Off the Charts Trip Notes – January 8, 2013

Off the Charts Trip Notes (January 8, 2013) 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 Aqueduct

BRANDY’S BIG GUY (Race 6 at AQU, Jan. 4, mdclaimer 12.5k, 1 mile). Longshot was running a big race in third career start when he was squeezed hard between horses in mid stretch. Was shuffled back and lost close to two lengths. He continued on gamely to finish a sneaky good third.

At Gulfstream

CASHMERE KITTEN (Race 3 at GP, Jan. 4, cl-3L, 1 mile). Huge longshot was blocked inside at the top of the lane. She was steadied, altered course at the 1/8th pole, but then rallied between horses late and and finished willingly. She rarely wins but did score at odds of 26-1 last fall at Calder. Figures to be a big price again next time out.

BATTING STAR (Race 7 at GP, Jan. 4, Starter 10k, 1 1/16 miles turf). A seven-time winner on the lawn, this guy appreciated the switch back to the grass from trainer Tim Hills. He ran a sneaky great third after getting blocked and then steadied at the 1/8th pole. Clean trip he could have won.

Tampa Bay Downs

FRENCH HOLIDAY (race 4 at TAM, Jan. 5, $8,000 claimers, 1 mile & 40 yards dirt). The 4 year old gelding was the fifth choice in the wagering in a field of ten runners.  He broke poorly and leaped left forcing a bump. He was at the back of the field and, with a half mile remaining, was next to last. He ran fairly well once he commenced his rally and stayed on the rail but could not close fast enough into soft fractions. French Holiday made a go of it and just missed being in the superfecta. It was his second race after a layoff with a class drop. A little better luck and French Holiday is a winner at this level next out.

DELIVERED (Race 7 at TAM, Jan. 6, Mdspwt, 1 1/16 miles turf). Horrific ride from the regular rider, Lauren Beaucamp, on this maiden turf runner. The horse nearly fell when she ran him up on the heels of the eventual front-running winner going around the first turn. Didn’t learn her lesson and did the same thing heading into the far turn, resulting in a sharp steady of this runner. He ended up a distant third behind two logical runners. This guy needs a major rider change to break through.

At Turfway

DITCH THE ACT (race 5 at TP, Jan. 5, $15,000 claimers, 1 mile on Polytrack). The 6 year old mare was second choice in a field of 6 runners. She broke well but the let the speed go to the front, dropped back to fifth and ran along the rail. She dropped to the back of the pack before starting a run under restraint with about a half mile to go. She was forced to hesitate at the top of the stretch and when her rider failed to move her outside she was shut off when sandwiched between rivals. The mare was steadied again, very slightly, at the 1/16 pole and was not pushed thereafter. This mare may not have caught the runaway front runner but surely would have earned a bigger paycheck with a better ride.

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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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