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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Saratoga Springs, NY, August 14, 2022 — On occasion, I run into a sports fan, one who just doesn’t get it about horse racing, and asks me “why do you do this?”

Depending on the kind of day I’m having, I might respond, “I often wonder that myself.” was conceived, as many of the HRI Faithful are aware, Derby Week of 2007. Thank you Street Sense for not making a fool out of me.

It was intended to be as voice to and for the people, holding horse racing to account. Not that being in this game is something bad–quite the opposite, in fact. There is no apologizing for a way of life that, in its fashion, communes with nature.

But any game where big, fast money is involved, at whatever level, from the sales ring to the betting ring, needs a watchful eye.

Simply stated, I love the game, warts and all, and a majority of the people in it. They know who they are, and who they are not. It’s given me a life. I’ve met great people, have had the big fun, the excitement; a score here and there, and heartbreaks aplenty.

The best part of the day is during morning training, before the blood-letting begins. Every day is full of possibility. Most people you see are in a good mood; doing what they love.

The horse is a beautiful beast, wondrous, and magnificent. Awesome. Scary. To those who love them, care for them, or just plain admire them, they are godlike creatures with heads held high.

For almost every turf writer I know, it’s also about comraderie, the sharing of great backstories, the bad beats, the scores, an atmosphere that carries into the grandstand and clubhouse of racetracks, from the half-milers to Belmont Park.

These are the people to whom you relate, who get you, and you get them.

So you do your best to entertain, to inform, sometimes enrich your horse-playing colleagues, and the fans, the ones who do know which end eats and appreciate the beauty and rhythm of a horse race, a slow-motion classical piece until it explodes furiously in the final strides, heads up and down at the wire.

These are my horse racing soulmates, the ones who appreciate all of if: the animals, the little guy at the end of the shedrow who cares for them, and the stoopers, too; horseplayers who survey floors, heads bowed at the end of a race day in search of a miracle, a carelessly discarded win ticket, staying alive, by any means necessary.

Sometimes these people find you, one of the few saving graces about social media and hosting a horse racing website. Back in the beginning, one such horseplayer with those qualities found us here. He went, and still goes, by the name, Indulto.

I related to him immediately. His words indicated that he cared about the other guy. He was about being fair, about making the game better.

We bonded because I once had a thing for Indulto, the racehorse, a King Ranch color-bearer trained by legendary Max Hirsch. I first laid eyes on him as a two-year-old. He finished third in Buckpasser’s ’65 Hopeful. It was the start of a prodigious career.

Indulto, the man, had a good story idea, pitched it, and asked if he could write a piece for the site. That was the idea behind the Dealer’s Choice column section of HRI, a means to provide a voice to horseplayers and stakeholders with something to say.

And so began a relationship that has lasted through the years. Sadly, not many have taken advantage of our Vox Populi feature, but Indulto always has, and the site is better for his presence.

The following came in a Thursday night email. Indulto allowed me to share this message with all of you:

On Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 08:00:16 PM EDT, Indulto wrote:

Dear John,

Have been hospitalized for 4 weeks, but they cannot save me this time.

Thanks for being a wonderful friend and mentor, publishing what I thought was important even when it was not popular with most of the HRI Faithful.

Goodbye to MCD, Tabasco Cat, TTT, wmc, and especially Nick Kling and Andy Asaro.

You all enhanced my life in meaningful ways.

Thank you,


Right back at you, I.

Your presence is an inspiration to go forward, even when broaching those subjects that were “not popular with the HRI Faithful.” And I dare say some racing officials, too.

You had something to say, and said it with grace and style, even if some of the edges needed honing from the time time.

It was, and always will remain, the message that counts here. You embodied the best of what this game can be, and I’m proud to have shared your thoughts in this space.

This is horse racing, and everybody counts.

May the trail rise up to meet you my friend…

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⚠ 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.

24 Responses

  1. Respectfully, I concur with much of your feelings, intentions about people who respect those who love the equine athletes esp. those who are trying to care for the horses After they’re done with racing and maybe I even envy them for their sacrifices in helping those now older horses not anymore welcomed into any racing barn. When I saw that even Miss Acacia, now Mrs. Clement, and her mother, are among those who are trying to let those former runners enjoy, or at least live their remaining yrs in open spaces, relaxing in their daily routine. Most of us have had the pleasure of having met some individual who shared our interest in horse racing with mutual respect and acceptance of any different opinion, as long as we skipped talking about politics, religion and some other nonsensical stuff !😁 I was just thinking about a former friend, now gone, from smoking too many old burnt leaves with too many chemical cigarettes. Enjoyed his short company and flair, rare among those who devoured the DRF Just to find One Sprint race to win an exacta: Frank S. I’m talking about you, and you still owe me for that MDN Special Weights angle which made you thousand$. Still missing you, leaving a void forever.
    Just watched the movie Let it Ride again, a tragicomic farse about gamblers but with a great actor in its major protagonist role and a Tilly sister for a lollypop. Other than that, nothing realistic except for the barn area. Did Irad Ortiz, presumptuously, lose that big race ?Why couldn’t he be more forward while chasing slow fractions? Anyway, even if I got a couple of DDs and Exactas early did nothing but include winners in my late gimmicks,,, losing the last four races, and to think that IF I would have been a horizontal player would have hit the Pick 6 with my 3 picks in each race.., but nothing else. Third race was my only triple. Sunday starts Minus 4,ouch ! Congrats to well dressed Tom Amoss for his 4000 win! Let us appreciate who deserves a pat on the back while tightly, sincerely shaking their hands !Friends don’t grow as fast as they used to. Many just vanish away….Salute 🥂🍷

