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


Prior to the post draw for the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational, master of ceremonies Pete Aiello, a race caller who has come very far, very fast, introduced Frank Stronach, who has come very far over a very long period of time.

“At the beginning a lot of people asked me how come, why the Pegasus?”

“First of all,” Stronach began to explain, “I were fortunate enough to buy this racetrack.

“After we came up with the idea for a race, I started looking in books for a good name. Pegasus was a great icon. Since life is sometimes a battle of good spirits and bad spirits, we thought it was a good name.

“The horse has always served mankind. There wouldn’t have been an America without the horse in the West.

“The Breeders’ Cup does a great job for racing, and the Dubai World Cup is a great race. We thought the end of January would be a perfect time between the two. Good horses can run in this race and still make their stud dates for the year.

“We have two very good horses to start. We all must do what we can do, band together for the good of the sport.”

The Triple Crown has long been acknowledged as American racing’s best hoof forward. And the Breeders’ Cup--which had a profound effect this year as the recent Eclipse Award ceremony demonstrated--often has been described as racing’s Super Bowl because of its end-of-year championship implications.

But both events are a series of races. The Pegasus is a singular event, the world’s richest horse race, and no one, not even Stronach, Mr. Zeus himself, knows how it will all come out in the end, so appropriate for 2017.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (2)
Vegas Line: Chrome 4-5; Arrogate 1-1

By Press Release

Although defeated by Arrogate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), California Chrome was listed as the 4-5 favorite for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) when the opening line at the Wynn Las Vegas Race & Sports Book was released.

Arrogate, who finished a half-length in front of California Chrome in the Classic, their first meeting, was made the second choice at even-money for the inaugural running of the 1 1/8-mile race.

The opening lines for the remainder of the expected 12-horse field is as follows: Noble Bird (12-1); Keen Ice (20-1); Neolithic (20-1); Shaman Ghost (25-1); Breaking Lucky (25-1); Eragon (40-1); War Envoy (50-1); War Story (50-1); Ralis (50-1); and Prayer for Relief (75-1).

CHROME: A Sunday Kind of Love

Written by John Pricci | Comments (3)

Great Day at Gulfstream from Morning ‘til Night

If there were an opportunity to ensure that Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup Invitational day would be a reprise of what happened yesterday at Gulfstream Park--from early on a low-lying fog-shrouded morning to a champagne-sipping toast to the Thoroughbred champions of 2016, Frank Stronach would be asking: “Where do I sign?”

In what was the final workout of his career, the soon-to-be two-time Horse of the Year worked five furlongs on the Hallandale oval in 58 4/5 seconds, galloping out another furlong in 13, on his left lead into the clubhouse turn with exercise partner Dihigi Gladney never moving a muscle.

In its way, it was the 2016 Pacific Classic of workouts. To merely say that he’s all set for his career finale in six days somehow diminishes the effort.

As prelude to next weekend’s world’s richest dirt race and last evening’s Eclipse Award ceremonies was the Sunshine Millions, featuring some of the best that Florida-breds have to offer competing in five stakes.

If one were to add up the combined winning margins of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf, Distaff Sprint, Sprint, Turf and Classic, a total of 1-1/4 lengths would separate the winners from the runners-up.

The best was saved for last when Hy Riverside out-bobbed Nauset Beach in a photo so tight as to be reminiscent of Beholder’s victory over Songbird in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

And it was a nice touch that Hy Riverside gave his local trainer, Antonio Sano, his third winner on the afternoon.

It was a great lead-in to the Eclipse Award ceremonies to follow that went off without a hitch and crisply, until the very end that is.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (26)
Even in Small Ways, The Meadowlands Keeps Trying

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., January 17, 2017—It is no secret that horse racing in New Jersey is in trouble and has been for some time. Competition from casino-enhanced purses in neighboring racing states has dealt a serious blow to its economic viability.

But unlike, say, California, the Garden State’s woes can’t be attributed to lack of trying. Contrarily, when it comes to new ideas, it can be argued New Jersey is one of horse racing’s most progressive jurisdictions and has been for some time.

New Jersey was the first to embrace exchange wagering in the U.S., and while that concept hasn’t set the horse-betting world on fire, it has raised awareness that expansion is possible via diversification and choice given its appeal to a Wall Street mentality.

