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.


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

American Pharoah can end Triple Crown drought fatigue


The thrill isn't gone from pursuit of a Triple Crown but it does seem that the excitement level for American Pharoah's bid has been muted in the lead-up to Saturday. Tickets are still not sold out even with NYRA's attempt to create artificial scarcity by announcing a 90,000 cap. It could be that some fans, who have helped pack Belmont for previous Triple Crown attempts, have given up on the possibility of it ever happening again.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (5)
American Pharoah the latest star leaving the game too soon

The announcement that American Pharoah will almost certainly be retired at the end of his 3-year-old campaign has stripped some of the excitement from his pursuit of the Triple Crown. Instead of a new star for fans to get enthused about, he will soon be no more than a memory.



Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (8)

Racing & Wagering Board v Rick Dutrow: Nightmare From the Start




In Part 1 of the HRI Special Report, it was established in sworn testimony and e-mails that the positive Butorphanol findings in the horse Fastus Cactus were highly dubious and there was meddling into state process by the president of a national regulatory organization.

Part 2 will examine how Rick Dutrow Jr. was denied a license in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, adding to a dossier compiled by the New York State Racing & Wagering Board that would suspend the trainer 10 years for the “crime” of appealing two questionable suspensions.

How and why this all happened remains a mystery




Written by John Pricci | Comments (29)
RICK DUTROW REVISITED: How a Deeply Flawed Process and Politics Leads to Kangaroo Court





NEW YORK, May 28, 2015--Like many Thoroughbred racing fans, the word that most often leapt to mind whenever I saw Rick Dutrow Jr.’s name in print was “juice.” Unlike many of those who still cling to the notion, I know now that I was wrong.

Seven years ago, an undefeated, seemingly invincible three year old returned to New York seeking to achieve the kind of immortality that only a Triple Crown sweep can bestow, what American Pharoah will try to accomplish June 6.

Instead of becoming the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner and only the second to run the Thoroughbred gauntlet while undefeated, Big Brown was eased before he could reach the Belmont Park homestretch.

For Big Brown, the troubles he encountered in the 2008 Belmont Stakes began at the start of the race. It ended with a performance that was a pivotal factor leading to the suspension of his trainer for 10 years.

Rick Dutrow had his livelihood taken away in a hearing governed by New York State’s Administrative Procedure Act. This type of hearing is conducted as any trial would, with two notable exceptions: There is no presumption of innocence and no due process.

Big Brown’s star-crossed Belmont likely began as a 2007 juvenile when he suffered a foot abscess, one in each hoof albeit not concurrently, resulting in wall separations. Dutrow’s problems began Monday of Belmont week the following year when he told the national media his colt would run without the anabolic steroid Winstrol.

The steroid revelation shocked almost everyone in attendance, racing and non-racing media alike. I know, I was there.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (57)

American Pharoah: What Price Greatness?

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 21, 2015--This is no news flash: American Pharoah is quite the race horse. It takes a special Thoroughbred to go on a four-race roll at the highest divisional levels in this day and age.

Winning four races in an eight-week span against the best your generation has to offer takes a special horse, indeed. American Pharoah won the Derby with class and courage; he took the Preakness with class and speed.

Yes, American Pharoah is extremely gifted, to date the best of his very talented peer group, but I’m not yet ready to concede the other ‘G’ word: Great.

For me, that will take one more victory, his fifth in 11 weeks, including three which have been won in tandem only 11 times in history.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)
Game On…Rained On…Game Over

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., May 16, 2015--In the end, the Preakness players told you all you needed to know.

In the walkover from the Preakness Stakes barn, Bob Baffert was asked how American Pharoah’s condition was; would he be ready for the challenge, coming back in two weeks?

Would we see the same horse that dominated the Arkansas Derby before showing his class and grit three weeks later in Louisville?

Baffert said just what you’d expect him to say, “but you still need that luck,” he said to the national television audience.

After the race, Victor Espinoza was asked on his way to the winners’ circle after spread-eagling the Preakness field from pillar to post whether he had planned the winning front-running gambit.

“After the rain I didn’t want to be behind horses,” Espinoza said. He didn’t need to think about strategy and the trip any longer. Espinoza knew he had to quarter-horse out of there and take the race to his rivals from the jump.

And he took Preakness 140 by taking the lead then taking the prize. Now Espinoza and American Pharoah can take their act on the road just one more time, this time for the biggest prize of all; racing immortality.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (22)

On Balance, Derby Points System an Improvment

LOS ANGELES, CA., May 27, 2015—This year, the new points system rule determining a starting stall in the Kentucky Derby celebrated its third birthday this year. The new rule dictates that points be awarded weighed on the merits of each qualifying Derby prep.

The more prestigious the prep, the more points money finishers earn. Grade counts as does the calendar. Previously, total earnings in graded stakes were the barometer.

So, if the pot were big enough, two-year-old stakes races not named Juvenile would have more of an impact on the Derby field than an event that almost always determines a divisional championship.

We thought we’d take a closer, detailed look at eligibility factors might help all Kentucky Derby fans distinguish between the intended and unintended consequences of participation in various races.


