“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Feb. 17, 2016

Horses to Watch for AGameofSkill.com visitors.

Aqueduct

Lilikoi (AQU Race #3 – 2/11/16 – #3 – 6f on the inner track) –  She tossed her head at the break and refused to run. She was backed by the public at (7-2) and when runners refuse to exit the starting gate, you can bet dollars to donuts the barn will have her in top order next time she heads to the paddock. She looked very good on the track, and we’ll just toss this as a “clunker” and move on to bigger and better things for this filly.

Gulfstream Park

Clear Status (GP Race #3 – 2/14/16 – #1 – 6f on the main track) – Jockey Luis Saez was the pilot, and he broke just a step slow and had to rush to find position. He was a “beaten favorite” on this day, and for handicappers this is bet back angle. Maybe a little better start will help his causes next out, and he’ll find some payback for his backers.

Adornment (GP Race #8 – 2/14/16 – #4 – 7f on the dirt) – Joel Rosario had the call and she has been working “lights out” at Palm Beach Downs. This daughter of Medaglia d’ Oro hails form the Todd Pletcher barn (29%), and she was bumped soundly on this occasion and struggled to get back on task. She has been working well in the mornings, and the connections are top-shelf. She’ll improve off this effort, and I think we’ll see a nice filly down the road.

Indy Artist (GP Race #8 – 2/13/16 – #5 – 6f on the dirt) –  Jockey Edgard Zayas was finding her best stride down the lane and seemed to waver just a tiny bit. As fast as she was closing, she had dead-aim on the leader and would have went past. Maybe the wrong lead for a stride, or just a little green.   Her acceleration was powerful, and I can’t wait until she goes back to the races.

Santa Anita

Bolo (SA Race 8 – 2/13/16 – 1 mile on turf) – This talented turf runner pulled off a solid victory by running down loose-on-the-lead favorite Obviously, who looked home free turning for home.   Bolo has a lot of back class on the grass and he should have a big future if the connections keep him on the sod.

Nodiac (SA Race #8 – 2/14/16 – #9 – 6 1/2f on the turf) –  Santiago Gonzalez did an excellent job getting her to settle and rate just off the leader. They just ran into a very quick runner from the Baffert barn on this day.  A three-year-old filly by Kodiak who did everything but get her picture taken on this day.   Looking forward to watching her mature. We’ll cash a few tickets on this gal in days to come!

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“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Feb. 9, 2016

Horses to Watch forAGameofSkill.com visitors.  Put these runners in your Stable Mail.

Dubai / Meydan

Naadirr (Dubai Race #2 – 2/4/16 – #3 – 5f on the turf) – World class rider Christophe Soumillion aboard for Marco Botti, and his runner closed very fast down the lane. It had the look of a solid prep, and the commentators made note he’ll be returning later for the reminder of the Carnival. Soumillon is one of the best turf riders in the world, and he waited patiently before giving a little gas and accelerated swiftly with no real urging.

Gulfstream Park

Island Saint (Race #3 – 1/30/16 – #4 – 7f dirt) – This filly by Speightstown was handled by John Velasquez for Todd Pletcher.  – The only scrape on race was facing a very talented gal by the name of Cathryn Sophia. Island Saint set the fractions, and appeared to be going very well. She was bested by a much better filly I think we’ll be hearing from down the road. She should e a very solid player going 6f – 7f, and hopefully against just a bit softer competition.

Life Imitates Art (Race #5 – 1/30/16 – #6 – 1 mile turf) – Top jock Joel Rosario for the Chad Brown barn.  This colt looked to have good movement and was pushed out strongly at the 3/8th’s pole very wide most of the race. He exited off a win in the G-3 Dania, and I’m going toss this race as a “clunker.”  The connections are red-hot, and with a little better trip it could be lights out down the lane.

Taste for Talent (GP Race #7 – 1/30/16 – #1 – 7 1/2f turf) –  Corey Lanerie up for Joe Sharp, and this colt was flying from the clouds. He did nothing wrong, and had dead aim on the leader. – He ran out of real estate and an effort anywhere close has him in the winner’s circle.

