Off the Charts Trip Notes –

Off the Charts Trip Notes spotlights horses throughout the country who encountered some type of significant or meaningful trouble in their most recent start. Horses spotlighted in Off the Charts Trip Notes are never an automatic bet back, but rather runners to give a serious look at given the trips and the trouble spotted by our expert handicappers at  Horses below listed in track name order.

At Belmont Park

ALMOST AN ANGEL (race 6, May 24 at Belmont, 6f turf) – this colt was making his second career start and first on the grass but figured to love the new surface as the son of Breeders’ Cup Mile Artie Schiller. The Wesley Ward runner made a nice run at the top of the stretch but was blocked briefly and had to dive to the inside at the 1/8th pole. Meanwhile the favorite and eventual winner, Joha, got the jump on this rival and opened up in midstretch. Almost An Angel was clearly 2nd best in a very good turf debut.


SLAMM’N LOU (Race 1, May 27 at Bemontl; 1 1/16 miles Turf). Fourth choice in field of ten. Away well and was never asked for run until the quarter pole. Couldn’t get outside for a run and then moved inside only to be cut off. Held back and forced to wait ay 1/8 pole. With no place to go he was forced to stay in between two foes in tight quarters for the last 1/16 and battled only to miss show narrowly.


At Churchill Downs

FIRETACK (race 6, May 24 at Churchill Downs, 6f dirt) – this Dale Romans trainee was making his first start versus winners after scoring an easy win against maiden claiming company on May 1. This was a valuable experience as the son of Forest Danger was taken up hard at the half mile pole and then finishing willingly under new rider Miguel Mena. Firetack finished a non-threatening but sneaky good fourth here and should improve off this start.


At Emerald Downs

SOVEREIGN BAY (race 4, May 28 at EMD, 5 furlongs dirt) – Debut runner was left way back in early going and started to rally midway in turn. Looked like an experienced runner coming down stretch making up considerable ground until she ran into back of pair dueling on rail. She moved out and in trying to find a space to run, was held back temporarily then swung outward to further the rally. Closed very well after misfortunes and look better than all others.


At Hollywood Park

CINCO DE MARIO (race 2, May 26 at HOL, 4 1/2 mdspwt) – didn’t get the best of rides from his namesake, although granted it was mostly circumstances. First time starter chased the pace and then got stuck on the inside turning for home. From there he had to alter course, finishing well to just miss 2nd. Very strong effort from the same winning connections of the horse vying for this year’s Triple Crown.


SEEKING THE LILIES (Race 1, May 26 at PRX; Mile dirt). Second choice in field of 6. Sandwiched at start, was directed outside and voluntarily traveled 7 wide in first turn. Started to make move in turn but kept in track center and remained there for the balance of the race. Ran on with little encouragement to gain fourth.


At Woodbine
ZDENKA (Race 3, May 23 at WO; Mile, Turf). Sixth choice in field of 11. Slow start then forced to take back several steps out of gate and appeared to be left hopelessly behind. Close to ten lengths back at quarter pole, entered the stretch last and was taken 7-8 wide before running straight. Woodbine track announcer said “Zdenka has come from another province,” as she began passing horses in a flurry. She finished fourth less than two lengths behind winner. Normally running 5-6 lengths off the pace, this first time “blinkers” runner will need another outing to see if the new equipment will get her closer to the lead. She was certainly focused on running down the competition when asked so a good start next time may be bad news for her opponents.

Share this with your horse racing friends
Handicapping tips from


* indicates required

Email Format

About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More in Off The Charts Trip Notes
Off the Charts Trip Notes –

Off the Charts Trip Notes spotlights horses throughout the country who encountered some type of significant trouble in their most...