Off the Charts Trip Notes – Dec. 8, 2014

This exclusive and free feature, Off the Charts Trip Notes (Dec. 8, 2014), finds horses throughout the country who encountered some type of noteworthy 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

From races run on Friday,Nov. 28th

CLARK HANDICAP – 9 furlongs (dirt) – 3up – Grade 1

Protonico ran the best race of his career (surprise!  A Todd Pletcher horse that is still improving midway through it’s career), threatening Hoppertunity into deep stretch before having to settle for second.  Protonico and Hoppertunity looked like the sharpest runners in the post parade, and that is how it turned out.

It was noticeable that Hoppertunity has a much longer body that Protonico and a less-muscled physique that usually favors runners in races of 9 furlongs or longer.  Protonico has a much more stocky build with a shorter body and very large hindquarters reminiscent of a sprinter/miler, which may prevent him from beating the top horses (Bayern, California Chrome, Tonalist and Hoppertunity) at longer distances.  Regardless, he is a threat to hit the board when he’s ready to roll.

Constitution was very disappointing.  Not just that he lost, but how unprofessional he ran, going wide into the first turn and tossing his head wildly.  Try to beat this horse at every opportunity at every distance when he faces top-tier animals.

Saturday, Nov. 29th  – AQUEDUCT

REMSEN STAKES – 9 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo – Grade 2

On a day when ALL FOUR graded states at Aqueduct were won wire to wire on the lead, 9/5 post time favorite Frosted was parked out wide in the 3 path with no cover (i.e. no horse in front to break the wind resistance).  Not sure he’ll be a price next out but just rating his Remsen effort he’s a fringe Triple Crown contender, at least.  Follow closely.

DEMOISELL STAKES – 9 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo fillies – Grade 2

Condo Commando has won in dominant fashion every time she has run on a dry track.  Hard to think she is a Kentucky Oaks filly until she passes a few horses, but she has really good size and scope for a front runner and if she runs at speed-lover’s paradise Gulfstream Park she may sweep everything before the top horses ship north to Keeneland and Aqueduct next spring.  She is a nice filly to have in a fantasy stable if nothing else.

CIGAR MILE – 8 furlongs (dirt) – 3up – Grade 1

Bourbon Courage desperately needs softer company and a track not so biased against front inside speed.   From what I noticed on videos I saw he was the only closer to make a move in the big races all day from Aqueduct.  Look for him in a conditioned allowance race (best) or maybe a grades sprint stake (should fit) at Gulfstream, preferably at the 6.5 furlong to 7.5 furlong distance.

Saturday, Nov. 29th  – CHURCHILL DOWNS

 GOLDEN ROD STAKES – 8.5 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo fillies – Grade 2

No Fault Of Mine was roughly 15 lengths off the leader when she started her move into the far turn, had to go four wide, then was tipped out 6 wide into the stretch, getting within 3 lengths of the lead.  Inside the 70 yard mark she bore in (moved left) while under an extreme right handed whip, forcing her to switch back late to her left (tired) lead.  She showed courage to finish a competitive second to West Coast Belle.  Give this one another chance when she runs next at either Fair Grounds or Oaklawn.

RACE 10 – 8.0 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo – N1x allowance

Bad news – Dortmund can get even better.  He never changed leads, but he was winning so easily he was never put to pressure.  As the Australians would say “he has a lot of improvement in him.”  In this race the outside draw definitely helped Dortmund, as the jockey could take an up close position and let Dortmund overwhelm his opponents with his athleticism.  I am not yet sure that this colt wants two turns, but he’s a load in one turn races and his talent can carry him at least to the Santa Anita Derby, if not farther.

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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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