“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Oct. 22, 2015


Jax Heritage (Belmont Park – 10/17/15 – Race #6 – #1 – One mile on the turf) – rider Joel Rosario had the call for Mark Hennig, and this guy gave a new name to getting boxed in.  Just as Rosario pushed the button, he had to take up off heels to keep from going down and had to restrain his mount strongly. He showed plenty in the tank, but just bad luck on this day. He was the odds-on favorite, and next time he should be just a little higher which is just what the doctor ordered.


Mister Popsicle (Belmont Park – 10/10/15 – Race #1 – #6 – 6 1/2f on the dirt) –  jockey “Jersey” Joe Bravo up for David Jacobson. Bravo’s mount broke awkwardly at the start, and chased the pace setters while going four wide at the 1/4 pole. – I think any smoother trip could move him right into the winner’s circle next time out.


Summer Candy (Belmont Park – 10/10/15 – Race #5 – #5 – 1 1/16 on the turf) – Elvis Trujillo aboard this first timer for the Christophe Clement barn. He was bumped at the start, and forced to take up briefly. As he was trying to settle his mount he was forced to go four wide and offered up a late kick that showed interest down the lane. He finished 6th on this day, but good things are coming very soon for this colt.



Stetson Gal (Belterra Park – 10/8/15 – Race #7 – #1 – 5 1/2f on the dirt) veteran rider John McKee was in the irons for Tom Drury who was winning at a white-hot 61% for the meet.  His filly broke a little slow and hustled quickly along the rail to get into perfect striking position. – After chatting with Mr. Drury, he felt she needed a cleaner start and she’ll benefit greatly next time out. His plans were to run her at Turfway Park on the poly track, and this is one you won’t want to miss.


Chatter (Belterra Park – 10/8/15 – Race #7 – #7 – 5 1/2f on the dirt) –  Geovany Garcia was aboard for the Jeff Greenhill barn. She drifted out at the start costing her precious ground as they were sprinting 5 1/2. – Once she got her feet under her, a sustained rally was produced to run down Miss So So. – She didn’t look settled, and weaved in and out down the lane as the leader switched off the rail to the center of the track. – Call this a “key race” to watch as two runners who finished just off the winner ran a perfect race. – Look for this gal at Mahoning Valley, or Turfway Park. Team Greenhill spots runners where they need to be, and he does quite well on the travel.


Good Time Rambles (Belterra Park – 10/10/15 – Race #5 – #5 – 8f on the dirt) –  Azael Deleon was the pilot and his mount went right to his knees at the start compromising his chances at showing his best ability. At the 3/8th’s pole he started a powerful rally to come up a bit short right at the wire. – A cleaner start should have this runner in a good position turning for home.



Carina Mia (Keeneland – 10/7/15 – Race #7 -#10 – 6 /12f on the dirt) –  Julien Leparoux was aboard for Bill Mott on this first time starter. She broke alertly and set the pace going three deep from the #10 post. Once she opened clear, she dropped over to the rail and saved ground. She fought gamely down the lane, but the salty fractions may have taken a little out of the tank to get bested nearing the wire. – She did everything right and just didn’t get her picture taken. Mott will have her ready as the second time out should have her ready to roll.


Miss Temple City (Keeneland – 10/10/15 – Race #9 – #3 – (G-1) 1 1/8th on the turf) –  Drayden Van Dyke was aboard for Graham Motion, and this team can be awfully tough when they come together on the turf. Van Dyke is quietly becoming one of the best turf riders in the country. She settled out nicely and did everything right until his mount was forced to steady when the real running began at the 3/16th’s pole. – Give him clear sailing and he’ll give a better account of himself down the lane.


Sharm (Keeneland – 10/15/15 – Race #7 – #2 – 7f on the dirt) –  Florent Geroux was in the saddle for this (27-1) trying to chase down the big chalk winner Watershed from the red-hot Kiaran McLaughlin barn. He tracked patiently and made a five-wide move around the far turn to put in a strong bid to wheel in the leader. He did just that but was bested by a monster on this day. Give him a little softer field and it will be lights out down the lane with a quick turn of foot.


Ultimatum (Keeneland – 10/17/15 – Race #3 – #7 – 1 1/8 on the dirt) –  Shaun Bridgmohan in the saddle for Wayne Catalano. She was the odds-on favorite, and jumped in the air as the gate broke. This set her back quite a bit, and she made a solid move five-wide to finish an even fourth. – A good gate break and a little racing luck has her right on target.


See Through (Keeneland – 10/17/15 – Race #4 – #2 – 7f on the dirt) – Victor Lebron was in the saddle for Paul McGee. She trailed early on and put in a strong bid around the turn and took over the lead. As she took command her efforts looked good as gold, but was run down by the big chalk Happy to Go with quick fractions to set up the closers. – I think we’ll see her at Churchill for McGee, and he has done good work over the years at his home base.


Shadow Rock (Keeneland- 10/17/15 – Race #6 – #4 – 5 1/2f on the turf) –  red hot jockey Florent Geroux in the irons this day, and he attended the pace in an even fashion. When the real running began he was unable to find any way through the traffic. Inside, outside, behind the pack. You name it, it happened. Finally the rider pulled his mount over to the rail and coasted home easily looking forward to the next outing. – There was plenty of gas in the tank, but traffic down the lane can be tougher than a nickel steak. Give him a hole and it may be all over but the crying next time to the races.


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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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