Exchange wagering pits player against players or player vs. crowd by locking-in prices based on handicapping skill and knowledge of the public’s betting habits. At once, players have diversification and control over their money.

In an effort to spur business, The Meadowlands lowered parimutuel takeout to 15% across the board at its brief all-turf meet. But lowering takeout works best only over the sustained trial periods needed to overcome near term revenue shortfall.

In order to attract people into their buildings or online bet shops, New Jersey horse interests have lobbied for sports wagering, with its venues as gateway, a concept that has received governmental support, then not; public support, then not again.

At blame is hypocritical right-wing attitudes toward gambling and because New York casino interests and sports leagues have lobbied against competitive racinos that are 20 minutes from Manhattan or Westchester County.

Whatever it’s tried, New Jersey has been stymied to the point where horse racing is rapidly becoming unsustainable.

The pressure to stop the bleeding by any means necessary occurred recently when The Meadowlands decided to computerize it the harness-racing morning line earlier this month.

In the big picture this looks like a small issue, but it’s indicative of the fact that horse racing everywhere is failing in its attempts to keep the fans it has, never mind attracting a new audience.

Written by John Pricci | Comments (14)

Cuomo’s re-privatization of NYRA proposal loaded with land mines

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has come up with another proposal to re-privatize NYRA. It would include night racing at Belmont and fewer winter dates at Aqueduct. Each of these is sure to stir opposition from horsemen and citizen activist groups. This might be Cuomo's intention. He could delay turning back NYRA and blame it on others.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)
Masochistic BC ban should be the model for drug offenses

The Breeders' Cup has introduced a new penalty for drug violations. They are banning Masochistic from competing in next year's events. This is an idea that deserves wider consideration. If owners knew they would not only lost a purse but also the use of their horse, they would not be so tolerant of cheater trainers.

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (6)

New York State Government Dithering

ELMONT, NY, January 10, 2017 – Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track is in a heap of financial trouble. The upstate track, in Farmington, NY, opened in 1962, and may not make it much further than its 55th year.

The foremost problem for Finger Lakes is the $440 million del Lago Resort & Casino based in Waterloo, NY, scheduled to open next month. The casino is an hour’s drive from the racetrack.

Most casinos have supported racetracks in this state and rightfully so. Casino interests have used racing’s presence to grandfather through additional gambling. Del Lago, however, has no such ties since the Seneca Nation has exclusive casino rights in its region.

The problem became twofold when the Finger Lakes Horsemen Benevolent Protective Association held out on a contract regarding simulcast revenue. Late Tuesday afternoon a tweet appeared from Finger Lakes Gaming indicating they had reached an accord, and simulcasting will resume on Wednesday, January 11.

Finger Lakes was New York’s first racino but racetracks are restricted by law from expansion since only video lottery terminals are permitted in racinos. Del Lago, conversely, is a full service Las Vegas style casino.

So that’s the issue: VLT’s vs full service casinos. What’s truly problematic is that what happens at Finger Lakes can be a harbinger of how things might go at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has a bill on his desk [S7918A] now that would reprivatize the New York Racing Association if he signs it by the end of this month.

Cuomo stated in 2012, after he wrested control of NYRA, that he would reprivatize NYRA in three years. We are now into year five and Cuomo still hasn’t kept his word on reprivatization.

If the past is prologue, and past performances are a truer measure than words, this bill will remained unsigned.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (23)
L’Affaire Masochistic Was Completely Avoidable

ELMONT, NY, December 27, 2016--Anabolic Steroids are performance enhancing drugs. Why they are still allowed boggles the mind. Thoroughbred racing in America is a sport with a poor public image and industry regulators have accomplished little to correct a problem that never goes away.

The perception is that we drug race horses without regard for their welfare for financial gain, whether via purses or wagers. Then we compound the problem at the end of their racing careers by allowing them to starve or sending them to slaughter houses.

Racing’s optics are horrible and that’s no way to run a sport.

Anabolic steroids were first synthesized in a Swiss laboratory in 1934. Its misuse in Thoroughbred racehorses was first reported in 1941.

Seventy-five years later, racing is still suffering scandals related to the drug and half efforts to rid the sport of anabolic steroids after such a long run seem insincere at best.

