Off the Charts Trip Notes –

Off the Charts Trip Notes (July 10, 2012) spotlights horses throughout the country who encountered some type of significant or meaningful trouble in their most recent start or just gave an extremely impressive performance. Please note that 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

DIFFICULT CREEK (Race 2, July 8, BEL, MCL 6 ½ furlongs, main). Last choice in field of 7 at 34-1. Filly was completely left in gate and banged the side of the gate when leaving. Slow to begin she was taken to the rail and virtually had no chance due to the poor beginning. She maintained course and was last midway in the turn then began to rally passing others and showing no fear of being along the rail. A very game effort earned the show position in what would have otherwise been a disastrous debut.

WALLY DID IT (Race 2 at BEL, July 5th, mdspwt turf sprint). This son of Tale of the Cat wants no part of the turf. He showed improvement in his second career start for trainer Alan Goldberg but he was bobbling throughout over the Belmont turf course. Still ran credible despite that. Could improve in a big way switching to the main track in third lifetime start.

SUPERESTRELLA (Race 4 at BEL, July 5th, mdclaiming turf  route). I am fan of jockey Joel Rosario but this was not one of his finest rides. This horse had some “run” but Rosario was asleep at the wheel turning for home. When he finally woke up, he found himself behind horses at the 1/8th pole and from there he made multiple wrong decisions. Never got a clear run in the stretch and finished willingly for 4th in a sneaky good performance. Can score in third start out for new barn.

At Calder

MEAN SAX (race 10 at CRC, July 6th, optional claimer, 1 1/16 miles turf). Seven year old was taken up about 75 yards from the wire when he was making  a sneaky good run between horses and likely would have gotten up for 2nd. This gelding has not won in a while but owns 4 wins from 20 lifetime starts over the Calder turf course.  Can fare better with a clear run at the same level or lower next time out.

At Monmouth Park

LILY OF JOHAR (Race 8 at MTH. July 6th, cond. claimer, 9f turf). This daughter of top turf runner Johar made an eye-catching, sweeping move over the Monmouth Park turf course, which had the rails out, and won in hand as much the best. She got a new rider this day in jockey Carlos Marquez, Jr., a top local turf rider, and that may have played a factor, as this one did not exactly have a winning attitude coming into this race. Could handle a slight increase in class for Boniface barn, but look for Marquez back aboard.

At Woodbine
PICO PIKE (Race 5, July 4, WO, 6 furlongs main) Seventh choice in field of 12. Shuffled way back at start and spotted field 6-7 lengths. Last throughout turn and entered stretch 8 wide. Ran well in stretch passing half the field to finish sixth with mild urging.

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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.

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