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.

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

Saratoga Late Pick 4, Roll Tide

Exclusively for, reprinted via promotional agreement


1-King Kreesa (12-1)
won the Forbidden Apple after getting loose in soft fractions on a speed-kind course…but these are Grade 1 rivals.

2-Grand Arch (6-1) returns to what might be his favorite course--over which he won this race last year. A four-time winner at the trip, returns with profitable spacing for Lynch barn that’s come alive recently. Nicely drawn, sheds 6 pounds and ML odds offers value.

3-Reporting Star (20-1) four of five lifetime wins have come at this trip, sheds six pounds, and won G3 Appleton at the distance three back. In top hands but this is a different level.

4-Force the Pass (8-1) just missed catching ‘Kreesa’ after chasing the loose leader in the Forbidden Apple. Has enough versatility to adapt to dynamics, well drawn and three of four lifetime wins at today’s distance. Excellent value on early line.

5-Blacktype (10-1)
won the Oceanport when Jersey Joe took advantage of demanding course and timed his late run perfectly. Meeting tougher, obviously, and at his best with a little more ground.

6-Ring Weekend (3-1) handles any type of footing, has won at G1 level, and just missed in G2 Dixie making first start in 14 months. Loves tis course, working bullets at Fair Hill base and goes very well for Johnny.

7-A Lot (10-1) drops significant weight exiting two rapidly run sprints, gets switch to Javier. Has run very well on this course but this is a different level and had better inside draw in last week’s canceled renewal.

8-Tourist (5-2) won his lone start on this course, three of four at this trip lifetime and exits long series of G1 event. Has enough tactical gas to overcome wide draw and reunites with winning rider Rosario. Worthy favorite.

9-Takeover Target (9-2) would have preferred last week’s softer ground but likes Spa turf. Freshened awaiting this, sheds five pounds but loses Rosario to Tourist. Chad white hot, has good spacing, but this a tough spot.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Great Talent and Future Stars on Display Whitney Day


By John Pricci, exclusively for

Comments from July 30 P4 at SARATOGA, notable winners & money finishers



5-Ray’s The Bar (3-1) showed high promise in first two starts as 2015 juvenile but so far has failed to show added development at 3. Chad 24% in LAY-3 scenario, may come around reuniting with Javier. (WON: $8.60 )
3-Idiosyncratic (6-1) finished well after the fact last time out, his first start since 2014, but was away again since April appearance. Chad 27% effective with 90-days+ layups and Irad a profitable 30% for this barn last two months, winning with 4 of last 11 rides. (2ND, EX: $53.00)


4-A.P. Indian (5-1) comes off consecutive sharp scores going seven-eighths, including G3 Belmont Sprint Championship. Sharp blowout for streaking Delacour barn having career season and Bravo, looking to make it three straight, on board. (WON: 11.40 )
5-Holy Boss (9-2) is effective when patiently handled but has proven inconsistent sort. True North third gets Johnny on the re-ride, loves the Spa and Asmussen has been live at meet thus far; nicely posted. (EX: 58.00)


2-Laoban (20-1) had fastest recent blowout of 130 peers last week on this surface. Given that, and switch to Jose Ortiz, Guillot appears intent on the lead. Still winless in seven lifetime starts. (WON: 56.00)
5-Governor Malibu (9-2)
has steadily improving PERs since taking state-bred stakes on Aqueduct Inner this winter. Good-finish Peter Pan runnerup was victimized by tough trip in Belmont. Has worked his way—literally—into this race and gets along well with Joel. (EX: 269.50)

RACE 11 Maiden Claiming F & M 1-16 MILES INNER TURF

4-Newcomb (8-1) drops into claimer for the first time for Proctor, a 23% angle, has trained steadily (missing work Jul 19?) at Fair Hill base and picks up Geroux; Looks like live ship-in. (WON: 8.80)
1-Smile Big (3-1) never has raced this cheaply for Chad, whose dropdowns have been hot and colt at meet thus far. Showed improved early speed when adding blinkers for MTH finale; drop and switch to Irad for logical, formidable early favorite. (EX: 29.40)