Fair Grounds

K’s Got a Notion (FG Race #1 – 1/30/16 – #1 – 1 mile main track) –  Mitchell Murrill in the saddle, and he was forced to check his mount sharply just as they were making the run down the backstretch. Once the rider got his mount under restraint, he made a well recovered effort to finish in the money. – He’s been going short, and look for a cutback in distance next out.

Santa Anita

Tannersmymuscle (SA Race #8 – 1/30/16 – #3 – 6f on the main track) –  Joe Talamo had the call for Ron Ellis, and the colt broke awkwardly from the gate. Once settled, Talamo did an excellent job of getting him into position where he was forced to wait for a gap. – He finished up with energy and should be a handful next time out. – This was a first time claim for the Ellis barn and they win 27% with new runners, and 24% with beaten favorites. Add in 3/4 ITM over the course, and you’ll want to be first in line to make a bet.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Jan. 27, 2016

Horses to Watch from AGameofSkill.com – the free horse racing watch list

 

AQUEDUCT

Beyond the Green (Aqueduct – Race #6 – 1/22/16 – Alw $57,000 – #2) –  Kendrick Carmouche in the irons, and he came under urging at the 5/16’s, and showed a nice late kick. This really caught my eye as a “wager in waiting.” – Love the rider, and for breaking dead-last and rolling late. – I’ve got my eyes peeled for this colt.

Rockford (Aqueduct – Race #7 – 1/22/16 – Starter Alw – #6 – 1 and 70 yards on the inner track) –  Jose Ortiz was the rider for Bruce Levine, and his runner threw his head at the start cracking his noggin against the side of the gate. – The rider knew this was going to be a workout and just wrapped up and jogged the distance. – I’ll toss this one, as he looked like a million bucks on the track. Add in being claimed four times in a row, and we have a horse that has the attention of trainers and bettors.

Gulfstream Park

Nena (Race #7 – 1/22/16 – Mdn Claiming -#3 – 1 1/16 on the dirt) –  John Cruz had the call on this filly, and she did a great job of tracking the early speed over a sloppy (sealed) track. – She tried to kick off the rail for clear sailing, and ran into a heap of trouble and was “boxed in” waiting for room late in the lane. She showed good interest once she broke free, and that is plenty to watch when this filly takes the track next out.

Cheri’s Win (Race #3 – 1/23/16 – Claiming – #7 – 6 1/2f on the dirt) –  Vincente Gudiel had the call, and the apprentice rider gave a bit of a questionable ride. – I’m not into blaming,  so I’ll toss the race as he may not have been familiar with this filly. – She was five wide the entire race in a field of seven runners. I think this caused her to lose plenty of ground, and when he called upon her she finished with a steady advance as the beaten chalk. – I’m a big fan of “bug” riders, and maybe they’ll use him right back. – Either way, I think they may have a nice runner looking for a little better trip.

Tampa Bay Downs

Fort Prada (Race #10 – 1/20/16 – AOC $32,000 – 5f on the turf – #4) – top rider Antonio Gallardo in the irons for Chris Block, and she was off slowly going a short turf event. This usually has you looking to the next effort, but she made up a great deal of ground with the rail out at 30 feet and a 57.2 time. – She was on fire down the lane and should bring the heat next time to the races.

Slip of the Tongue  (Race #6 – 1/20/16 – A.O.C $75,000 -#2 – 1 1/16 on the turf) – Manny Cruz in the saddle for Eoin Harty. This filly was making her second off the shelf from Presque Isle, and was dropping in class from the $100k Sandpiper Stakes. – She made a professional move around the far turn, and this (22-1) shot ran a better race than shows on paper. She’ll mature off this effort and light up the board next out.

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

BELMONT PARK

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.

 

BELTERRA PARK (OHIO)

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.

 

KEENELAND

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.

 

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – July 2, 2015

Gulfstream Park

Lilly’s Finale – (Gulfstream Park, 7/1/15 – Race 4) – Well bet firster from Ralph Nicks barn got off to a terrible start. Proceeded to make a strong middle move before encountering more trouble.  Flattened out late in a better-than-it looks debut.

Belmont Park

Spectacular Me  (Belmont / 6/27/15 / Race #3) – Jose Ortiz advanced nicely in the two path, and swung three wide at the top of the lane trading minor bumps. A clean trip without the overland route, and she’ll be ready for the winner’s circle.