Written by Indulto | Comments (2)
Governor, Let My People In

When Pharoah was in NYRA's land
Let my people in
Upon the grounds they could not stand
Let my people in

Go down there, HANA,
Way down in NYRA's Land
Tell old
Cuomo
Let my people in


May 9, 2015—Just like the Horseplayers Association of North America and Bladerunners, early advocates for a National Horse Racing Commission, learned, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) is finding out that organizing horseplayers is even more difficult than herding cats.

Sixteen million people watched the Kentucky Derby. According to the
Paulick Report
, however, less than two thousand fans responded to an NTRA request for emails in support of tax reform on large winnings over the 300-1 odds threshold.

That's fewer people than HANA’s membership!

"The NTRA has created an easy-to-use form that makes it easy for the public to submit an e-mail directly to the appropriate IRS and U.S. Treasury officials at http://www.ntra.com/IRScomment. Nearly 2,000 comments originating from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have already been submitted via NTRA.com."

This apathy is not being lost on racing industry executives determined to extract whatever additional dollars it can from this seemingly disinterested bunch of horseplayers.


Written by Indulto | Comments (25)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah arrives at Belmont Park

ELMONT, N.Y. - Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah arrived in New York safe and sound on Tuesday afternoon, landing at Long Island's MacArthur Airport before traveling 40 miles west to take up residence in Barn 1 on the Belmont Park backstretch at approximately 3:40 p.m.





Jun 2 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 6/2

• Keen Ice keen to go for Belmont Stakes, joining American Pharoah en route to Belmont Park
• Stewart in familiar spot with Tale of Verve in Belmont
• Clement looking forward to Grade 1 Met Mile with Tonalist
• Belmont Stakes contender Frammento leaves Saratoga for Long Island

Jun 2 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Barn Notes: Tue 6/2

American Pharoah June 2 departure photo credit: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

KEEN ICE BREEZES FOUR FURLONGS IN :50.20 FOR BELMONT STAKES; AMERICAN PHAROAH, KEEN ICE BOUND FOR NEW YORK

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, June 2, 2015) - Donegal Racing's Keen Ice put in his final…


Jun 2 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 6/1

• Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah turns in final breeze for G1 Belmont Stakes; probable Belmont field now stands at eight
• Multiple G1 winner Carpe Diem withdrawn from Belmont
• Zito finalizing travel plans for Belmont Stakes contender Frammento
• Honor Code on track…


Jun 2 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, | Comments (0)
Churchill Downs Notes: American Pharoah Breezes Five Furlongs in 1:00.20

AMERICAN PHAROAH BREEZES FIVE FURLONGS IN 1:00.20 FOR BELMONT STAKES;
SCHEDULED TO LEAVE BARN 33 FOR NEW YORK ON TUESDAY AT 10 A.M. ET

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, June 1, 2015) – Under cloudy skies, light rain and 58 degrees, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness…


Jun 2 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
AMERICAN OAKS STAKES QUOTES

JOCKEY QUOTES

BRICE BLANC, SPANISH QUEEN, WINNER: “My saddle slipped a little bit and it affected my steering because she was a little aggressive when that happened. The more I pulled on her, the more the saddle moved forward so I was a little . . . I wouldn’t say out of control but…


May 30 | Categories: Santa Anita, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 5/30

• Tale of Verve breezes five furlongs in advance of G1 Belmont Stakes
• Belmont Stakes contender Frammento works for two-time winner and Hall of Famer Zito
• Mubtaahij hits the track again for the Belmont Stakes
• Pletcher's Belmont trio return from works in good shape



May 30 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, | Comments (0)
Barn Notes: American Pharoah Gallops

AMERICAN PHAROAH GALLOPS 1 ½ MILES AT CHURCHILL DOWNS; BAFFERT REPORTS TRIPLE CROWN HOPEFUL WILL BREEZE MONDAY

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, May 30, 2015) - With only one week until the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI), Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI)…


May 30 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes 5/29

• Pletcher trio work toward G1 Belmont Stakes
• Frosted 'all set' for G1 Belmont Stakes
• Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist breezes for G1 Met Mile

ELMONT, N.Y. - Following the workouts Friday morning from a trio Todd Pletcher-trained horses for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes,…


May 30 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Barn Notes: American Pharoah Back to Gallops; ‘Everything is Super Positive’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 29, 2015) – Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah, preparing for a sweep of the Triple Crown in the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 6, had a schooling session in the Churchill Downs starting…


May 30 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (0)
Barn Notes: American Pharoah Jogs; Conquest Curlinate Bypasses Belmont

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, May 28, 2015) - Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah returned to the Churchill Downs racetrack Thursday morning for a once-around clockwise jog around the one-mile oval. The 3-year-old, preparing for a sweep of the Triple…


May 29 | Categories: Churchill Downs, | Comments (1)
Belmont Park Notes 5/28

The Truth or Else joins Belmont Stakes mix; nine appear likely to challenge American Pharoah in his bid for the Triple Crown on June 6

ELMONT, N.Y.-- Trainer Kenny McPeek, who upset War Emblem's bid for a Triple Crown with Sarava in 2002, said Thursday morning that he will more than likely…


May 28 | Categories: Belmont Stakes, | Comments (0)