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
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

Martin Finds Criticism Easy, Effectiveness Not So Much

Top trainers of Thoroughbred racehorses have three things in common: patience; patience, and more patience. But the use of medication allows trainers to take shortcuts by saving time for the short-term money.

And, as most reasonable people agree, this is neither good for the horse nor the bettor and the optics are magnified for the average sports fan who see racehorses break down and some even die, by euthanasia or otherwise, right there on their TVs.

Those chosen to safeguard this sport worldwide forbid race-day medication in all countries, except for the leaders in the U.S. One of the most egregious offenders is Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

Martin, once the press secretary for Senator Alfonse D’Amato, brought to racing a background in communications and marketing. Before the ARCI, Martin was executive director of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, prior to the formation of the NYS Gaming Commission.

Martin has always had a desk job. I have no idea if he ever mucked a stall, picked a hoof, watched a live foaling, or have a horse die in his arms. The element that appears certain is his lack of proper perspective; the view from behind a desk is always the same.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (6)
Of Islanders Wishes and Belmont Carnation Dreams

Chad Brown earned an Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer of 2016 and he owes a lot of that success to the late Hall of Fame trainer, Bobby Frankel. Brown was Frankel’s assistant from 2002 to 2007.

"Brooklyn Bobby" Frankel was enshrined in racing’s pantheon in 1995. He trained champions and many who worked for him went on to have their own successful careers.

Brown is just the latest example; one of the first was the late Joe Trovato.

Trovato was also a Brooklyn native. He started his career as a jockey agent and in the 1960s was successful with Avelino Gomez, Bill Boland, Manny Ycaza and Larry Adams. He became Frankel’s assistant in 1969.

Two years later, Trovato took out his trainer’s license and three years after that, in 1974, he trained the 3-year-old filly champion, Hall of Famer Chris Evert.

Owner Carl Rosen named the filly for the tennis champion that acted as a spokesperson for the sportswear line produced by his company, Puritan Fashions.

The 1970’s was a heady time for Trovato. He did well enough to get season’s tickets for the New York Islanders, then a young hockey team that was on the cusp of winning four straight Stanley Cup titles.

Trovato’s first million dollar season was in 1979, the same year the Islanders won the NHL championship for the first time, a period spanning the in the 1979-80 hockey season.

There was a strong connection among those who worked at Belmont Park and the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The two facilities are seven and a half miles apart and located on the same road, Hempstead Turnpike.


Written by Mark Berner | Comments (22)

Rolling Another One, Just Like the Other One

With Saturday’s El Camino Real of little consequence in the big picture, there is no change to HRI’s initial Derby Power 10, but we can assure you there will be in Week 3 next weekend.

On Monday, Uncontested will try to reaffirm his position as a serious Kentucky Derby contender by confirming his Smarty Jones form in the G3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park.

Mo Town finally will get his season started in Saturday’s G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds.

Meanwhile, the HRI cold exacta has lots of verification in many with virtually no argument against the top two at this juncture other than flat-out opinion.

As stated last week, the HRI poll at once tries to balance racetrack accomplishment with the promise of things to come, according to HRI staffers.

HRI’s Kentucky Derby Power 10, Week 1:


1-McCRAKEN (39): Undefeated Sam F. Davis Memorial winner will have three preps for the big dance, the second of 2017 will be back in Oldsmar for the Tampa Bay Derby.
2-IRISH WAR CRY (36): Graham Motion still mulling his options for the brilliant, undefeated colt but indicated his next run will come in South Florida. The March 4 Fountain of Youth is squarely on the table.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (2)
McCraken Debuts at #1 in HRI’s Derby Power 10

OLDSMAR, FL, Feb. 12, 2017—Judging by yesterday’s sweeping turn move that has become his signature since he began distance racing last fall, it doesn’t appear that trainer Ian Wilkes will be able to lower expectations wherever his undefeated McCraken shows up next.

