The Horse Race Insider is a privately owned magazine. All copyrights reserved. “Bet with your head, not over it.”

The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing



HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, July 1, 2021 — Whenever a big, traditional holiday weekend came into New York, the great Harvey Pack would always suggest to his audience that they spend quality time with their families “but plan to come out to see us on one of those days.”

With the benefit of a quirky calendar, that one day could be Friday JUL 2 up to and including JUL 5. So there are no excuses; treat yourself and support your local racetrack.

I have been a fan of the Summit of Speed even while I lived in New York. Calder created the event. I was never a big fan of the racing there, grass notwithstanding, but the Smile and Princess Rooney were always terrific races. I’ll be at Gulfstream Park Saturday for the program.

But there’s so much going on, starting Friday when Prairie Meadows celebrates it simulcast day in the sun. Indeed, they are offering three stakes, the Iowa Derby, G3 Iowa Oaks, and G3 Cornhusker Handicap. And, of course, if you grade it or throw enough money at it, the interlopers will come.

In for Derby will be quite familiar names: Proxy (4-1), recently scratched by Michael Stidham in favor of this 1-1/16 miles, G1 Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock (7-2) and G1 Woody Stephens third, Nova Rocks (5-1).

The G3 Oaks attracted seven but it appears an open affair with G2 Black-Eyed Susan winner Army Wife (5-2), G3 winning Pauline’s Pearl (2-1) and Busanda winner The Grass Is Blue (5-1, first time for the Bill Mott outfit.

The G3 Cornhusker at nine furlongs is an interesting race as Knicks Go (1-1) tries to re-establish his best form after fading to fourth as the 4-5 Met Mile favorite, Pimlico Special winner Last Judgment (4-1) and Modernist (5-1) a G3 winner of the Excelsior two back.

Unlike most racetracks that have eliminated the use of raceday Lasix in their graded stakes, not so Prairie Meadows which will deliver a double dose of legal goodness, Lasix and Bute.

Parenthetically, haven’t seen the ‘B’ word in quite some time.

We’ll take a deeper dive into these races tomorrow and possibly include two Saturday features at Delaware Park, the G3 Kent and G3 Delaware Oaks. On Friday and Saturday, the big cards from Belmont Park and Gulfstream Park.

PRAIRIE MEADOWS, Letter Grade Contenders

+++IOWA DERBY Race 6

A- 1-Proxy (4-1), 9-Nova Rags (5-1)

B- 2-Super Stock (7-2), 8-Snow House (8-1)

C- 6-RIghtandjust (6-1)

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 1-9. Exacta Wheel 1.9 // Trifecta Wheel 1.9 // //

+++G3 IOWA OAKS Race 7

A- 2-Pauline’s Pearl (2-1), 1-Army Wife (5-2)

B- 5-Grass Is Greener (5-1)

C- 6-Oliviaofthedesert (6-1), 4-Shesa Mystery (12-1)

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 1-2. Exacta Wheel 1.2 // 1.2.5. Trifecta Wheel 1.2 //1.2.5 //


A- 5-Knicks Go (1-1), 7-Modernist (5-1)

B- 4-Last Judgment (4-1), 6-Rated R Superstar (8-1)

C- 3-Tenfold (6-1)

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 5-7. Exacta Wheel: 5.7 // Trifecta Wheel 5.7 //4.,5.6.7 //



A- 7-Crazy Beautiful (6-5)

B- 3-Midnight Obsession (4-1), 4-Juror Number Four (6-1), 6-Leader of the Band (8-1)

C- none

EXOTICA: Exacta Key Box: 7 // 3.4.6. Exacta Key: 7 over 3.4.6. Trifecta Key: 7 over 3.4.6.



