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'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

NYRA hits new lows in customer abuse

Nothing appears beneath NYRA when it comes to squeezing every penny out of fans. The latest outrage is charging handicapped fans $7-$15 to park in a lot that is otherwise free. Meanwhile, any thoughts that there ever will be meaningful inter-track cooperation on anything significant is a fantasy,demonstrated by Saratoga, Monmouth and Mountaineer each staging rich races for 3-year-olds within 24 hours.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (6)
Haskell has big horse but Spa has ‘Dandy’ of a race

American Pharoah will be the center of attention in Monmouth's Haskell this weekend but the best race for 3-year-olds will be the Jim Dandy Saturday at Saratoga. Grade 1 winners Frosted, Materiality and Texas Red are expected along with Holy Bull winner and Florida Derby runnerup Upstart and Bill Mott's star on the rise Japan. On Wednesday, Mott will attempt to extend his remarkable record of success on his birthday.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (30)

Pharoah: Past, Present and Future

OCEANPORT, NY, August 4, 2015—Sunday was about historical context. Today, it’s all about the future.

From a racing perspective, American Pharoah, barring the unforeseen, has absolutely no excuse for not showing up in the shadow of the elm trees in upstate New York.

In our view, American Pharoah saved his best race for last, Sunday at 5:52 p.m. at Monmouth Park. He was sparkling, bedazzling, description-defying.

There are three possible negatives, from a connections point of view.

The timing: It’s not like the best horse in the world cannot be trained up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But in a perfect world, you would like the spacing to be better.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
American Pharoah, the Shore Thing

OCEANPORT, NJ, August 2, 2015--I am totally prepared to be called a fool--or worse, and there would be plenty of justification for it.

That's because it took until today, Haskell Sunday, to recognize American Pharoah as a truly great race horse. Yes, history, he is one of the ones.

He made some very nice three-year-olds appear outclassed as he left them in his bounding wake: What I'm saying is how a horse possibly could emerge from the Triple Crown series better than the one that went in. I don't have to see him defeat older horses to prove something to these old set of eyes.

Finally, I have seen enough

Mr. Jordan, who won the Grade 3 prep for the William Hill Haskell Invitational, put pressure on the 2015 Triple Crown champion from the start but meekly gave up the chase midway down the backside. No mas.

Upstart, fresh, the way he wants to be, and training up an Adirondack storm in Saratoga, moved to challenge at the perfect time, just as Mr. Jordan was giving way. But his will to go on with it abandoned him when American Pharoah asserted himself.

Competitive Edge probably will be returned to one-turn racing, but he is fast and genuine on his best day. And he couldn't handle the heat when American Pharoah pressed him in earnest at mid-turn.

And mere strides before the home straight, Pharoah's ears started to rise.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (8)

Saratoga Summer on the Jersey Shore

OCEANPORT, NJ, July 31, 2015—Finally, after 2-1/2 hours on the Fort Lauderdale tarmac, where repairs were made on the plane’s hydraulics—time well spent—I arrived on the Jersey Shore, Jennifer’s Place…smack in the middle of a heat wave.

It was hotter in Newark than it was in South Florida.

But the good news is that rain is nowhere in the forecast beginning today through Tuesday of next week. No sense watching the 2015 Triple Crown demolish some other field over a sloppy racetrack.

There are other interesting races this weekend but we have not yet looked seriously at the Jim Dandy or West Virginia Derby as of this post and nowhere close to checking out the Haskell program, a 14-race program.

I have two words for when Sunday arrives: Bring It!

Not long after the Haskell is run, there will be stopovers in Suffolk and Putnam Counties as we wend our way toward the North Country early Whitney morn. Can’t wait for that, either. Even on my own dime, life is still good.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (15)
Saratoga Simulcast Dairy: Meeting Across the River

July 26, 2015—For us, the racing odyssey of 2015 is set to begin; much bag packing and errand running will ensue.

But there’s business to finish; writing, posting and editing to be done, selections to be made, traveling to begin. Saratoga Simulcast Diary will return Saturday, Jim Dandy day, the price for witnessing Sunday’s Haskell Invitation Ball staring Cinderfella, aka American Pharoah.

Good for Garden State fans and horseplayers. The good people of New Jersey love their racing (inded they do, Mr. Christie) and the area deserves and could use this shot in the arm. Note that “The Boss” has attended Haskells past, in his usual low key manner.

If he’s in Oceanport on Sunday, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Surely it will lend itself to the special atmosphere. Non-Springsteen fans probably didn’t hear but he showed up at a local bar last week, jumped on stage and played a two-hour set. No big deal, of course; he’s been doing things like that his entire career.

And so the Derby has “My Old Kentucky Home,” the Preakness “Maryland, My Maryland,” and the Belmont its “New York, New York” but only Monmouth Park has “Born To Run,” ‘cause tramps like them…

Now, through the Saratoga 147 Racing Trip Diary on the season’s first Saturday:

Race 1: Didn’t take long for the “Graveyard” to claim its first victim--then the crowd had no right to make second-time-out trainer Mark Casse’s Moon King 2-5 on debut, no matter how fast he worked, right?

Written by John Pricci | Comments (4)

Fed Bills Fumble on Meds

LOS ANGLES, July 27, 2015--Anyone fearful of Federal intervention had ample justification dumped in their laps last week when sponsors of one Congressional bill dealing with horse racing reform started criticizing a newer, similar bill with different sponsors.