1-Poala Queen (20-1) tried the G1 Kentucky Oaks and Acorn to no avail in last two starts and while likely appreciating the cut back, this group appears to too tough for breakthrough performance.
2-One True Kiss (15-1) has come close in G3 sprints recently but lacks Spa experience. Would take a Hall of Fame miracle in this spot.
3-Kareena (9-5) is a very exciting prospect, barn taking exact Jersey Girl Stakes prep route that was successful with Cavorting in 2015. Co-fastest Thoro-Graph figures and owns top Pricci Energy Rating. Visually impressive and likely to make the Grade here.
4-Malibu Stacy (15-1) has improved this summer, just missing when beaten a neck in G3 Victory Ride following maiden score. Weaver barn going well at meet and filly can earn minors with continued improvement.
5-Lightstream (8-1) earned field’s co-fastest figure breaking maiden at the trip in GP debut followed by win in 7F G3 Beaumont at KEE. Third in recent G1 Mother Goose, Lynch barn profitable with turnbacks and is major threat with a return to winter-spring form.
6-Lewis Bay (9-2) is not as fast as these but is multiple G2 winner and recently toughened in G1s. Chad profitable at otherworldly 44% rate with his turnbacks given sizable sample and Irad fits perfectly.
7-Off the Tracks (8-5) won G3 Schuylerville here at 2 and Todd 25% efficient in LAY-3 scenarios. Mother Goose winner carefully managed into this spot and is well posted at this trip; formidable rival.
8-Kinsley Kisses (15-1) is the uncoupled Todd in this matchup and a specialist at the trip (3) 2-0-1. Reunites with Johnny but this a very tall order meeting faster despite adding blinkers on the turnback.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)

Travers Day: A Veritable Feast for Everyone

Saratoga Springs, Aug. 25, 2016--Horse players are a tough crowd. Making them all happy is well nigh impossible.

(If you don't think so, read from the comments section of this site.)

However, Saturday's Travers might be able to turn the trick. The Midsummer Derby is loaded with star power for people who still get turned on by the sport. Every 3-year-old of consequence, save Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, who is undergoing a "growth spurt," will be here.

That so many horses have the credentials to win will make it a super betting race for those who reduce champion thoroughbreds to "the two horse" or "the six horse."

Preakness winner Exaggerator, off a smashing win in the Haskell, is the 3-1 morning line favorite. In spite of his lustrous credentials, that price probably will be available when the 14-horse field is loaded.

If beating the favorite is your game, you could be handsomely rewarded. The winners of the Belmont Stakes, Jim Dandy, Tampa Bay Derby and Louisiana Derby are all double digits on the opening line.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (4)
Lost: A Racetrack and Probably Some Fans

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Aug. 18--What a relief. In the midst of my 1600-mile drive to Saratoga, I began reading stories that said the track at Saratoga had been lost on Saturday. My immediate thought was, how could people be wasting time looking for Pokemon when the most famous race track in America is missing?

Thankfully, this turned out to be hyperbole. The lost track, as described by Johnny Velazquez, turned out to be justification for the jockeys to refuse to ride the last six races of the card.

I was on the road, so I have no idea how extreme conditions were at the Spa. But I do know I have been there many times when it was raining when I woke up in the morning, never stopped all day, yet a complete program was run.

I also know that no matter how hard it might have been raining, it likely didn't exceed the Biblical downpours at Gulfstream a couple of times a week during summer. Nevertheless there hasn't been a rain cancellation in my memory.

When it's really bad or lightning is in the area, horses are held in the paddock until conditions become more tolerable. Even on the gloomiest of days, there is sufficient natural light during to run until 7 p.m. and beyond. NYRA called it quits not much after 3 p.m.

NYRA certainly didn't want to lose a Saturday at Saratoga. However, you have to wonder how much effort was made to save the cancelled races. You also have to wonder how much consideration was given to the potential long term repercussions to Saratoga and the Adirondacks tourism industry.

Saratoga probably draws a greater percentage of fans from in excess of 100 miles away than any other racetrack in America, especially on a Saturday. Fans last Saturday are likely to think twice the next time they consider the marathon drive if there is even a hint of a storm.

