“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – June 16, 2015

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Japan (Belmont, 6/6/15, Stakes) had a rough trip here as it appeared during the race that his two competitors from the Pletcher barn were going to “gang up” on him.   Japan is a very long and lean colt that needs racing room to reach full speed, and he should be well suited to races like the Travers in mid-August. 

Curalina (Belmont, 6/6/15, Stakes) was slammed at the start, forcing her to rally from last.  Fortunately the pace was hot, so she was able to catch up to the frontrunners.  What I liked was how straight Curalina finished down the stretch.  Take a look at the head-on.  That says she wasn’t tired and she can go on to longer races in the NYRA series for fillies. 

Tamarkuz (Belmont, 6/6/15, Stakes) really put in a fantastic run, making up many lengths and splitting horses in a race where no one else early put in a good effort.  May have moved too soon, or perhaps asking him to win the Met Mile off a 70 day layoff against a razor-sharp bunch may have been too much to ask.  He appears very well suited to seven furlong races like the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga over Labor Day weekend.

Psychiatry (Belmont, 6/10) If there is such a thing as running a winner’s race and finishing second. This runner fits the bill. He came from the #12 post under veteran reins man Jose Lezcano, and drew off down the lane to be attacked by a (34-1) long-shot coming from the clouds. The next trip has him in the winner’s circle.

Morning Star (Belmont, 6/13), this filly stumbled at the start with Javier Castellano in the irons. She was (5-1), and still finished a game second. Keep the connections in place, and she’ll get her picture taken next out. As far as (5-1), that may be a bit lower as her poor start was noted.


Chocolate Licorice (Indiana Grand, 6/10) Nice turf runner who came flying from the clouds. She came from dead last with Perry Ouzts, and maybe a change in turf riders may bump her value a few notches. With a clean trip and some early pace, she’ll bring the heat down the lane going 1 mile or longer.


Toledo Eddie (Santa Anita, 6/14, turf)  this turf runner broke slowly and had to work to overcome the poor start. You can always count on the downhill course to get you ready for your next effort. I think you’ll see him much closer and ready to pounce once they cross the dirt. If Bejarano stays aboard, bet early and bet often.

Living the Life (Santa Anita , 6/14) Mike Smith had this gal rolling down the lane on the greensward in the Desert Stormer. She was three deep on the backside, and spun five wide as they turned for home. If she gets a better trip and Smith stays aboard, I’ll bet dollars to donuts she’ll be a player at a square price.

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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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