A- 9-Viadera (4-5), 3-Princess Grace (3-1)

B- 4-Piedi Bianchi (12-1), 1-Honey Cake (4-1)

C- 7-Medita (8-1)

EXOTICA: Exacta Box 3-9. Exacta Wheel 3.9 // Trifecta Wheel: 9 // 1.3.4 //


A- 6-Happy Saver (6-5), 4-Mystic Guide (1-1)

B- none

C- 1-Moretti (10-1), 3-Prioritize (12-1)

EROTICA: Exacta Box 4-6. Exacta Wheel 4.6 // Trifecta Wheel: 4.6 //4.6 //1.3



  1.  6-Diamond Oops (5-2), 4-Chance It (3-1), 8-Miles Ahead (4-1)
  2.  none
  3.  1-Frosted Grace (6-1), 5-Double Crown (9-2)

EXOTICA:  Exacta Box 4.6.8  Trifecta Wheel 4.6.8 //4.6.8 //


  1. 5-Ce Ce (3-1), 1-Estilo Talentoso (5-2) 4-Pacific Gale (4-1)
  2.  none
  3. 3-Thisismytime (6-1), 6-Laura’s Light (7-2), 7-Hallawallah (20-1)

EXOTICA:  Exacta Box 1.4.5  Trifecta Wheel 1.4.5 //1.4.5 //

All recommended wagers proportional at minimums available

this is a live column that will be upgraded throughout the weekend

Share on facebook
Facebook Share
Share on twitter
Twitter Share
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn Share
Share on email
Share on print

⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

40 Responses

  1. In 1967, Single Needle won the Cornhusker at Ak-Sar-Ben. He finished his career in 1971 with an incredible 112 lifetime starts.

    1. Not as incredible as you may think. Needless to say, racehorses were generally far more durable in those days, so relative to today’s typical runners, 100+ starts is extraordinary. But for some context, Needles, the sire of Single Needle, got at least 10 runners that raced over 100 times in their careers, including one named Thistle Bed, which started 208 times, including an excellent 24-34-28 record.

      Two hundred and eight starts! Today’s career average is ~15.

      1. Thanks, Tink. Another horse to add to the hard knocker hall of fame. The greatest number of lifetime starts I know of is 261 by Dot The T. from 1974 to 1985.

      2. Dot The T. 261 starts 1974 to 1985
        Catch Poppy 246 starts 1975 to 1986
        Sharon Caper 244 starts 1986 to 1998
        Port Conway Lane 242 starts 1971 to 1983
        Troy Knight 235 starts 1975 to 1986
        Diplomatic Gossip 230 starts 1977 to 1989
        Lancer’s Pride 217 starts 1976 to 1987
        Sir Prize Birthday 206 starts 1982 to 1992
        Facilitate 205 starts 1977 to 1988
        Noble But Nasty 200 starts 1984 to 1994
        Bold Fencer 200 starts 1979 to 1988

        1. The database that I consult is far from complete, but…

          Dot The T. was by an Argentinian stallion, so there is little information available

          I can’t find anything on Catch Poppy

          Sharon Caper was by an obscure son of Northern Dancer called Cartesian; he did get at least one other runner that started 100+ times

          Port Conway Lane was by Bold Commander, which also got a starter of 153 races

          can’t find Troy Knight

          Diplomatic Gossip was by Star Envoy, which got at least one other 100+ runner

          Lancer’s Pride was by Protanto

          Facilitate was by the great Nashua, which got at least 13 runners of 100+ starts

          Noble But Nasty was by Nasty and Bold, which, interestingly, also sired a gelding called Callisto, which raced 210 times, as well as Lese Majeste, which started 190 times, and a few more 100+ starters

          Bold Fencer was by Cannonade, which got one other 100+ starter that I could find

          1. Catch Poppy was sired by Poppy Jay. This is an incomplete list. Lifetime starts in (). Please point out any errors.

            Poppy Jay (130) SIRED:

            Catch Poppy (246), April Poppy (147), Jay Lea (130), Pancho Jay (115), Double Poppy Jay (85), Poppy Beau (81), Screen Writer (71), Poppy Miss (68), Ajic Jay (63), Bellzapoppin (52), Po Jay (50), Priceless Jewel (46), Polar Miss (43), Begas Kid (42), Teely Tooly (41), Swift Poppy (38), Special Poppy (37), Miami Holiday (33), Jo Bebe (32), Mean Mr. Green (30), Perfect Poppy (28), Popping (25), Fashion Spot (23), Cherri Jay (21), Pickerel Lake (20), Cherri Split (13), Ellenburger (12), Tudor Poppy (11), Janie Lee (10), Daddy’s Here (0), Honey Pop (0), Miss Smoker (0)

          2. Hi Dan,

            I have a somewhat longer list of Poppy Jay’s runners, including Poppy’s Cutup (127 starts), Second Passage (138), and Imperial Majesty (135). Given that Poppy Jay was not a fashionable sire (I seem to recall him having stood in Ohio at one stage of career), and that we have access to only a portion of the records of his runners, a minimum of seven runners that started over 100 times strikes me as being rather impressive!

