“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Nov. 11, 2015

Horse racing circuits are shifting ovals, and the turf racing countdown has begun for many tracks entering the winter months. Racing fans can don’t need a calendar. They can tell you what month it is by the tracks that open their doors. As leaves begin dropping from the trees and holiday commercials start appearing. There’s no need to worry. Thoroughbred  action is hot all year long!

In the meantime, here are a few goodies to get your inner-horse player cranked up. The runners listed below had a troubled trip, a bad break, or didn’t have the chance to give their best effort. For handicappers, anytime we identify troubled runners. They may make for an excellent wagering opportunity next out.


Midnight Champagne (Belmont Park – 10/20/15 – Race #1 – #2 – 6f on the dirt) –  Abel Castellano was in the saddle, as many big name riders were already at Keeneland for Breeders’ Cup. His filly broke outwards at the start, and checked up off heels at the 7/16’s mark. If there is a cleaner effort next up and possibly a rider change. Please pay full attention as the connections may have felt there could have been a better effort.

Converge (Belmont Park – 10/30/15 – Race #7 – #10 – One mile on the turf) –  Jose Ortiz had the call for trainer Chad Brown, and his colt broke from the outside #10 post. He spun 4 wide at the back of the pack adding to his distance travelled, and commenced a bid at the top of the lane. He was 7 wide down the lane and put in a very strong effort to finish second. – The field ran a mile in this race, and he may have covered a 1 1/16. If he is able to save ground at any point next out, he’ll be a tough customer.


Trifecta (Del Mar – 10/29/15 – Race #5 – #4 – One mile on the turf) –  James Graham was aboard, and he is a very solid turf rider. The charts read he couldn’t summon up the necessary response. But, as our late-friend Mr. Paul Harvey used to say;  “And now for the rest of the story.” – He was forced to check- up off heels, and Graham had to steady at different times during the race. He floated out for run at the top of the lane, and still didn’t have a clear path. – Some runners just call it a day when forced to be driven, ridden, or stop their momentum. He was (16-1) on this day, and I’ll bet you’ll get just as much next time out.



Officer Griffin (Keeneland – 10/30/15 – Race #1 – #2 – 6f on the dirt) – Corey Lanerie was in the irons for Joe Sharp, and his colt was slow away from the gate and soundly hit Bump Hard. Once he was able to regroup his runner, he had to wait behind runners as he was attempting to save ground and slide in between runners. he offered up a solid bid and finished 3rd on this day. The track was playing very fast and any hesitation can be the difference in running 3rd and winning. – Next time out he’ll benefit from this race.

Fundamental (Keeneland – 10/30/15 – Race #4 – #3 – 1 1/8 on the turf) – Jockey Irad Ortiz had the call for Chad Brown, and his colt saved ground all the way around ready to kick in down the lane. He looked ready to roll at the top of the lane and was forced to check briskly at the 1/8th pole. This really took him off his game, and as Brown is his go-to-guy, you can bet he’ll find a smoother trip next out.


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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 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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