“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – November 18, 2015


D’BUNNYPHONE (Race 5 at Aqueduct, Nov. 13, maiden claimer) – Expected pace setter lost best chance when stumbling badly at start.  Was rank while 3 wide on the backstretch.  Proceeded to make strong middle move, while again three wide on the far turn, but flattened out in stretch drive in race won by favorite.

BLUE PIGEON  (Aqueduct – 11/14/15 – Race #4 – #2 – 1 1/16 turf) –  Jose Ortiz in the irons for Linda Rice, and their runner was “pocketed up” forcing Ortiz to step on the breaks taking a strong hold of his mount. He was in the “box” for a good portion of the race and had to wrangle back his mount wearing him down. – Once he slipped though late in the lane, he showed good acceleration after being wrangled back most of the race. – A cleaner trip has him right there next out.

WAR DANCER (Aqueduct – 11/14/15 – Race #7 – #3 – 1 3/8 on the turf) – RIDER Jose Lezcano had the call for Bill Mott. These guys know how to bring a turf runner ready. He hit the stall briskly leaving the starting gate, and still established the lead. He was in hand and not asked for his best in the two path as the skilled efforts of Lezcano slowed down the fractions to his liking. When the real running began, he ran in lock step with a challenger and weakened in the late stages of the race. – When you have a tough exit from the gate, this can be a taxing effort to overcome. Lezcano is one of the best turf riders, and with a little better start, he’ll jump to the lead and put them sleep all the way to the winner’s circle.


JUJU’S MOJO (Race 8 at Del Mar, Nov. 12, 2yo Fillies, 6 furlongs dirt) – Maiden claimer and 2nd time starter got an indecisive and overall poor ride from jockey Ty Alexander. Once she got clear sailing, she finished well for a sneaky good 3rd place showing.  Trainer Phil D’Amato will her ready to win next time out.


WALKABOUT (Churchill Downs – 11/14/15 – Race #5- #6 – 6f dirt) – This filly was a sweet 37-1 when the gates opened. – She was slow coming away from the gate, and this being her first effort as a two-year-old was a good learning experience. She angled off the rail to be in the seven path, and finished in high gear down the lane to finish third. – There is nothing like “baby” showing a good finish to get you chomping at the bit for her next trip out.


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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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