“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – March 12, 2015


Tiz Shea D (Aqueduct Race 9 on 3/7/15, #6 Saddlecloth) ran extremely well first-time Bill Mott, first-time Aqueduct to be a credible second in the Gotham at 11/1.  I did not like the ride this one got, it seemed like Taylor Rice was committed to keep this horse on the rail the entire way, which almost backfired until the horse FINALLY got some running room along the rail in the final 3/16ths.   This horse is better than people think and has a reasonable shot at a top three placing in the Wood.


Bolo (Santa Anita Race 7 on 3/7/15, #7 Saddlecloth) had shown a lot of talent on grass, and then missed the Robert L. Lewis stakes because of a training setback.  11/1 odds in this race, what impressed me was the good run off a break going back to December 27th, even trying the dirt the first time and having to rate.  Wide on both turns, his jockey Victor Espinoza energetically challenged odds-on Dortmund just inside the quarter pole, then had to alter course late as Dortmund drifted out under left-handed pressure, probably costing Bolo second in the race when passed just before the wire by the talented Prospect Park.  Don’t be surprised if Bolo wins some HUGE races this year.

Blue Law (Santa Anita Race 1 on 2/28/15, #3 Saddlecloth) was the 9/10 favorite off a very nice turf debut.  Did he deserve to be 9/10 last weekend?  Not really, but Kent Desormeaux put this horse on the engine and made what looked on paper to be a paceless affair into a stiff battle of attrition, going out in 46.68 for the half and 1:11.76 for 6 furlongs, and setting a pace that fast would cook most maiden horses.  Certainly willing to give this horse another chance for the win.

Anniversary Kitty (SA Race 4 on 2/28/15, #11 Saddlecloth) was not able to “slot in” because the pace down the hill was not fast enough to “stretch the field.”  The result was ‘Kitty’ was at least 6 wide on the big turn (the charts said 6 wide, I actually had her eight wide into the stretch).  Even after all the wide traffic, she mad a small rally in deep stretch in a game effort.  Play this one right back.

Nob Hill (SA Race 1 on 2/28/15, #11 Saddlecloth) was “only” 16 and ½ lengths back at the half mile split, which gave him absolutely no chance to win.  The fact he could rally to a very close 3rd within ½ length of a brutal finish shows that this horse has determination, and on paper going into the race it appeared he had some talent too.  Judging by his PPs his best distance is probably a mile or a mile and a 16th.


Ball Dancing (Tam Race 10 on 3/7/15, #1 Saddlecloth) was first off the layoff for Chad Brown, and showed a LOT of energy in the stretch, unable to catch 7/5 favorite Stephanie’s Kitten (also trained by Brown) but easily beating the others.  She’s eligible to have a big year on the grass. 

Ami’s Flatter (Tam Race 11 on 3/7/15, #4 Saddlecloth) appears to be going the right way with the addition of Lasix and blinkers and while he may not be as talented as the top three year olds, he might find a way into a superfecta or two in a big race or get a win in the lower tier races like the Iowa Derby, the Ohio Derby or the Oklahoma Derby.

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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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