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

Kentucky Derby Lives Up to Hype…and Then Some

HALLANDALE, FL, May 3, 2015—Despite the negativity surrounding the industry and the efforts of a handful of stakeholders to agree to disagree, the horses and the game’s special events always wind up saving the day.

Aided by great local weather and positive publicity about the talent and depth in the 2015 class of sophomore equines, records for both attendance and handle were shattered.

But in the final analysis, God bless the Thoroughbred.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (12)
If Baffert Runs 1-2 in Derby 141, What Then?

PLANTATION, FL., APRIL 27, 2015—Here we are, Derby Week 141, and I still can’t conjure up a field with more brilliance, potential greatness, this rich in talent. There are five days remaining now so no defections, please.

One or more of these colts, headed by American Pharoah, might be one of the ones of history, but I do not deign to call any one of them a special horse. All Thoroughbreds are special.

And, besides, any trainer who stands in front of a microphone or notepad this week will say that his horse is special, whether he is or not: There are owners to cajole, after all.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (6)

At the prices, ‘the other Baffert’ is the Derby bet

This is the deepest Kentucky Derby field in memory. I couldn't reduce it to less than nine who could win without shocking me. Ergo, it makes no sense to take a short price on American Pharoah. There's a saying that you should never bet a horse to do something he hasn't done before. Dortmund, "the other Baffert" has never lost. Neither has Materiality but there's that curse of Apollo to consider.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (13)
Top of racing loaded again but there’s trouble below

The 3-year-old crop of 2014 was exceptional. This year's group has shown the potential to be as good or better. Below the surface things are not as rosy as they will seem next Saturday.New Jersey racing is in jeopardy because its breeding program has all but evaporated. With casino subsidies being threatened in other states, this could be a preview of things to come. Like America, racing is in danger of losing its middle class.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (14)

Money Maker Moreno and Other Memories

Los Angeles, April 22, 2015--Although I'm usually turned off when owners name their horses after themselves, the name of last year's Whitney winner never bothered me because it always reminds me of the lovely and talented Rita Moreno, of whom I'm a big fan.

So when Moreno the horse won the Charles Town Classic, I had a vision of Moreno the actress/dancer doing the Charleston. Absent the real thing, I offer HRI readers this video which definitely captured the experience.

What amazes me about Moreno is the frequency with which he has been underrated only to finish first or second, often rewarding his supporters with inflated vertical exotic payoffs.

That might not have occurred last Saturday had the over-hyped Shared Belief been able to apply his ability. It was unfortunate racing luck that the 3-10 favorite sustained an injury, a little more serious than was originally believed.

It wasn't the emotional drain many associate with Bernardini's Preakness victory at Barbaro's tragic expense, but rather was a ringing reminder that races are lost when least expected, the reasons too numerous to count.

There is no such thing as a sure thing, obviously. Even Secretariat had his issues, with the letter “W,” as in Wood, Whitney and Woodward.

My approach, then, is try to be prepared for the unexpected while attempting to leverage the expected. It's great when it works out, but it can be a long way between waterholes.

Written by Indulto | Comments (7)
Will Fortune Finally Smile on Advocate Upstart Violette?

Though April fouls
Have come your way
You've got the points
To run in May

So keep campaigning
And have no regrets
Because Upstart will start
For horseman Violette

LOS ANGELES, April 9, 2015--New York Thoroughbred Horsemen Association President, New York Racing Association Board member, and 2015 Kentucky Derby contender-qualifying trainer, Rick Violette, Jr., is leaving the Sunshine State – and its apparent disdain for snowbirding New Yorkers – as potentially a newly-minted horseplayer advocate.

It may turn out that horseplayer advocate is a be too optimistic, but Violette's apparent concern for racing's customers was quoted in a text to HRI’s executive editor John Pricci and later at Daily Racing Form: '"It's disappointing that as hard as [president] Tim Ritvo and [general manager] P.J. Campo are working to raise the standard of Gulfstream racing they will not be successful as long as they have the incompetence in the judge's stand and the maintenance of their racetrack," Violette said. "Nobody should feel confident with those people overseeing the racing product, especially the horse player."'

While Violette's remarks in the wake of a double dose of disqualification dispensing from both sides of the same offense may not merit induction into the Sportsman’s Hall of Shame, they do speak for having greater transparency and competency in the future.

Written by Indulto | Comments (2)

All Hail Conquering Pharoah

SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY, April 12, 2015—That’s it, right? All done? No more preps?