    1. JG, you undeniably remain the king of the run-on sentence, but somewhere in there was a message that you appreciate horses, the horsemen and horsewomen, and that you miss your horse playing buddy. That’s what the site is for, that and picking the occasional winner. I’m sure Indulto approves…

      1. Ahemn,Not that I’d want to be compared to Charles Dickens,E.Hemingway or William Faulkner ,all famous run on sentences guys,,but next time I will use more Comma Splices! e.e. cummings ‘ style suits you ?😁

        1. A little more attention to detail shows courtesy to the audience is all. Wouldn’t want you to be embarrassed…

  2. Mr. Ed, err Indulto: Very saddened after reading your email to Mr. Pricci. I have hoped numerous times that you would come forward and identify yourself, as I much prefer to communicate with a known person rather than a horse. I always enjoyed your command of the English language and your smooth comments here at HRI, even when you were on offense with me. Though we rarely agreed on any subject involving Thoroughbred racing, I am pleased that we are on the same side with the most important matter facing this country.

    I will always remember the individual using the name Indulto who brought class and contributed intelligent commentary to readers here at HRI.

  3. Saving nickles, BETTING dimes, LOL
    Working THE DRF til the sun don’t shine
    Looking forward to happier times
    On Blue Bayou…

    Preech and Indy,

    Tough game this, tough life this, tough news this…

    Please say it ain’t so… sending prayers to my buddy Indy. A lot of fun times back in the day commenting with you Indy. Like the old warrior horse of your namesake you always showed up with a proper spin to a thread or comment. Your writing with statistics and commentary especially during the Triple Crown was always a great read. You also gave worthy insight of the racing landscape out west where you would settle just like your namesake. Preech provides a fantastic venue of his wonderful take, knowledge and writing skills and Indy brought the site to an even greater level. Big respect! Thank You! Sorta like Linda Ronstadt brought the Roy Orbison song Blue Bayou to higher level. I remember you loved Linda!

    I always like commenters who went by a horse name for it often tells a hidden story. For those who don’t know; Indulto the horse raced 89 times and won 27 and finished in the money 54 times. Although not competing in the Triple Crown, he won top 3yr old races like the Jim Dandy and the Withers. Then headed out west to win Stakes Handicaps at Hollywood and Santa Anita. An old school warrior horse! Finishing his career at age nine with a win! Big respect! Different times Indeed!

    Unfortunately the present times have taken the fun out of everything. While horse racing and sports give us that great entertainment distraction from the real world, the great divide has made everything less enjoyable. Coupled with the pandemic and it’s tragic loss of life to which has broken my heart and brought a different meaning to life. Like Preech says “Every day is full of possibility”. Maybe we’ll all wake up and come together as one. Prayers to us all.

    Perhaps the words of Roy and voice of Linda will bring healing powers. I hope you feel better, love you buddy Indy.

    I feel so bad I got a worried mind
    I’m so lonesome all the time
    Since I left my baby behind
    On Blue Bayou

    Saving nickles, saving dimes
    Working til the sun don’t shine
    Looking forward to happier times
    On Blue Bayou

    I’m going back someday
    Come what may
    To Blue Bayou
    Where the folks are fun
    And the world is mine
    On Blue Bayou

    Where those fishing boats
    With their sails afloat
    If I could only see
    That familiar sunrise
    Through sleepy eyes
    How happy I’d be

    Gonna see my baby again
    Gonna be with some of my friends
    Maybe I’ll feel better again
    On Blue Bayou

    Saving nickles saving dimes
    Working til the sun don’t shine
    Looking forward to happier times
    On Blue Bayou

    I’m going back someday
    Come what may
    To Blue Bayou
    Where the folks are fun
    And the world is mine
    On Blue Bayou

    Where those fishing boats
    With their sails afloat
    If I could only see
    That familiar sunrise
    Through sleepy eyes
    How happy I’d be

    Oh that gal of mine
    By my side
    The silver moon
    And the evening tide
    Oh some sweet day
    Gonna take away
    This hurting inside
    Well I’ll never be blue
    My dreams come true
    On Blue Bayou…

    1. “I always like commenters who went by a horse name for it often tells a hidden story.”

