Off the Charts Trip Notes – from, August 20

Off the Charts Trip Notes (August 20, 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

FABLE HAVEN (Race 2 at DMR, Aug. 17, mdcl 50, 6f). Hard to describe the ride that Juan Hernandez gave this “live longshot.” The horse trailed early but heading into the far turn, the horse proceeded to make a bold move pretty much on his own. The jockey was very indecisive, not sure if to duck to the inside at the top of the stretch or go outside as he clearly should have. Then, down the stretch the horse again gave a nice run when Hernandez gave him a few taps. But just past the 1/8th pole the horse was steadied behind runners as the jock just didn’t seem to know what to do that. With a rider switch, the Vann Belvoir could score at this same level next…at a big price.

At Saratoga

GOMBEY DANCER (Race 3 at SAR, Aug. 16, 2yo mdspwt 5.5f). This first time starter from the Eddie Keaneally barn made a bold four wide move on the far turn, which is typically very difficult to do, and challenged the 4-5 favorite from the Asmussen barn before giving way late to settle for a clear second.  Similar effort wins next out.

At Parx Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park)
SOK SOK (August 20, 2012, sixth race at PRX, $5,000 claiming, dirt, 5 furlongs). Second choice in field of 7. Tough veteran was squeezed and shuffled back at break. Moving into turn her was behind a wide wall of horses and was forced to go extremely wide. Upon entering the stretch he was 6 lengths behind the lead but rallied professionally. Sok Sok lost by only a half length to a well intended horse that received an excellent, much shorter trip.

At Woodbine
SURE WOULD (August 18, 2012, fourth race at WO, 2 YO Fillies, MSW, turf, 7 furlongs). Debut runner was  the favorite in field of 12. Bumped at break and fought her way into contention before the turn. Was fourth midway in turn and then shuffled back to seventh. Was blocked entering stretch on inside and then checked slightly when trying to move out. Jockey Justin Stein had to wait and finally sent her thru a small hole at 1/8 pole. Very game filly fought her was into the clear and rallied furiously to get second at wire. Important to note that the winner was an ultra impressive Mark Casse firster that looks to be solid stakes potential. Sure Would deserves another trip and appears that she will not stop running.

MERCENARY (August 5, 2012, second race at WO, 2 Year Old Maidens Claiming $50,000, 6 furlongs, polytrack). Debut runner was seventh choice in field of 8. This gelding broke in air and was slow to start spotting the leaders more than a dozen lengths within the first 100 yards. Began to rally going into turn while darting between foes and was still about a dozen lengths from the front at the quarter pole. Responded well and reduced the margin to 8 lengths with a furlong remaining. Mercenary closed rapidly and professionally to finish less than a length from the winner. This son of Closing Argument was the best in the field and could be an easy winner with a decent start.

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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.


  1. So what’s the win rate for these horses that you’ve been pointing out that had bad trips?

    How many of them have won? I know you’ve been doing this for awhile.

    Just wondering. Thanks

    • My apologies. We’ve had our share of winners, for sure, but I do not have exact win or itm percentages. My recommendation would be to track them in your favorite email notification service, e.g. BRIS Stable Alert.

      Thank you for visiting.

  2. Bill Mentes says

    Larry G.,I am ahead quite a bit using these horses, especially with exacta combos as well as win bets. I don’t know the percentages either, but the recent payoffs have been awesome. Passionista 6/1, Krissy Kat 7/1, and today, Magic School 5/1 with a nice ex and tri.

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