Finally, just two weeks of “just what we wanted, well within himself, couldn’t be doing any better” workouts leading up to the big dance and all that’s left is the betting.

Yes, being a little facetious because workouts at Churchill Downs do mean a lot: If it were possible, you could have asked Charlie Whittingham. Now you could speak with Carl Nafzger, or Graham Motion, or… But first things first:

Commented on a thread here that I wanted to see another dimension, and I did: I see the immediate future up ahead. It’s like you’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.

It’s a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Tri-light Zone.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)
Start Spreading the News: Get With the Program

SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY, April 7, 2015: California maybe be dominating the top of the HRI Kentucky Derby Power 10, and everyone else’s list, too, but never before this late in the prep season have New York-breds been in such a lofty position among the Derby elite.

Maybe it’s all that love emanating from a recent return to Queens where yellow cabs are now an outer-borough lime green and 5-time NBA All-Star Chris Mullin is poised to bring pride back to his once storied alma mater.

And it didn’t snow over the weekend, so life here is good.

In any case, just a mention that there are two New York-breds among the HRI Power 10 with a third, Saturday’s Wood Memorial runner-up Tencendur, on the AEs waiting to break in.

Holy Funny Cide!

Written by John Pricci | Comments (11)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, May 3, 2015) – To set the stage for his press conference Sunday morning to reflect on this fourth victory, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert brought the star of the 141st Kentucky Derby -- American Pharoah -- out of the barn to pose for the cameras.

Bribing him…

May 3 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)

Victor Espinoza, jockey of American Pharoah, winner – “I feel like the luckiest Mexican on Earth. He has been a special horse since the first time I rode him. He has a lot of talent and is an unbelievable horse. Turning for home I started riding a little harder. At the eighth pole, I just couldn’t…

May 3 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)

Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah, winner/Dortmund, third – “We were ready to rumble. Since their last works I was hearing how good they were and I was hoping it would come true. I felt very confident going in.”

May 3 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Belmont Park Notes: Sunday, May 3

• Tonalist earns career-best 111 Beyer for G3 Westchester win; on target for G1 Met Mile
• Frosted exits Derby fourth-place finish in fine fettle Belmont could be next
• Fields taking shape for Saturday stakes

May 3 | Categories: Belmont Park, | Comments (0)
Breaking: Scratch #7 El Kabeir from Kentucky Derby

Trainer John Terranova has notified Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards that #7 El Kabeir has been scratched from Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Post position No. 1 will be left open (no horse) and all others will slide down with no gaps. Program numbers do not change.

May 1 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby 141 Update - 5/1


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, May 1, 2015) – Scratch time for the 141st Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) passed at 9 a.m. Friday with no further defections from Saturday’s field thus leaving…

May 1 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw Quotes


Ocho Ocho Ocho (Post position 1, morning line 50-1) – Jim Cassidy (trainer) – “It is what it is. It’s a tough spot but what are you going to do? My plan, to be honest with you, is still to take hold and sit in the second flight. I’ve…

Apr 30 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks 141 Update - 4/29


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, April 29, 2015) – Godolphin Racing’s Wood Memorial (GI) winner Frosted and Ralph Evans’ ultra-consistent Upstart made their initial morning training appearances at Churchill Downs Wednesday.…

Apr 29 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks 141 Update


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, April 28, 2015) – UAE (GII) winner Mubtaahij (IRE) got his first sample of the racing surface at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning, a day after arriving from Arlington.…

Apr 29 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks 141 Update


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, April 27, 2015) – Zayat Stables’ El Kabeir and WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables’ Carpe Diem arrived at Churchill Downs early this…

Apr 28 | Categories: Kentucky Derby, | Comments (0)
Record Single-Day Rainbow 6 Handle Generates Multiple $14,592 Payoffs

$5.6 Million Bet into $1.4 Million Carryover
Sunday Super Hi 5 Carryover $20,365.16

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park's mandatory payout of its 20-cent Rainbow 6 resulted in a total pool of $7.125 million Saturday, producing multiple-winning tickets each returning $14,504.92.

Apr 26 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)
Upstart, Frosted Conduct Final Pre-Derby Breezes at Palm Meadows

Triple Crown Contenders Each Breeze 5-furlongs in South Florida

Upstart Records Bullet in 59.95 seconds; Frosted Clocks in at 1:01.10

BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Triple Crown contenders Upstart and Frosted took the track just after 8:00 a.m. Saturday at Gulfstream’s satellite…

Apr 25 | Categories: Gulfstream, | Comments (0)