In extending his undefeated career slate to 4-for-4, the son of Ghostbuster, from the Seeking the Gold mare, Ivory Empress, powered passed eight rivals and to the top slot of the Kentucky Derby Power 10 in HorseRaceInsider’s initial 3-year-old poll of 2017.

His narrow margin over last week’s impressive Holy Bull Stakes winner, Irish War Cry, gives every indication that this is going to be a highly contentious playoffs run as sophomore racers prepare for the “mile and a quarter without any water” on May’s first Saturday.

With the exception of seventh-ranked Gunnevera, who took a few starts before getting his act together and his races lengthened, the other 10 runners on the list—there was a tie for last slot between Uncontested and Practical Joke—are a combined 15-for-19 lifetime.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (16)

Winning is the only thing, according to a Derby trend

One loss shouldn't dash the hopes of Kentucky Derby prospects but a trend over the past five years indicates that it's a bad omen. The five most recent Derby winners have gone 12-for-12 in their preps. Throw out a defeat in a grass race by Animal Kingdom and another year is added to the streak. Meanwhile, the likelihood of sports betting winning approval in the courts or by Congress grows. But would this be a bad thing for racing?

Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (16)
Shed a tear for Hialeah thanks to latest travesty


Hialeah, still beautiful as ever, continues to descend into racing oblivion. The latest travesty is as outrageous as the Metropolitan Museum of Art being transformed into a brothel would be. A quarterhorse meet has been used to justify Hialeah being allowed to operate a slots casino and poker room. Now that is being abandoned in favor of some sort of sham racing where as few as two horses gallop--in a manner of speaking--down a path. The only consolation is, it might not come to pass if decoupling is approved by the Florida legislature this spring.


Written by Tom Jicha | Comments (4)

A Handicapping Look-In on Saturday’s White Pearl at Gulfstream

A look at Saturday's Late Pick 4 feature race as it appears without the star ratings. If interested in more, as well as an analysis of the other three races comprising the P4 sequence, information is available at JohnPricci.com

RACE 11: WHITE PEARL STAKES F & M 4 & UP 7 Furlongs


1 - MOMENT OF DELIGHT (6-1) PR: 93
Was a good third mid-moving into strong pace in quickly run Sunshine Millions Sprint going 6F Jan 21. Best Pricci Rating earned at this trip and track lover is (13) 4-3-1 here, 1-for-6 everywhere else. Might try shaking loose from pole on the stretchout assuming alert break beneath Saez.

2 – MINES AND MAGIC (4-1) PR: 94
Makes GP debut at a trip she likes (2) 1-1-0 while making first start after winning the Dogwood in her Churchill finale last fall. Well spotted at this grade and has been working well at deepish Payson, but barn not particularly known for prowess with returnees. Very tricky call.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (0)
Pardon the Interruption

Our apologies for site interruption. We are at Tampa Bay Downs covering Tampa Derby Preview Day. Will report on it Monday. Thanks once again for your patience and understanding.

Today's Feature Race is the Tampa Bay Stakes taking Coco Mon (8-1) to win at 5-1 or greater, exacta box with Kasaqui (3-1).


As the first meaningful prep day of the Kentucky Derby season, the races provided a decidedly mixed bag of results.

In Aqueduct’s Withers Stakes, El Areeb’s star status was confirmed in a completely comprehensive victory. Alas, one can't say the same for Santa Anita’s Robert B. Lewis, but Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull Stakes sent two messages; one positive, one mystifying.

What it all means, especially including the return of the 2016 juvenile champion Classic Empire, will probably require a little more time to provide conclusive Derby perspective.


Written by John Pricci | Comments (9)



 


Track News Releases
Track News Releases
GULFSTREAM TODAY Thu 2/16/2017

Well-Bred 3-Year-old Filly Debuts with ‘Fabulous’ Victory
Saturday’s Card to Feature Guaranteed Multi-Race Wager Pools
Late Pick 4 - $300,000; Late Pick 5 - $200,000; Rainbow 6 - $200,000
Carryovers for Friday's Card: Super Hi-5 - $47,815; Rainbow 6 - $35,494


Feb 17 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
Toni Tools goes against state breds again in Sunday’s Franklin Square

Rice enters formidable pair for Broadway

OZONE PARK, N.Y.
- Toni Tools will look to continue her success in stakes races in headlining a 10-horse field in the third running of the $100,000 Franklin Square for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs on the inner dirt track…


Feb 17 | Categories: Aqueduct, |
McCRAKEN SETS TRACK RECORD IN SAM F. DAVIS TOUR DE FORCE

OLDSMAR, FL. – McCraken lived up to all the hype. And then some.

