“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Sept. 30, 2015

AGameofSkill.com Horses to Watch are never automatic bet backs.  Always analyze the horse’s chances versus today’s competition and in light of the information provided here.


#4 – Upper Arlington (Belterra Park – Race #3 – #4 – 1 mile on the dirt) – Jockey Eddie Zuniga was aboard this Cleveland invader, and ran a cloaked good effort. He started making up ground putting in a good bid and ran into traffic. Zuniga wrapped up on his runner thinking of next time out.

#3 – Fly’ n Bayou (Belterra Park – Race #7 – #3 – 1 mile on the dirt) – Angel Stanley was aboard and encountered trouble going to his nose at the start, and was forced to take up in upper stretch and alter course.  This rider shows a great deal of talent, and was leading rider at Mahoning Valley last winter. – Bet this one early and often next timeout.

#1 – Curalina (Belmont Park – Race #5 – #1 -1 1/8 on the dirt) – John Velasquez up for his go-to-man Todd Pletcher. She stumbled at the start, and in a race of this magnitude that is enough to be running for second monies at best. She settled out nicely and offered up a two-wide bid to come up a little empty nearing the wire against standout chalk Wedding Toast. – I love runners who bring it every time, and with a clean break and a little racing luck has her turning the tables next out.


#4 – Wavell Avenue (Belmont Park – Race #7 – #4 – 6 1/2f on the dirt) – Jockey Joel Rosario had the call for Chad Brown, and this filly stumbled at the start and recovered nicely to put in a solid bid tipping off the rail and posing a threat to the ultra-talented La Verdad. – She’ll need a clean break and save some ground against the rail. I think the barn will have her in top gear next up.

#1 – Ray’s the Bar (Belmont Park – Race #8 – #1 – 1 1/16 on the inner turf) – Javier Castellano in the irons for Chad Brown, and this guy has the look of something special. He had a great effort and moved away from the rail and started to find his best stride when he was forced to steady behind a wall of horses in mid-stretch. He was coming in from Royal Ascot, and we’ll give him a pass in here. Castellano makes very few mistakes, and Team Brown will have the screws tightened down for maximum effort.



#6 – Class Leader (Santa Anita – Race #6 – #6 – 1 1/4 on the turf) –  Santiago Gonzalez in the irons for John Sadler, and this guy did everything right but win. I like to file this under running a winner’s race finishing second. Maybe a cut back in distance, or facing a little lesser could be the key. Either way, it was a game effort and he’ll be a player.

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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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