          3. Interesting! I caught the tail end of Nashua’s stud career, and did not associate him with soundness in particular. But he certainly got some “hickory” runners.

      3. With all this great stuff between you and DanM–we have been calling for the creation of an Elias Sports book for racing I think for over two decades now. I guess there’s not a single alphabet organization that’s interested enough in the history of the game. Until the industry acts big time, it never will be…

  2. Talk about the way-back zone; great trivia chestnut DM. Don’t recall the horse at all, will check it…

  3. With all this history I have been posting here in the last few weeks, I should acknowledge that it is 2021 and make a selection.

    I like Gagetown in the Iowa Derby. The other Cox horse, Snow House, looks like speed that can set the pace for Gagetown to close in the stretch. Geroux is 5 for 5 ITM riding Gagetown.

    1. Dan, Mr. Stidham has been spot shopping with Proxy and I believe this looks like the right spot. That’s horse racing right? Either way, a safe journey to all…

      1. Jose Ortiz wins riding the longest shot on the board. At least I have plenty of company looking like a damned fool.

        1. It is now Saturday morning; still can’t make him Dan. Maybe it is jockey racing?? It happens…

    1. Given the layup vs. recency angle Doc, when two horses appear fairly evenly matched based on past results, that’s interesting enough, and when it involves horses of this quality, makes the result even more compelling…

  4. It’s funny to look at the odds last time they met – in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, then, now and forever a BELMONT PARK signature race, Happy Saver as the 2/1 second choice got by 7/1 Mystic Guide in the stretch. The victory averse Tacitus ran 3rd as the 3/5 favorite.

  5. Happy Democracy Day to all honest and true patriots even while many people are working to make it America’s last.

    Enjoy a great 4th!

  6. Saturday July 3.2021
    Belmont Park

    9th race- #1 Honey Cake (4-1) The rail and the speed for a 36 percent trainer in 2021. Takes Franco to ride. That trainer/jockey couple are 4/8 (50%) at this meet. Thomas is 25% +180 days, 28% in routes and 21% on turf. We know 7f in Europe is like running 1 mile in America and his numbers are competitive. He’s the pick. Is it possible the late double could be Stidham/Saez double ? Yes, He’s fast enough, lightly races, draws inside and has numbers that fit. We will finish our exotics with Piedi Bianchi (12-1) who may be a tad better on dirt, stretching out another furlong for a Wiley trainer and excellent turf jockey. The favorite draws outside, is a grade 1 winner for Brown/Rosario in a very contentious race.

    10th race-What to do ? what to do ? The favorite Mystic Guide lays over the field on number power and at even money looks like the value in the race. My guess ? He won’t be even money. I don’t like to bet a horse who just traveled to the UAE, won and now makes his comeback race in a grade 2 prep for something bigger on the horizon. He’s never won at Belmont and was beaten by Happy Saver in the Grade 1 Jockey club gold cup at this distance last October. Happy Saver who is undefeated at Belmont Park and never lost at the distance, second off a layoff, is lightly raced, should be more than 6/5 for the formable duo of Pletcher/ Ortiz Jr. He’s faster out of the gate and is stretching out in his second off a layoff. He’s never lost. He’s the pick. To complete the triple in a short field that offers little value, we can reach for the #1 Moretti (10-1) if we can get Happy Saver up to 2/1-5/2.

    Let’s go out and get those bad guy’s, Vin

  7. I cashed on half my wagers based on the HRI analysis and doubled my base today. Missed yesterday but did well enough today. Even picked up a free $10 additional credit on my Twinspires account off of a bet $50 promo over the first week of July: Wager $50 and get back $10. Sweet. Thanks John. Vin’s race 9 was a scratch so it made my “final answer” easier, and I took a pass on wagering on race #10. If I had a Moretti, at the end of the day, I would have been tempted to pop it open. Maybe one day we’ll get to cash on a Foster Moretti double. That should more than cover the cost of a good bottle of “bottilia de vino de rosa”. No doubt I get graded a D on my attempt at Irish Italian verse.