The unbeaten 3-year-old colt extended his record to 4-for-4 with a one-and-a-half length victory from Tapwrit in the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in stakes and track-record time of 1:42.45…


Feb 12 | Categories: Tampa Bay Downs, |
INSPECTOR LYNLEY REWARDS HIS HALL OF FAME TRAINER AND JOCKEY

OLDSMAR, FL. – After a troubled start cost Inspector Lynley all chance in the Tropical Park Derby on Dec. 31, jockey John Velazquez asked trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey to let him ride the colt in his next start.

The two Hall of Fame members got the best out of Inspector Lynley…


Feb 12 | Categories: Tampa Bay Downs, |
TAPA TAPA TAPA UPSETS ELATE IN SUNCOAST STAKES

OLDSMAR, FL. – Before the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, all eyes were on 3-10 favorite Elate from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer William Mott.

That was just the way the connections of Tapa Tapa Tapa liked it.

Racing on dirt for the first time in…


Feb 12 | Categories: Tampa Bay Downs, |
Gulfstream Today 2.11.17

Sunday Rainbow 6 Carryover $90,000

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Gulfstream Park's 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a carryover of $90,184.74 when racing resumes Sunday afternoon.

Multiple winning tickets in Saturday's Rainbow 6, which included victories by Almanaar in the…


Feb 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
$350,000 Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Quotes

Trainer Jorge Navarro (Sharp Azteca): “I couldn’t have asked for a better plan. Breaking was slow, they kind of bumped him and I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened?’ When [Blofeld] went with him, that’s what I wanted. I really wanted a horse to go with him, because this horse can get lazy. If you…


Feb 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
$150,000 Suwannee River (G3) Quotes

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin (Dickinson): “[Her last race] was a funny effort. Johnny Velazquez is not only a great Hall of Fame rider, he’s a friend; he just came back and said I couldn’t get her to go around the turn. Thinking back she hadn’t gone two turns before, so maybe that helped us today…


Feb 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
$350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) Quotes

Trainer Chad Brown (Almanaar): “He ran great the last race. The other horse [Flatlined] beat him fair and square, he followed him the whole race. Joe Bravo, riding the Flatlined horse, got up at wire and beat him. I think this horse today had a little more room to work at an mile and an eighth. He…


Feb 12 | Categories: Gulfstream, |
‘HOME-TEAM’ HOPEFULS R ANGEL KATELYN, KASAQUI LOOKING SHARP

OLDSMAR, FL. – The rock stars are coming to Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday.
With three graded stakes races on the Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South card, and $650,000 in stakes purse money on the line, some of the world’s top trainers and greatest jockeys will be on the scene.

Feb 9 | Categories: Tampa Bay Downs, |
NO DOZING, McCRAKEN READY FOR DAVIS

NESS CLAIMS TRAINER OF MONTH

OLDSMAR, FL. – A few railbirds did a double-take today when they spotted Arnaud Delacour, the trainer of Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes entrant No Dozing, schooling the colt in the paddock between races.

With six workouts…


Feb 8 | Categories: Tampa Bay Downs, |
Gulfstream Today 2.8.17

Overnight Stakes Win Puts Third Day on Triple Crown Trail
Sophomore Colt Ends Layoff Winning $60,000 Just One More
Guaranteed Pools in Pick 4, Pick 5, Rainbow 6 for Saturday Feb. 11
20-Cent Rainbow 6 Carryover $10,770 for Thursday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL –…


Feb 8 | Categories: Gulfstream, |