      You are wise

  4. Yep,time takes us out,one at a time.Every time i visit the old OTB hang out,someone is either missing or moved out.Sunny skies or Celestial Rest.And it makes you think about that person.His ways,voice,accent, laughter,leaving a void forever.RIP. Trepidations on my first bet today,Sunday,8-14-2022,after a 4 race losing streak on yesterday’s chosen races. Today’s menu only included the 1,2,5,7 and 10th races.Hit the $86 exacta( x30) plus a dozen times the DD, the 2 nd race $ 97 exacta a few times which meant that i went to basic bets on the winning 5 th,hitting $ 32 ex.and $ 186 triple. Back to basics on the 7 th with a $ 52 exacta,closing with the 10 th race exacta and triple. Question remains: What if i would have missed the First bet ? Would i have bet over $ 100 exactas ? Honestly,i doubt it. That’s a situational problem i would really Hate to face.

    1. Confessional; on average, i generally bet three or more exacta combinations….hoping that the second or third choice wins over the others: more $$ value. The adulation for Rosario continues with his winning % on Saratoga Stake races. Would not be the same for Irad Ortiz, I’m sure, even if he continues to win more races than anyone else .Reputation, respect ,likability. Nothing personal ( yeah ,right ! ).

    1. You know, Doc, we never met either, but we exchanged many emails, ideas, and generally wanted what was best for all. He is a true kindred spirit, friend to all players and fans.

      1. Yeah I hear you – always great to converse with people like that. Speaking of which, I assume you won’t be up here at all during the Aqueduct meet, but a beer or a soda is on me when I come down to GP next winter.

  5. Indy:

    I’m wishing you all the best for whatever time you have remaining on Earth. Your contributions on these pages were huge and very much appreciated. You didn’t hold back, you let it fly and your wisdom was always very well written and thought provoking – even when we were on opposite sides. Take care, my friend.

    1. Good of you to say, Richard. That’s horse racing, right? A difference of opinion. But if it marks a way forward, that’s what we strive–at least what we should strive for, anyway…

  6. 2 consecutive profitable days help and I have a fighting chance with 50 wagers remaining, but I sure dug myself into a deep hole by going 2 for 23 in 8 racing days. Que l’on continue.

    SAR 2022: 22 for 70, minus $380, minus 27% ROI

    Wagers for SAR 17AUG2022 (Day 25)

    Race 4 – $20 to WIN on I’M BUZZY
    Race 4 – $20 to SHOW on I’M BUZZY
    Race 10 – $20 to SHOW on PRINCESS PINKY

  7. “What Truly Matters”……I have been on hold before responding to the news on our cherished friend Indulto, as I will truly miss the voice of restraint so often presented in his missives at HRI. So often we tend to each get caught up in our own small change negativity in responses to one another. Indy showed us well that we can all grow, and still disagree, while still showing respect towards one another.

    I love the fact, for example, that “The Cat Man”, Tabasco from Eastport has returned to the board, even if only for a day, as it is great to hear his voice and verse once more, just to know he is still on the sidelines is enough. I also need to add comment regarding WMC, who after reading his extended good wishes towards Mr. Ed, well the slate on my board is swept clean, and I for one look forward to reading his commentary once more as well. Sure wish he could share one of those claimers is all. Two bucks down, I promise I will never kill the payout. Just know, that no doubt, I will more than likely get annoyed a few times more, but thanks to Indy, will indeed know what what truly matters in life. Win or lose is secondary, and I look forward to each of us cashing a few tickets.

    I have been playing a lot of Wordle of late, and my thoughts last night drifted as to how I might best capture “The Wordsmith of the West” in a simple five letter word with a twist. Let’s go for an A, with a double S added in the riddle, as that captures so many of us at various times in our exchanges. We can all make an ass of ourselves at times. “Mea Cupla” on my transgressions to all that I have offended.

    Anyhoot, a five letter word to best capture my good friend never met Indulto is simply “Class”.

    A stop watch catches the speed and class of the equine world, while an hour glass seems to capture ours. My grandfather’s retirement watch from the early fifties, which I will pass on to my two sons, has an inscription on the back that to me is worth more than than gold from which the watch was made. I want to simply share the verse with my parting friend.

    “Time has away of evaluating a person’s worth.”

    Well the virtual exiting life watch I wish to extend to my good friend Indy is simply inscribed with but one word.


    Good journey to you my friend as you enter the fullness of life. I hope to meet you once again down the road. Riders Up and Lead the Way. When ready, we will all follow. Peace my friend.

  8. SAR 2022: 23 for 73, minus $411, minus 28% ROI

    Wagers for SAR 18AUG2022 (Day 26)

    Race 2 – $20 to WIN on CARAGATE
    Race 3 – $20 to WIN on FONTANAFREDDA
    Race 4 – $20 to WIN on FLAMINGO HAWK

    1. All 3 finish in the money, all 3 do not win.

      Change those WIN bets to SHOW and I come out ahead $19.

      Sums up the kind of meet I’m having.


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