Trainer Ron Ellis used a performance enhancer while training Masochistic up to the Breeders Cup Sprint.

In the final analysis, Masochistic tested positive when less than 200 picograms [a picogram is one-trillionth of a gram] of stanozolol remained in blood and urine samples taken after he finished second on November 5 at Santa Anita Park.

Ellis gambled on race day and lost, and so did the entire sport of Thoroughbred racing. A system that continues to allow events like this to occur is one that has gone terribly wrong.

Written by Mark Berner | Comments (19)


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
Shaman Ghost works sharply for Pegasus World Cup (G1)

Stronach Stables’ 5-year-old breezes at Palm Meadows

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - The Stronach Stables-owned Shaman Ghost sped solo through a half-mile work in a bullet 47.70 at the Palm Meadows Training Center Sunday as he continues his preparations for the $12 million Pegasus…

Jan 23 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Leisurely Sunday for Two-Time Horse of the Year California Chrome

South Florida Well-Represented by Eclipse Award Winners

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Watching his son and assistant, Alan, lead California Chrome around the Gulfstream Park shedrow shortly before 7 Sunday morning, trainer Art Sherman continued to marvel at the strength and energy…

Jan 23 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Final career work for California Chrome

North America’s richest racehorse breezes for Pegasus World Cup (G1)

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - In what was the final breeze of his storied career on the racetrack, California Chrome worked Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park in preparation for his swan song, the $12 million…

Jan 21 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Gulfstream Today 1.20.17

Rainbow 6 Carryover of $45,000 for Saturday Program
Breakfast at Gulfstream and California Chrome Saturday Morning

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream's 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved Friday creating a jackpot carryover of $45,677.54 for Saturday’s 12-race program.

Jan 21 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Gulfstream News & Notes:  Fri 1/20

Poseidon Possible for G1-Placed Cherry Wine Pending Saturday Work
Moment of Delight Ready for Debut in Sunshine Millions Distaff
Winter Vacation Nearly Over for Multiple Stakes Winner Cajun Delta Dawn

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL –Cherry Wine ran with some of the best…

Jan 21 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
A Day of Stars at Gulfstream Park

Public Invited to California Chrome's Final Workout Saturday
Sunshine Millions Leads Saturday's 12-Race Program
Stars Come Out Saturday Night for Eclipse Awards

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park will play host to the stars from morning until evening Saturday.

Jan 21 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Triple Pick 6 carryover of $306K Saturday at Aqueduct

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The Pick 6 went unsolved for the third straight day on Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack, triggering a three-day carryover of $306,342 into Saturday's live racing card.

Jan 21 | Categories: Aqueduct, |
Hoppertunity, Stanford, Charming Kitten on Pegasus Undercard

111 Horses Nominated for Five Supporting Stakes (Video Links)

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Hoppertunity leads a group of graded stakes winners that are among the 111 horses nominated to the five supporting stakes races, three of them graded, on…

Jan 20 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Takrees seeks first stakes win in Sunday’s Interborough

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Shadwell Stable's homebred Takrees will look for her first stakes win after a couple of close finishes as part of a field of seven in the 96th running of the $100,000 Interborough for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at six furlongs on the inner dirt track Sunday at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Jan 20 | Categories: Aqueduct, |
Oaklawn Barn Notes:  Thu 1/19

Santana Jr. Set to Return Friday

Four-time Oaklawn riding champion Ricardo Santana Jr. is scheduled to return to the saddle Friday after missing the first five days of the meeting because of five race-related suspensions stemming from the 2016 season.

Santana was facing…

Jan 20 | Categories: Oaklawn, |
Gulfstream Today 1.16.17

Monday’s Rainbow 6 Solved for $72,179 Jackpot Payoff
Super Hi-5 Carryover of $8,289 Slated for Wednesday’s 1st Race

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 was solved for the second time in three racing days Monday at Gulfstream Park, producing a jackpot…

Jan 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Green Gratto fends off late charge to win G3 Toboggan

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Green Gratto surged to the early lead from the inside post, set the pace and outkicked a charging All Star Red in deep stretch to capture the 124th running of the Grade 3, $125,000 Toboggan for 4-year-olds and up on the inner dirt track Monday at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Jan 17 | Categories: Aqueduct, |