“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Feb. 24, 2014

Horses to Watch for Agameofskill.com visitors.

Gulfstream

SENORA de LUJAN (Race 1@GP, February 6, 2014, 6 ½ furlongs, Claiming $12,500) Longshot was slammed on one side at the start and then bumped on the other side, shuffled to last and did not make progress until midway in the turn. She was bumped at the 3/16 pole, in tight quarters in mid-stretch and bumped slightly again, rallied well up the rail to get third only a neck from the show position.

Oaklawn

LOTTO CAT (Race 5@OP, February 13, 2014, one mile, Starter $12,500) Longshot was slow to start and left behind at the gate. Traveled along the rail and was pushed into contention before the final turn making progress on the inside. Was just behind leaders in the turn and was then forced to wait and dropped back. Tried to get through along the rail at the top of the stretch and then exchanged bumps with another several times before the wire.

HE IS A ROADSTER (Race 4@OP, February 15, 2014, 6 furlongs, MSW) Debut runner and big longshot was just behind leaders going into turn when steadied and losing position, came again on the inside and challenged for lead in between rivals hesitating slightly. Entered stretch and was bumped while trying to get outside, dropped inside and ran with determination to just miss.

Sam Houston

MAGNA BREEZE (Race 6@HOU, February 3, 2014, 5 ½ furlongs, Claiming $7,500) The favorite was away a bit slow and rushed up to contention behind the leaders well before reaching the half mile pole. He was check hard and steady once and then check again just before entering the far turn. He was forced to wait throughout the turn and was then boxed in at the top of the stretch. He tried to go to the rail but was tight quarters, could not get through and was forced to wait most of the stretch until enough of an opening was available. Once free to run he darted past the competition to win by a length, but it could have easily been much more.

GRANDE MOCHA (Race 7@HOU, February 3, 2014, 6 furlongs, MSW) Second choice dwelt at the start and lost several lengths immediately. Made a bold run to reach contention but then check hard about the half-mile marker and lost several lengths. Rallied to be just behind the leader sand circled them when entering the stretch. Ran gamely to finish third, less than a length form winner. A very good race for a debut runner.

PAULER (Race 10@HOU, February 11, 2014, 5 furlongs, Maiden Claiming $15,000) The only debut runner and favorite in the race traveled well into the turn and then was boxed in until the leaders hit the top of the stretch. She then tried to get out but was cut off and remained behind leaders with nowhere to go for the balance of the heat and finished fourth.

Santa Anita

AKISS FORAROSE (Race 6@SA, February 6, 2014, one mile turf, Claiming $25,000) Second choice was at the back of the pack and stayed behind a wall of horses under very tight restraint all the way down the back stretch. She was steadied twice into the turn after making progress, the first time abruptly, which forced her back to last. She then swung widest before out of the turn and was extremely wide entering the stretch. She rallied well to finish fourth.

WESTERN KITTY(Race 4@SA, February 14, 2014, 6 furlongs, MSW) Third choice broke inward and was steadied very hard at start falling back to last. Ran down the backstretch wide and attempted to make a rally in the turn while traveling very wide, but could not sustain effort after terrible beginning.

Tampa

BOND BARONESS (Race 1@TAM,February 5, 2014, 7 furlongs, Claiming $5,000) The fifth choice was at the back of the pack when the field hit the far turn. She began to rally and was with the field at the top of the stretch, but completely blocked by a wall of horses and forced to wait for about 1/16th of a mile, then began to make progress but ran herself directly into tight quarters between foes. She finally had a free shot to run just inside the 1/16th marker and moved forward quickly to gain third.

HEBOP (Race 4@TAM, February 13, 2014, 6 ½ furlongs, $8,000) Longest shot on the board was last early and wide down the backstretch. Last going into the turn and far back the gelding began to reach the back of the field just before the stretch. Into the stretch he made significant progress and was blocked by a pair of fading front runners before getting through along the rail. Finished a very good second.

PLAYING A JOKE (Race 6@TAM, February 14, 2014, mile and 40 yards, AOC $32,000) The second choice was bumped and stumbled very badly, who never got into the race after being left far behind.

Turf Paradise

CINNAMON MOCHA (Race 5@Tup, February 3, 2014, one mile, turf, Claiming $10,000) The fourth choice ran along the rail and was in position to strike at the top of the stretch, but when the field turned for home she was caught behind runners, was squeezed when trying to split rivals inside the furlong marker, was shuffled back and had to follow the pack home with nowhere to run. She finished fourth less than 3 lengths from the winner.

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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 Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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