Grandpa Len (Belmont / 6/27/15 / Race 5) – Jose Ortiz’s mount hopped at the start causing a rush up to battle for the lead. The energy to overcome a tardy beginning can take away from a game plan, and with a smooth beginning we’ll see a runner dictate the pace with better focus.

Joking (Belmont / 6/27/15 / Race #6) – Manuel Franco is one of the most under rated pilots in the country. His runner fanned out four wide, and dropped his stick in the process while in tight quarters with Silver Ride. A solid pace and clean trip makes all the difference in the world next out.

Queenofzeenile (Belmont / 6/27/15 / Race #7) Jose Lezcano in the irons on the turf is always a good sign. His mount was bumped soundly at the start, and swung wide to avoid traffic at the top of the lane. He was gunning down the lane but ran out of course. If Lezcano stays aboard next out, bet early and bet often.

Request (Belmont / 6/27/15 / Race #8) – Irad Ortiz is the new man in New York, and when you team him up with Chad Brown you should proceed with great confidence. He was sitting patiently in the pocket and everything looked dandy. He dueled down the lane aggressively with Sly Tom and was bested by a nose. Look for the Chad Brown barn to be on the muscle for some payback next out.

Wonder Gal (Belmont / 6/27/15 / Race #9) Rajiv Maragh ran into a monster on this day, and she did very little wrong. She launched a bid at the 5/16th’s pole and all systems look promising. – She ran into a monster by the name of Include Betty on this day, and the Mother Goose will be a race we’ll be talking about for quite sometime. Next out, if she’s able to duplicate anything close to that performance it should be caviar and champagne for this beaten favorite.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – April 9, 2015

Horses from the “Off the Charts” Trip Notes are never automatic bet backs.  Always evaluate their chances through the normal handicapping process.

Tasseography (Keeneland April 3th, Race 3, #7) seemed to take a lot of slop on the inside and it might have affected her finish a bit.  Most jockeys on this date seemed to avoid being on the rail too.

 Japan (Keeneland April 4th, Race 3, #6) was very green and doesn’t seem to understand what racing is about, but put in a good fight against heavily-backed Wisecraker in a two-turn MSW.

Conquest Angel (Keeneland April 4th, Race 11, #11) put in a huge wide run against a maiden field that looked strong on paper.  Overcame bumping and a wide trip to win comfortably.

Mubtaahij (UAE Derby, March 28) – is a nice three year old with a fantastic distance pedigree and late charge.  Some “experts” looking at the times from Dubai World Cup day don’t realize how deep the surface was – for example Secret Circle went 43.60 seconds in his Santa Anita prep for Dubai to the half mile, and he went 46.58 seconds for the half mile in Dubai!  That is a huge difference for a top-class sprinter.  With a lot of horses wanting to be on the speed in the Kentucky Derby, Mubtaahij can put in a big late run and be a factor.

Horses to Watch Entered this Week and Next:

Avenge is set to face N1x allowance fillies and mares down the Santa Anita hill this Thursday the 9th in Race 7.

Yes For Success is set for a 6.5 furlong MSW race at Aqueduct on Friday the 10th in Race 6.

Far Right runs this Saturday the 11th against superhorse du jour American Pharaoh in the Arkansas Derby.

Metaboss just fired a bullet at Keeneland.  Usually that means he’s within a week or two of racing.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – March 12, 2015

AQUEDUCT

Tiz Shea D (Aqueduct Race 9 on 3/7/15, #6 Saddlecloth) ran extremely well first-time Bill Mott, first-time Aqueduct to be a credible second in the Gotham at 11/1.  I did not like the ride this one got, it seemed like Taylor Rice was committed to keep this horse on the rail the entire way, which almost backfired until the horse FINALLY got some running room along the rail in the final 3/16ths.   This horse is better than people think and has a reasonable shot at a top three placing in the Wood.