  8. Man,even nice tracks look bad on dreary or rainy days- wet track conditions. Scratches,off turf,limited entries whether it’s Assiniboia or Belmont in a July 4 the weekend when reality does not come close to half the expectations. BF Skinner was right on this: Don’t expect too much,you ll be disappointed. Bet early and went back to fight the serpentine NY traffic. Too many scratches ! Was even until the last race where that $ 56 plus exacta of 5-4 made me smile,,well almost., If the 1 horse would have been part of the gimmick.Ps: I see that “Top Five” gimmick and wonder how long before the NYRA offers this other ridiculous shot in the dark,although,gotta admit,I might like it better than those other Pick5,,Pick 6 vertical races. Can beat one race but not easy to beat them all( 5,6). Pss: Bottilia de vino de Rosa sounds Espanol. If you wanted to say A bottle of Rose’s Wine,in Italian,would likely be Una Bottiglia Di Vino Rosato,BUT,i don’t think that besides a rare signorina,I have ever heard an Italian man,,order Rosato… it’s watered down stuff,just like today’s Table wine. Would you put ice cubes in your glass of beer? We ve had wine and peaches with a couple of ice cubes,,when we could not wait for the Vino to get cold. Happy 4th with steaks ,Merlot, Nero D Avola. A good ,strong wine stays Sincere.Rosato is Not one of them.Centanni !

  9. JGR, Rumor has it The Editor in Chief does a pretty good analysis of the vino reds as well as the horses. Maybe better on wines than even the equine runners, and the oats consumed. Not sure about Best Supporting Actor Analyst “Vino” O’Connell however. Suspect he might be a tad light on the Dosage Index on grapes of any pigment. Irish pedigree?

    P.S. Any beer on ice is always a safer choice than drinking a warm one. After cutting the grass, and there’s not even one cold beer to be found in the fridge, its time to crack open an ice tray my friend. I downshifted on drinking the high test brews myself, but Athletic Brewing produces a nice selection of 0.5’s (unleaded) that are as good or better than many session beers running at 4% Alc. Ice works on them as well in a pinch. Lagunitas is another with a good NA brew. I’ll pass on the Coors Lights thank you.

    Have a great July 4th to all at HRI. Bet with your heads over the next two days, and stay in balance with your libations of choice as well. Stars and Stripes goes up on the lawn again in the AM. I began my days as PFC McD back on July 8 1968. So long ago, but still like it was all yesterday. It was only a few years prior to that day that I watched Carry Back win the Roses, and I became a life long fan of racing. Met a lot of really nice people along the way including many individuals whose comments I read daily in the HRI Leave a Reply section.

    So “Riders Up” once more it is. To answer Benjamin Franklin’s conundrum John, my take away about the sun on the back of the famous chair at Independence Hall is that it is a rising sun and not a setting one. We Americans rise up to greet that rising sun once more tomorrow. God Bless us for staying active and dedicated to our rights, and always chosing the moral high ground in our country’s defense. To be passive is indeed simply being complicit to the madness that surrounds us.

  10. McD you know your beers. Did the long layoff cost Mystic Guide the WIN? He looked like a tired horse in the final 1/16th. Not changing leads until late in deep stretch. While Max Player just kept on grinding. One thing we knew about Max he wants to run long. Linda Rice said that about him last year. Not sure we saw the BEST Mystic Guide but take nothing away from Max.

    Who wins the match race among these Godolphin runners; Mystic Guide, Maxfield or Essential Quality?

    Happy 4th All…

  11. Tony, I think Vincent OConnell’s analysis going into the race was spot on. The UAE comment alone kept me from wagering on the race. Suspect Mystic Guide was the better/best horse in the field, but just just not the runner on 7/3 in Elmont. Such is racing. When the odds are short and the outcome perceived uncertain, the best bet at times is simply not to bet at all.

    As for the match later this year, right now I like EQ. The fall races are still a long way off, so best to keep an open mind.

