Off the Charts Trip Notes –, July 24, 2012

Off the Charts Trip Notes (July 24, 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 Del Mar

Race 3 on opening day featured notable troubled trips for three runners, each of whom are discussed below.

NONSENSE (Race 3 at DMR, July 18, claimer, 1 1/16 poly).  This live longshot stumbled very badly at the start despite my favorite announcer calling a “good start for all.” Bided his time in last after the awful start before making a strong move into the far turn. Went extremely wide at the top of the stretch, losing all chance again, but was not beaten far in the end. Sneaky great performance for horse that loves the all weather.

CELESTIC NIGHT (Race 3 at DMR, July 18, claimer, 1 1/16 poly). One of the betting favorites, his troubled trip was highlighted on TVG so not likely to get a price on this guy next time. Leparoux  took the inside route and that didn’t work as he blocked at the 1/8th pole and then was steadied between horses just as he was ready to make a big run. With a clean path he could have won.

FIRE BREAK (Race 3 at DMR, July 18, claimer, 1 1/16 poly). This was the other finisher out of race 3 who could have fared much better with an improved trip. Simply put, this guy was wide pretty much every step of the way, beginning with going 5 wide on the first turn. He gave up several lengths to some of the other rivals in here yet still managed to finish a solid third, beaten only 3 1/2 lengths at the wire.

YANKEE REBEL (Race 2 at DMR, July 19, mdcl 80, 5f poly). This first time starter for trainer Bob Hess was visually impressive as he powered home late and won with no urging from jockey Garrett Gomez. This guy should be able to handle a step up in class.

SHE SPIRIT DI SU (Ire) (Race 3 at DMR, July 19, turf). Second choice in the wagering, she waited briefly at the top of the lane when the jock then decided to go the inside route. Jock very briefly looked to alter course at the 1/8th pole but then again ducked to the inside and she finished very strongly up the rail and inside of horses, which is difficult to do. Narrowly missed on the wire.

MISSDEALORNODEAL (Race 6 DMR, July 19th, polytrack, 5 ½ furlongs) Heavy favorite in field of nine. Stumbled severely at start with her nose touching the ground and instantly falling 9-10 lengths from early leaders. The mare showed great courage and determination going very wide and passing others to earn a close third. No doubt she was the best horse in the field.

MAGIC SCHOOL (Race 7 at DMR, July 19). Talamo mount trailed in a swiftly run 5-horse field. Proceeded to make a winning run into the far turn but was then blocked behind a trio of runners at the top of the stretch. Was steadied at the 1/8th pole and, while this was happening, the runner tried to savage (bite) the horse to his outside. Cleaner trip would have put this one much closer at the wire.

ACAFFELLA (Race 7 at DMR, July 22, claimer $40k, 1 1/16 miles). This closer was making a huge late run down the middle of track and was very unlucky to get squeezed between horses nearing the 1/16th pole. The race was won by the classy Jaycito, but this 4yo son of Mr. Greeley would have given him a run to the wire. Loves the synthetic tracks.

At Saratoga

SALTO (Ire) (Race 1 at SAR, July 20, 1m inner turf). This guy suffered a very unlucky trip in this two turn route affair. He was buried down inside for most of the running, blocked at the top of the lane and blocked again midway down the stretch as he was making a strong late run. Certainly deserves another chance as he lost whatever chance he had on this day under Javier Castellano who is normally one of the best turf riders on the grounds.

At Thistledown

MR. C’S LEGACY (Race 4 at TDN, mdspwt, 6f dirt). This first time starter showed very good early speed and pressured the legitimate 1-5 favorite, a shipper from Keeneland, throughout the entire race before giving way in the final 1/8th of a mile. Easily held 2nd in a strong performance. Doesn’t has the best way of going (action) but that shouldn’t stop him from breaking his maiden in the near future.

At Woodbine

PASSIONISTA and AMERICANA RAISA (Race 2, July 22 at WO, polytrack, 6 furlongs) A pair of 2 year old fillies bet 6th and 7th in a field of 7, respectively. Both fillies ran between others down the backstretch. American Raisa was the first of the two to check in tight quarters and back out of contention just short of the 5/8 pole. Passionista, who appeared sharp with the addition of blinkers, checked sharply just before the turn. Both dropped way back and lost all hopes of securing a paycheck. They are eligible to improve in a big way in their next starts.

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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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