Also, fans pay $200 or more a night in area hotels and motels to spend a day or two at the Spa. Speaking from first-hand knowledge, a lot of these reservations are made weeks or months in advance. There also is sure to be hesitation on the part of many to making this commitment next year.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (25)

Stars Shine: Good Horses = Good Racing = Good Business

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, August 21, 2016—

Dear Diary,

Who said you can’t go home again? Like New Orleans, Saratoga is a place you feel more than see. It’s as if you’ve never left, especially given five decades of prior experience.

In Saratoga, the horse that has the right of way at all times. Posted signs virtually everywhere tells you as much.

As for Saturday’s racing, including the final two legs of a special Pick 4 wager that combined three Grade 1 stakes and a Grade 2, the final two legs at Del Mar, was spectacular.

Saturday was the kind of day when you feel sorry for all those people who just don’t get it about the game. Even the non-stakes where highly competitive, featuring many tight finishes.

Betting notwithstanding, it boggles the brain that sports fans seem unwilling to appreciate the athleticism involved in the sport of Thoroughbred racing; the equines, the jockeys and, most significantly, the interaction between them.

On sun-baked afternoons from coast to coast, two SoCal based horses, Songbird and California Chrome, were so dominant they made graded stakes-winning rivals appear inferior by comparison.

Questions were answered. Songbird, indeed, can carry her speed a mile and a quarter, even if it took 26.99 seconds to close the deal.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)
On the Road Again, Almost

LIC, NY, August 14, 2016—

Dear Diary,

It’s not Saratoga yet but we’re collecting out tack and will be on our way sometime in the next 48 hours.

On Saturday we kicked back some, made a few wagers and settle in to watch “Saratoga Live” for the first time. It’s unavailable in SoFla. We have FS1 in our area, not FS2.

But it almost didn’t matter, because it rained. And when summer storms appear in Saratoga, lots can happen, none of it very good.

But I, and the NYRA, got lucky. But the association deserves credit for creating a Grade 1 double wager featuring the newly upgraded Fourstardave—thank you Wise Dan—and the storied Arlington Million.

The Million was the first international seven-figure turf event in the U.S. and instant classic—thank you John Henry.

It would have been very successful, judging by the wide open nature of both races, but then storm clouds appeared on the horizon.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (17)

Technology a Friend of Fans and Horses Alike

ELMONT, NY, August, 23, 2016 – Last year on the Fourth of July, I went to the new Yankee Stadium with my son.

I used to go to the old ball park in the Bronx as a kid with my grandfather, who had season tickets. Some years I'd go to as many as 20 games.

I haven't followed baseball in decades and would have never have thought to go if my daughter hadn't given me her tickets.

My kids grew up in the press box, on the backstretch, and backstage. Now that I'm the grandpa, it is nice to be granted access through my daughter.

I always got a feeling of excitement, a little extra pounding in my chest, when I saw the green expanse of the playing field at the old ballpark in the Bronx. It will will take some time before that vibe is present in the new ball park, if ever.

But the new stadium has an open indoor-outdoor feel, and the service at the facility is superb. Cool. The wait staff brought food to people in their seats--and they weren't special people in special boxes.

I found that this can happens when and if you download the Yankee Stadium app. You can order tickets for seats, pay for parking, make a dining reservation and more.

Well, the New York Racing Association just recently partnered with VenueNext, the company that helps put on the show at the new Yankee Stadium. I also learned that the NYRA had to deal under different circumstances.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (8)
A Horse Is a Horse, Of Course, But Fantasy Sports Isn’t Gambling?

ELMONT, NY, August 9, 2016 – If it looks like a pig, squeals like a pig and smells like a pig, it's a pig. Even if you dress it up in a Saratoga hat and put lipstick on it, it's still a pig.

The New York State legislators have changed the pig, by definition, and now call it a (cash) cow. And with the approval of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Daily Fantasy Sports will resume in this state in time for the lucrative NFL season.

The legislators of New York State decided if they call DFS a game of skill rather than a game of chance it could be legalized. In this way, New York's law is compliant with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which excludes fantasy sports that are a game of skill.

New York's new DFS law is the result of a successful court challenge by the state's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, who reached an agreement with DraftKings and FanDuel to shut down DFS wagering in March of this year.

New York's new description of Interactive fantasy sports contests now reads:

“A game of skill wherein one or more contestants compete against each other by using their knowledge and understanding of athletic events and athletes to select and manage rosters of simulated players whose performance directly corresponds with the actual performance of human competitors on sports teams and in sports events.”