    1. Good analysis and sage advice McD. Meanwhile, in that hypothetical Godolphin match, my mind’s eye says Maxfield at 9 furlongs and either of the other two at 10 furlongs, depending on the races they exit next. The three-year-old has upside and will get a few pounds on the scale–that could be the difference right there…

  12. Only played fast pitch….breaking a neighbors window was an automatic homer but you still had to pay for the window….on the plus side no double pained glass back in the fifties early sixties…now a days who among us could pitch a full inning?…drove a truck down with my brothers to the Miami suburbs in the early 80’s helping friends move, and while there had a Fla school yard buzzing about what we were up to when drawing up a strike zone on a wall…best game ever…a spaldeen high bouncer and a cut of rake handle and you were good for the afternoon…need to teach the game to my grandkids…who would have ever thought that horseracing would ever have outlasted stick ball…not to worry about a runner later today,…as you alluded to Harvey, Toni gets equal time. Spend some of the Stars and Stripes Day with family…

    in closing one last comment John, you really should listen to or read “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson…over 12 hours long and I am almost finished listening to the audio ebook. It has been quite an eye opener in terms of global history…turns out we are all byproducts of a caste…even the fragile state of our democracy…a must listen to is all…guarantee you will learn more than whatever was presented at B. Loughlin or even later in life with the Johnnies. I was a product of similar curriculum with the Jebbies Brooklyn and I can’t believe that so much of our true history has been covered over by all venues, indirectly by our collective families and relatives all as well. Caste is just the way all of society evolved. It explains why we are and where we are today. United and at the same time divided. Devil’s world it is.

    My take is that not even His disciples understood the powers of caste John. The Boss did, but not so much his understudies. But what the hell do I know. I don’t get any of it. I’ve been third party told off that I’m just a boo-hoo democrat anyway. Done ranting I am. Going out to pick some raspberries for my neighbors (whether they like me or not, no diff to me). I figure most everyone likes raspberries. Kinda like a modern day olive branch is all. Peace.

  13. Ah, yes McD, the parable of the loaves and the raspberries, I remember it well.

    I’ll ask Toni to contact Bezos and order the audio book, not much time left after reading all the industry missives and past performances. I could listen as I go.

    Probably misinterpreting but finding the July 4th vibe understated this year but that’s probably just me.

    Meanwhile, while practicing my hand eye as a kid, hit a rock with a baseball bat; got all of it and it flew across the street and broke the glass of a shoemaker’s storefront. My father was none too pleased, it was an expensive repair. My first serious lesson in actions have consequences…

  14. P.S. Nothing better than a new spaldeen, allowing you to play baseball anywhere; hated those mushy pennsy pinkies (sp)?

  15. Only used Pennsylvania Pinks when the spaldeens were sold out….listening to the end of Caste this morning and suddenly cut off expired…time limited with the library audio to 3 weeks, must have been in the very last hour…will get back on the ebook wait list and listen’s that good….used to also set up a wheelbarrow in the back yard using logs as the base…taped up a wiffle ball with electrical tape for some great games…run to first as quick as you could get there and then jam on the brakes before running into the mulberry tree …John the bookie from down the street used to bet us that none of my brothers and I could strike him out. He would pop afew over the fence and then strike out…he always tossed us a five spot at the end of his batting practice…miss those days of innocence lost. My brother Pete was always Duke Snidering rocks from home plate. To me the possible downside just wasn’t worth the risk…have a good 5th John. Might look into a few David A. picks on the NYRA board later in the day…was over at my son’s and wanted to wager a couple of bucks on Mind Control over Fire Frech when I saw 2-5, but betting was already closed. Let that one slip away….thinking Johnnie V. was up…all the more reason to go after the over bet chalk.

    1. Wonder who is now going to pay for Breen’s helicopter entrance… Yes, Johnny V, and first-time Todd…

  16. Don’t know about the chopper, but indirectly we pay the wages for John & Todd both, so I kind of guess it must be us as well. As Leona once said “the rich don’t pay”. Funny how some were experts on taxes, but don’t know nothing about tax codes now. ff to check out Sadlers Joy in the 6th at Sandy. .

  17. ‘Sadler’ is such a cool horse but sadly is not getting any younger. He needs three things for best: firm ground, a solid pace and an inside-out trip…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *