Off the Charts Trip Notes – May 24, 2013

Off the Charts Trip Notes (May 24, 2013) spotlights 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

MUNHALL MISS (Race 7 @AP, May 17, Mdcl $10, 5 1/2 furlongs).  What a sneaky effort from this first time starter. She acted up in the gate and hopped in the air at the start. In the process she spotted the field several lengths. Then finished willingly on her own while racing up the rail, a tough spot for a first time starter. Was steadied late when she came between horses yards from the finish line. This was a nice effort for a very low profile but high percentage barn. Added ground such as 6 1/2 furlongs may suit her perfectly.

At Belmont Park

ENGLISH RHYTHM (Race 2 @BEL, May 17, Opt1x, 1 1/16 miles turf). Poor rides don’t get much worse than this butcher trip from jockey Alex Solis. The Southern California invader was about 3-4 lengths best in this field, but she was steadied multiple times on the backstretch before being sharply taken up on the turn for home. She finally got clear going and unleashed a strong late run to miss by less than half a length for all the money. Maybe this is why Solis isn’t getting many mounts any more.

At Churchill Downs

CALL ME GEORGE (Race 2 @CD, May 17, 2103, One Mile, Claiming $40,000) Traveled easily throughout along rail. He was asked for run just before the top of the stretch and was in tight quarters and had to take up slightly and wait. The waiting continued and the favorite then tried at the eighth pole to get through but the eventual winner came on over to the rail and he was forced to check. He finished third despite be sequestered the final quarter mile.

STARSTRUCK (Race 4@CD, May 19, 2013, 1 1/8 miles, turf, Allowance Optional Claiming 2X) The big favorite hesitated slightly at the start and began the race at the tail of the field in close proximity to the hedge and slowly advanced to mid pack when entering the far turn. She darted between horses entering the stretch trying to gain position but bumped foe to her outside, began to rally but ducked slightly inside and was blocked briefly. Once she had full clearance the favorite ran well but lacked the needed real estate to catch the pace setting winner.

At Delaware

CACTUSA (Race 5@DEL, May 20, 2013, 6 furlongs, Maiden Claiming $7,500) Favored filly broke in and then broke back out causing serious bumping, was then hustled up to battle for the lead and engaged the eventual winner in a speed duel. She tired badly in mid stretch. The early struggle and hurry to get the lead cost her greatly.

At Indiana Downs

THE DUCK OF REED (Race One @IND, May 15, 2013, 6 furlongs, Claiming $15,000 3L) Racing with the back flight and next to last with a half mile to go, the gelding started to advance and then was forced to wait the latter part of the turn, was then blocked and forced to drop to last. Rallied behind horses in mid-stretch and became a contender while dipping down to the rail. He finished a good fourth, less than two lengths from the winner.


P.A. THUNDER (Race 5@PRX, May 18, 2013, 5 furlongs, Claiming $7,500 2L) Three year old was forced to wait behind a wall of horses throughout the turn. Made a rally at the top of the stretch and appeared to reluctant to go through a hole, but eventually challenged in that spot. Was bumped and forced to check with about 1/16th remaining but fought back to get third in a three way blanket win photo.

At Penn National

POWER STRUGGLE (Race One @PEN, May 15, 2013, One Mile, Claiming $5,000 2L) The filly was hard to load and showed little interest early on moving at a pedestrian pace at the back of the pack. She began to pick up when about ten lengths back at the half mile pole and was at least 7-8 back entering the stretch 6 wide. Made a very good run to grab second, but finish could have been much better with an early interest or a hot pace from others.

At Pimlico

STRIKE THE MOON (Race 6 @PIM, May 17, 2013, 6 furlongs, Stakes) Shipper from SA was bet heavy but stumbling at the gate compromised her quickly and the mare was forced to hustle down the back stretch to reach contention. Looked to have a chance midway in the turn but when entering the stretch she was bumped and squeezed, then tried to move back inside, but it was too late and she was well spent and finished last.

At Presque Isle

ARTIE OCEAN (Race 6 @PID, May 15, 2013, 5 ½ furlongs, Claiming $16,000 2L) Three year old was banged hard out of the gate and bounced to the outside by the pace setter. The gelding ran with pace setter to the top of the stretch when the latter came out very wide and sandwiched Artie Ocean into the eventual top two finishers. Artie Ocean was done after the last episode. The offender was disqualified and placed behind Artie Ocean.

At Woodbine

ROYAL SPUN (Race 10@WO, May 19, 2013, 7 furlongs, Maiden Claiming $25,000) Broke outward at the start and had to settle near the back of the back. The filly was toward the rear and was moving toward the inside of the track but shifted out wide when entering the turn, a move that forced her extremely wide throughout the turn and very wide when entering the stretch. Defeated more than half the field in fifth position and was the third longest shot on the board.

TARTY TO THE PARTY (Race 2@WO, May 20, 2013, 6 furlongs, Maiden Claiming $40,000) Filly was a little slow into stride and traveled along the rail and had to wait slightly down the backstretch. She could not use her best stride in turn and had to check slightly midway in the turn. Had a good chance to win and run down the favorite when entering the stretch but rider lost control and the filly floated several lanes wide without reason. She ran well once on a straight path.

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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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