In other words, gambling is still gambling, a game of chance no matter how one parses the language.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (10)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Chantal Sutherland Named to Ride in Sunday’s Added Elegance

Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Soars over $100,000
Huasca Set for Friday Feature off 11-Month Layoff

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jockey Chantal Sutherland is scheduled to make a return to Gulfstream Park Sunday to ride Grade 1 stakes-placed Kiss to Remember in the $75,000 Added Elegance…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes, Thursday, August 25

Baffert squad has arrived from California for Travers Day
• "There's only one Travers" for Asmussen's duo
• Delgado pleased with Majesto's progress heading into G1 Travers, hoping for good things from Grand Tito in G1 Sword Dancer
• With Travers nearing, Guillot (oh, and…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
New York Turf Writers Cup (G1 Steeplechase) Quotes

Gustav Dahl, winning jockey of Portrade (No. 5): "The idea was to have an easy pace. He likes to be on the front end and settles away once he can't hear pressure behind him. That's why he wears the hood as well; to dampen some of that noise. But here's there when you ask him. He jumps phenomenally and…

Aug 26 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Mr Maybe leaves no doubt in John’s Call, gives Brown win No. 1,000

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Prohibitive favorite Mr Maybe came charging through the stretch and powered to a 2 ¼-length victory in Wednesday's $100,000 John's Call at Saratoga Race Course, giving meet-leading trainer Chad Brown his 1,000th career victory.

Patiently handled by Irad Ortiz, Jr.,…

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Flintshire looks to repeat in G1 Sword Dancer

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Juddmonte Farms' intrepid Flintshire will look to bolster his case as the top male turf horse in the U.S. as he heads a field of seven in the Grade 1, $1 million Longines Sword Dancer Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.

A perfect 2-for-2 in 2016, Flintshire has established…

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Wavell Avenue headlines Grade 1 Ballerina on Travers Day undercard

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Reigning Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Wavell Avenue headlines a stellar cast of 10 set to contest the 38th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina on Saturday as she looks for her second straight graded stakes victory at Saratoga Race Course.


Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Cavorting gets two-turn test in Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Cavorting, undefeated in three graded stakes around one turn at Saratoga Race Course, seeks her first two-turn victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Personal Ensign.

The five-horse field features four Grade 1 winners, each with earnings in excess of $1 million.…

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Field for the 147th running of the Grade 1 $1.25 million Travers

Grade 1
Distance - 1 1/4 miles
Track and Stakes Record - General Assembly (1979) 2:00
Last year's winner - Keen Ice

Purse: $1.25 million
Winner: $670,000
Second: $230,000
Third: $125,000
Fourth: $ 85,000
Fifth: $ 50,000
Sixth: $ 35,000

Aug 25 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Quotes from the post position draw for the Travers

Quotes from the post position draw for the 147th running of the
Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers

Bob Baffert, trainer of Arrogate (No. 1, 10-1) and American Freedom (No. 2, 6-1): "What are the chances of drawing Nos. 1 and 2 in a 14-horse field? I'm not doing backflips. But there's…

Aug 24 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
UPDATED QUOTES California Chrome Romps in Pacific Classic

JOCKEY VICTOR ESPINOZA – “Before the race, no matter what strategy I have, everything changes when the gate opens. So, right when I was behind the gate I thought ‘You know what, I’m going to send out of here. I’m going to send hard out of the gate and then move out just a little toward the…

Aug 21 | Categories: | Comments (0)
Saratoga Race Course Notes, Sunday, August 21

Mohaymen to skip G1 Travers, re-routed to G1 King's Bishop
• Creator in final breeze for Travers; Gun Runner on deck for work
• Songbird lands softly after G1 Alabama romp
• Brown thinking "big" with maiden winner Favorable Outcome
• Majesto is G1 Travers-bound

Aug 21 | Categories: | Comments (0)
Alabama (G1) Quotes

Jerry Hollendorfer, winning trainer of Songbird (No. 6): "I was just happy to see her out there and rating nicely, Mike looked pretty confident on her. I thought she would run well down the lane and she did. I never like to say it's easy but she's just got a lot of talent. She makes it looks easy but…

Aug 21 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)