Already on record in support of the newer bill, HRI Executive Editor, John Pricci commented, "Perhaps they should consider acting like grownups and help push for legislation that makes the game better for bettors and industry stakeholders. If they are sincere, they should try to fashion a solution helping like-minded colleagues instead of competing with them."

Also supporting the newer bill is a coalition of the Jockey Club and the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance (WHOA). Recently, the Horseplayers Association of North America (HANA) was invited by the Jockey Club to join that coalition.

HANA then polled its membership to determine whether or not it should do so, but they have not shared the results for several weeks now. Perhaps expansion of the elite Jockey Club's influence is not all that popular a concept, or perhaps horseplayers only care about the next set of past performances?

I believe both bills contain the same fatal flaw, i.e., they put the proverbial cart before the horse.

Written by Indulto | Comments (4)
I Can No Longer Look the Other Way

LOS ANGELES, July 2, 2015—As children, we are trained to look both ways before crossing the street. Likewise, some of us are taught to look at both sides of an issue before making a decision regarding it.

Racing survives because most of its customers have been conditioned to look the other way whenever its flaws come into view.

In my sixth decade of betting on thoroughbreds, I find it progressively harder to overlook the game's shortcomings and those of its leadership.

The evils of simulcasting has perverted parimutuel wagering and tilted playing fields for both horseplayers and horsemen.

The process is no less damaging than the malfeasance displayed by racing's operators and regulators whose independent fiefdoms effectively prevent reform and protect the powerful.

The Rick Dutrow case has finally brought me to my senses. Any fairness, justice and transparency that may have once been evident in racing appears to have vanished.

The game as it now exists is not one I care to pass on to future generations. I can no longer accept the status quo as either a customer or a citizen.

Written by Indulto | Comments (21)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Champion Ninfa Del Cielo to Make North American Debut

Venezuelan Champ to run Friday at Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – On Friday afternoon, the Gulfstream Park grandstand might just be transformed into a Venezuelan party. After capturing the prestigious Clasico Internacional del Caribe (G1) and sweeping the Venezuelan…

Aug 4 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Quotes from the post position draw - Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney

Todd Pletcher, trainer of Coach Inge (No. 8, 15-1) and Liam's Map (No. 4, 6-1): "I thought the post positions were both good. I believe Liam's Map will be forwardly placed. Coach Inge probably went a little too fast in the Suburban, but I thought he ran gamely despite that. To me, tactically, it looks…

Aug 4 | Categories: Woodbine, | Comments (0)
Whitney likely to bring clarity to contentious older male division

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A monstrously talented field has lined up for the co-richest race of the 147th Saratoga Race Course meet - the Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney - including seven Grade 1 winners and a pair of up-and-comers from the barn of the Spa's leading trainer, Todd Pletcher.

Aug 4 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Rock Fall tames The Big Beast in G1 Vanderbilt

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Stonestreet Stables' Rock Fall solidified his standing as one of the top sprinters in the country with a thrilling nose victory over The Big Beast in Saturday's Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Race Course.

Aug 2 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Jim Dandy (G2) Quotes

Julie Clark, assistant to winning trainer Keith Desormeaux, of Texas Red (No. 3): "He's been doing really well [at Saratoga]. We got a lot out of that bullet work last weekend. He has been training really well. Kent basically said the ride he gave him was the trip he was planning, so we went with him.…

Aug 2 | Categories: Saratoga, | Comments (0)
Saturday’s Rainbow 6 Carryover Jackpot Guaranteed at $150,000

Late Pick 4 and Pick 5 Pools Guaranteed at $50,000

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot pool will be guaranteed at $150,000 Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

The popular multi-race wager went unsolved Friday, when multiple bettors holding tickets with…

Jul 11 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream To Raise Purses 10 Percent Beginning July 23

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park announced today it will raise purses an average of 10 percent beginning with the next condition book on Thursday, July 23.

Gulfstream's third summer of live racing continues to show increases over the first two. On July 5, Gulfstream played host for…

Jul 11 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
A Lot leads field of six in Manila

ELMONT, N.Y. - Amerman Racing LLC's A Lot will look to repeat his Paradise Creek success when he takes on five rival sophomores going a mile on the Widener turf in the $100,000 Manila Stakes on Sunday at Belmont Park. The graded stakes-placed son of Tapit picked up his first black type score in the seven-furlong…

Jul 11 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Gulfstream Summit of Speed Notes: Fri 7/3

Wildcat Red Set for Return to Sprinting in Smile
Patrick Dupuy Sets Sights on Azalea (G3) with I’m a Looker
Tea Time Shipping in for Princess Rooney (G2)
Gold 2-year-olds Ready for Stakes Test

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Trainer Jose Garoffalo successfully stretched out Wildcat…

Jul 3 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Texas Red returns in G3 Dwyer

ELMONT, N.Y. - The Grade 3, $500,000 Dwyer - to be run on the second annual Stars & Stripes Day at Belmont Park - will feature the return of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red, who has not raced since finishing second in the Grade 2 San Vicente on February 1 at Santa Anita Park.

Jul 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Tonalist heavy favorite in Suburban ‘Cap

ELMONT, N.Y. - Under high weight of 123 pounds including Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist has been made the 3-5 favorite over five foes for Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Suburban Handicap, one of six graded stakes on the second annual Star & Stripes Day at Belmont…

Jul 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Mother Goose Quotes

Drayden Van Dyke, winning trainer of Include Betty (No.2): "It was a perfect trip. I know they were going fast up front and I knew this long stretch should really help her out, she makes that nice little last run and I knew it'd work out just perfect for her. I just had to make sure that I kept pulling…

Jun 28 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)