Off the Charts Trip Notes – July 17, 2013

Off the Charts Trip Notes (July 17, 2013) searches out 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.

Arlington Park

BONNIE (Race 2@AP, July 5, 2013, 6 furlongs, Claiming $5,000) Fourth choice in the wagering broke a little inwards, was forced to steady and shuffled back to last and didn’t leave that position until the top of the stretch. The mare came up the rail and then shifted out at the top of the turn, was forced out a little wider at the furlong marker and closed very well to get second place. Considering her trip and the slow fractions set by the winner, BONNIE proved far better than her running line will indicate.

SWEET CHARISE (Race 7@AP, June 28, 2013, 6 furlongs, Maiden Claiming $12,500) Mare was slow to begin mostly to avoid early traffic trouble, which placed her last. She was still last when the field entered the stretch and she went 6 wide to have a clear run. Passed 8 foes and made up close to 20 lengths in the final quarter mile.

Belmont Park

RETTALFA (Race 3@BEL, June 27, 2013, 6 ½ furlongs, Maiden Claiming $16,000) Favored filly leaped in the air at the start and was slow to find her stride spotting the field 7-8 lengths. She rallied into the turn and advanced into striking position just before the stretch and traveled 5 wide. She finished third which was probably the best she could hope for under the circumstances.

THOMAS HILL (Race 9@BEL, June 27, 2013, 7 furlongs, turf, Claiming $35,000) Was in good position early but was forced to check very sharply at the half mile pole, which cost the gelding quite a bit considering he was defeated by only a couple of lengths while finishing fourth.

Churchill Downs

PAROLED (Race 6@CD, June 28, 2013, One mile, turf, Allowance 1X) The favorite broke a little tardy and was slightly squeezed at the start and forced to begin last. Moved along the rail in the first turn then shifted out for the run down the backstretch. Began about 5 wide when entering the turn and came out 6-7 wide. He ran even down the stretch with all others except the winner. Early circumstances and wide route in turn cost this one plenty.

Ellis Park

MARCHING BAND (Race 8@ELP, July 4, 2013, one mile, Turf, MSW) Second choice in a large field, the filly broke a little in air and then was taken up to avoid tight quarters and began at the very back. She was next to last at the half mile pole before she began to rally. She was wide throughout the turn and into the stretch, but she continued on with interest, finishing fifth only a half length from third.

Suffolk Downs

TEN PIN TIDE (Race 2@SUF, June 29, 2013, 6 furlongs, Claiming $5,000) Favored mare began last and stayed there until the field entered the turn. She was trapped behind a wall of opponents and had no place to go throughout the entire turn. By the time the field reached the top of the stretch securing victory or the place position was out of the question. She did find some room on the inside and passed all others except the top two to pick up the show paycheck.


O WANDERLUST (Race 6@WO, July 5, 2013, 1 1/16 miles, Claiming $40,000) Next to the longest shot on the board was much better than the public thought. The gelding suffered a terrible start being squeezed and taken back. He traveled in first turn and the first half mile contesting the last position in the field. He made a very quick move just when the field entered the turn and was in contention when he was forced to take up and wait. The gelding had to restart along the rail and passed horses at first opportunity. He closed well and gained the show spot.

VINDY’S LUCKYSTRIKE (Race 3@WO, June 29, 2013, 1 1/16 miles, Claiming $10,000) Six year old mare looked as if she would not come out of the gate at all, then finally made an appearance when she spotted the field at least 10 lengths. Was hopelessly left behind but was still hurried to reach contention and used down the backstretch, eventually reaching third in the turn. The unusual circumstances gave her little hope and she mare threw in the towel at the top of the stretch. She is much better than this race will indicate.

SILENT TREAT (Race 10@WO, June 29, 2013, 6 furlongs, turf, Allowance 2L) The favorite was part of a rodeo finish at Woodbine and she was victimized no less than four times in the stretch. It was a constant stop and go drill as foes drifted in and out in front of her the entire stretch.  She was eventually elevated to fourth after a disqualification but that is little consolation for a horse that was clearly best and was almost moving in reverse the length of the stretch.

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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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