct 22 | Categories: Laurel, |
Brown, Castellano team up with pair of victories on EmpireShowcase Day

$38K Pick 6 carryover on tap Sunday

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Chad Brown and Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano teamed up Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park for back-to-back wins on Empire Showcase Day, a unique 11-race all-New York-bred card, including eight stakes races worth…


Oct 22 | Categories: Belmont Park, |