“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – May 18, 2014

Arlington

TOTEE (Race 6 @AP, May 8, 2014, 5 ½ furlongs, Claiming $7,500) The favorite was hustled early and  vied for the early lead while trapped along the rail, took a bad step, checked hard and almost stumbled when entering the turn. Lost all interest and finished last. 

E.M. MAXIMUS (Race five @AP, May 2, 2014, 6 furlongs, Starter Optional $20,000) The third choice stumbled badly at the gate and bore out losing significant ground early. Made a good effort to get in stalking position. He was in striking position at the top of the stretch when was bumped into another foes and forced to check harshly, losing all hope and dropping back around the furlong marker.

Belmont

AWESOME LUTE (Race 4@BEL, May 7, 2014, 6 furlongs, Maiden Claiming $40,000) The fifth choice and only debut runner in the field, broke sharply and was just behind leaders along the rail, was checked very sharply and lost about 10 lengths falling way behind the field. The determined debut runner came back and closed well and even though he was forced to alter course in the stretch, still got up to barely miss third.

CLASSIC SALSA (Race six @BEL, May 1, 2014, 6 furlongs Off turf, Allowance 1X) The favorite broke a touch slow and was then mugged from both sides a few strides out of the gate forcing a less than desirable beginning and forcing him to lose ground instantly. Began to pass horse while in the turn but was extremely wide throughout and extremely wide entering the stretch. Rallied well but the tough trip took its toll and he finished fifth four lengths behind.

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Churchill

OVERTON SQUARE (Race 4 @CD, May 8, 2014, 1 1/16 miles, Maiden Claiming $50,000) The fourth choice was bumped and squeezed at the break, proceeded to be rank into the turn, was hard to handle and restrained once in the backstretch, was heavily restrained for the better part of the backstretch and then steadied sharply, almost into a full stumble once the field entered the turn. May benefit from the blinkers being removed.

HONEYHUES (Race nine @CD, April 29, 2014, 1 1/16 Off turf, AOC 4X $100,00) The second choice beat a small but good field with a walk in the park. She waltz with an opening 25 seconds in the first quarter and was never challenged. Asked for a little run in the stretch but was geared down before reaching the wire to win by 7 lengths. Impressive, but there was no challenge.

Gulfstream

ADDAR (Race three @ GP, May 2, 2104, One mile turf, Maiden Claiming $25,000) The sixth choice was squeezed at the start and trapped between foes eventually getting free and far back from the main body of the field. Gradually made progress down the backside and moved into the turn with a strong rally but was boxed in just before reaching the stretch. She was in good position awaiting room but was bothered noticeably at the top of the stretch and was forced out. She rallied well to get third.

Mountaineer

SUMMER’S EMPIRE (Race 7@MNR, May 7, 2014, one mile, Claiming $5,000) The second choice stalked the early leaders and moved into second when entering the stretch. Was about to overhaul the leader, along with the eventual winner, when the former tired badly and suddenly drifted out causing SUMMER’S EMPIRE to check abruptly at the 1/16 pole, losing all hope of winning.

Pimlico

ABLE BAKER CHARLIE (Race five @PIM, May 1, 2014, 1 1/16 Off turf, Starter $35,000) The favorite hopped at the start, endured minor bumping in the opening strides, raced up into contention before the first turn and the steadied from clipping heels in first turn. Anxious to run, he was taken six-seven wide away from other horses and remained in that position throughout the entire first turn and began running down the backstretch in that same position. Took the lead when entering the far turn and ran away from field for a three length win, but he was much better than that.

CAT IN THE FOREST (Race 4@PIM, May 8, 2014, 6 furlongs, Claiming $8,000) The fourth choice was traveling well and making progress while close up but was then steadied sharply when going into the turn and lost considerable ground and momentum. He was forced to leave the rail and circle the field while going 5 wide, closed well to get fourth only a couple of lengths from winner.

Santa Anita

OUR GLITTER BALL (Race seven @SA, May 1, 2014, 6 furlongs, AOC $50,000) The fifth choice stumbled at the gate and was then rush into contention. Was in tight and then forced to steady in turn, dropping back and losing all hope.

Woodbine

MURRAYS IN A HURRY (Race 4@WO, May 4, 2104, 5 furlongs, Starter $10,000) The third choice stumbled out of gate and bore out, lost ground before being righted, then was hurried into contention, got close but flattened once in stretch. Last work before race was poor which was dissimilar to others in preparation for first race in 7 months. Problem before the race or just the poor start did him in. Pat close attention to works and looks in the post parade next out.

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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 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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