Off the Charts Trip Notes – June 18, 2013

Off the Charts Trip Notes (June 18, 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.


At Arlington Park

CHURCH ROAD (Race 2@AP, June 7, 2013, 4 ½ furlongs, Maiden Claiming $35,000, 2 YO) Young filly bobbled at start and was forced inward in her debut. Ran well down the backstretch but was then checked when first entering the turn. Shuffled back but she came again and swung out wide at the quarter pole. Running with determination she ducked back to rail in the final furlong and was moving much faster than all others in closing to get second about three lengths from winner.

At Churchill

TREE HUGGER (Race 10@CD, June 7, 2013, 1 3/8 miles turf, Allowance 1X) Filly got a perfect inside trip the first mile on the inside and then the rider made terrible decisions. The filly was full of run all the way around but instead of taking her out at the top of the stretch, where he was well clear to do, he stayed inside and waited until some of the field caught up with his mount and the other leaders. He then tried to force her inside the smallest possible space and all she got for this was a mugging and a hard check that lasted for about 50 yards. Eventually she came back and fought through a reasonable space on the rail to get show. But the apparent easy win was lost due to a bad ride.

At Delaware Park

IL DIVO (Race 2@DEL, June 6, 2013, 5 ½ furlongs, Claiming $5,000) The winner, second choice in the wagering, began last and trailed when reaching the half mile pole. Rallied with ease entering the stretch and took to the inside, where he became boxed in and under a very tight hold all the way to just inside the 1/8 pole, where he finally could move outside and run. Winning by almost four lengths, the margin could have been double digits.

At Golden Gate

LADY FIFTY TWO (Race 6@GG, June 7, 2013, 4 ½ furlongs, MSW 2YO) A two year old trip that will probably go unnoticed, but important to note. Baby filly was mixing it up early on the inside and then was cut off just enough to get shuffled back to next to last. She came running again and caught the field, then moved away from the rail while going several lanes wide then launched an impressive rally to gain the show spot only a length from the winner.

At Hollywood Park

SCARLET STRIKE (Race 10 @BHP, June 8, Grade 2, 1 1/8m turf). This daughter of top turf sire Smart Strike was simply left with too much to do as she rallied from well of the pace. She gained a lot of ground to get up for second behind the gate-to-wire winner, to whom she spotted 6 lbs. She is a very consistent runner for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

At Louisiana Downs

BRIGHT KYLIE (Race 1@LAD, June 6, 2013, 5 furlongs, Starter Optional $10,000) Second choice was constantly being checked and restrained down the backstretch while racing just behind the leaders. Was checked and held hard at the top of the stretch until the 1/8 pole, where she bullied herself between rivals and got the lead, then outran a foe closing on the outside. She won by a length, it could have been much, much more.

At Lone Star

AKA LILY’S LAD (Race 2@LS, June 6, 2013, Mile, Claiming $5,000) Odds on favorite broke slowly and spotted field several lengths. Advanced into first turn and was moving well when he ran up on the back of an opponent and was steadied very hard, losing more ground. The gelding then advanced well and had dead aim on the eventual winner at the top of the stretch just a length behind, then sputtered while approaching the furlong marker and dropped back.

At Mountaineer Park

SPYGLASS (Race 1@MNR, June 4, 2013, 4 ½ furlongs turf, Claiming $5,000) Second choice hopped and was off stride at break instantly dropping to last. Hustled up into contention along the inside where he was in tight quarters and checked slightly. He continued to show interest, and while had no hope of catching the winner, eventually swung out from behind horses with about 1/8 remaining and closed very well to grab third.

At Prairie Meadows

CAJUN DANCER (Race 9@PRM, June 6, 2013, 5 ½ furlongs, Claiming $6,250) The start of the third choice was so bad it is hard to believe the rider stayed on board. CAJUN DANCER went to her knees and jerked hard attempting to rise up almost dislodging Glen Corbett. She was far, far back but immediately made up for lost time and caught her field in the turn. She was quite wide throughout the turn which cost her more ground but continued to rally with determination. A great run and she missed the place position by only a couple of lengths and the win by four lengths. She wins for fun with a normal trip.

At Presque Isle

JODAVI (Race 8@PID, June 5, 2013, 6 ½ furlongs, Maiden Claiming $7,500) Debut runner was off a beat slow and had another horse to crossover in front of him forcing him to be a noticeable distance behind the field immediately. The 3 year old showed a great deal of interest and advanced on the rail only to be behind horses, which forced him to drop back when entering the turn. He advanced again with what appeared to be a serious run and was shut off just before the stretch, which caused him to take up and alter course back to the inside. Once into the stretch with no hope of winning he swung out to the middle of the track and continued to run. He finished fifth but the lack of experience and incidents played a major role in the outcome. The young horse may have more run than what will be in the past performances.

At Suffolk Downs

DAMN STRAIGHT (Race 6, SUF, June 5, 2013, 7 1.2 furlongs, turf, MSW) Filly was squeezed at start and compromised before being sent outside and raced hurriedly down the backstretch. She became a threat going into the far turn but had to travel wide throughout the turn to get into top contention at the top of the stretch. The early incidents and wide trip took its toll and DAMN STRAIGHT started to hang. She seemed to get her action back about 1/16th from home to hold off an outside challenge for place but could not recover enough to overcome the winner.

At Woodbine

I’M CHIP (Race 4@WO, June 5, 2013, One mile turf, MSW) Well bet in second career start and first effort on grass. Three year old colt traveled well and professionally down the backstretch and rallied in the turn and into contention about 5 wide at the top of the stretch. Was moving well and catching the winner when a wave of three foes slammed him from the outside and forced him to check sharply against rail. The colt probably could not have caught winner but could have been second easily.  He showed quite a bit of talent with his run into the turn to gain position on the leader.

GINGER MINT (Race 5@WO, June 5, 2013, 7 furlongs, Claiming $8,000) Well bet mare broke a little tardy but moved well down the backstretch, split rivals in turn and was in excellent position. Was ready to strike but when arriving at the top of the stretch was shut off and taken up, losing all hopes of a good finish. The mare was swung out in the middle of the track where she came back and finished fifth, which was as good as expected under the circumstances.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is an 18-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. Bill Mentes says

    Tree Hugger had been pointed out on May 8, and now had a second unlucky trip. Had a big live double going with Tree Hugger-PAINFUL!

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