SANTA ANITA

Bolo (Santa Anita Race 7 on 3/7/15, #7 Saddlecloth) had shown a lot of talent on grass, and then missed the Robert L. Lewis stakes because of a training setback.  11/1 odds in this race, what impressed me was the good run off a break going back to December 27th, even trying the dirt the first time and having to rate.  Wide on both turns, his jockey Victor Espinoza energetically challenged odds-on Dortmund just inside the quarter pole, then had to alter course late as Dortmund drifted out under left-handed pressure, probably costing Bolo second in the race when passed just before the wire by the talented Prospect Park.  Don’t be surprised if Bolo wins some HUGE races this year.

Blue Law (Santa Anita Race 1 on 2/28/15, #3 Saddlecloth) was the 9/10 favorite off a very nice turf debut.  Did he deserve to be 9/10 last weekend?  Not really, but Kent Desormeaux put this horse on the engine and made what looked on paper to be a paceless affair into a stiff battle of attrition, going out in 46.68 for the half and 1:11.76 for 6 furlongs, and setting a pace that fast would cook most maiden horses.  Certainly willing to give this horse another chance for the win.

Anniversary Kitty (SA Race 4 on 2/28/15, #11 Saddlecloth) was not able to “slot in” because the pace down the hill was not fast enough to “stretch the field.”  The result was ‘Kitty’ was at least 6 wide on the big turn (the charts said 6 wide, I actually had her eight wide into the stretch).  Even after all the wide traffic, she mad a small rally in deep stretch in a game effort.  Play this one right back.

Nob Hill (SA Race 1 on 2/28/15, #11 Saddlecloth) was “only” 16 and ½ lengths back at the half mile split, which gave him absolutely no chance to win.  The fact he could rally to a very close 3rd within ½ length of a brutal finish shows that this horse has determination, and on paper going into the race it appeared he had some talent too.  Judging by his PPs his best distance is probably a mile or a mile and a 16th.

TAMPA BAY DOWNS

Ball Dancing (Tam Race 10 on 3/7/15, #1 Saddlecloth) was first off the layoff for Chad Brown, and showed a LOT of energy in the stretch, unable to catch 7/5 favorite Stephanie’s Kitten (also trained by Brown) but easily beating the others.  She’s eligible to have a big year on the grass. 

Ami’s Flatter (Tam Race 11 on 3/7/15, #4 Saddlecloth) appears to be going the right way with the addition of Lasix and blinkers and while he may not be as talented as the top three year olds, he might find a way into a superfecta or two in a big race or get a win in the lower tier races like the Iowa Derby, the Ohio Derby or the Oklahoma Derby.

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“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Feb. 24, 2015

Stable Drops from “Off the Charts” Trip Notes: 

Frosted was terrible in the Fountain of Youth. Maybe he’ll turn it around at another track (for example Wicked Strong hated Gulfstream) but I don’t have the patience to see it through.

 Stable Adds for “Off the Charts” Trip Notes:  

Glenard (wore saddlecloth #1 in FG R9 on 2/21/2015):  Closed like a wild horse after getting caught behind very pedestrian fractions on a day that speed on the FG turf won nearly every grass race.  Same trainer (Graham Motion) as Main Sequence, this Euro import looks like the real deal.

Mr. Online (wore saddlecloth #3 in GP R10 on 2/21/2015):  Drew inside and the key to winning a turf race at Gulfstream is getting your mount OUTSIDE on the backstretch going into the second turn.  It looked like Jockey Mario Pino was unsure how to accomplish this task and made a real mess of it.  This horse is capable of firing a big shot with the right trip.

Cleartap (wore saddlecloth #7 in OP R6 on 2/22/2015) ran her heart out putting in two strong runs wide and may not have appreciated the sloppy track as much as the winner.  Should break her maiden in one of her next two starts.

Short Heat Wave (wore saddlecloth #10 in SA R7 on 2/22/2015) ran a phenomenal race off the bench to lose to the rejuvenated Arlington House in a face that was very fast for the half-mile and final time.  Hopefully he wasn’t knocked out.

What’s On Tap this weekend?

Contrarian Bet runs in a La-Bred optional claimer at FG on February 27th that he should crush.

Wisecracker, The Man, New Summit and Wabel should all be ready to enter Maiden Special races and all should go well.

Ocean Knight will be one of the favorites for the March 7th Tampa Bay Derby