“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Feb. 21, 2016

Horses to Watch

Before you sit back and wait for spring to arrive, here are some runners that will have you jogging to the windows the next time they hit the track.

Gulfstream Park

Songoficeandfire (GP Race #10 – 2/3/16 – #2 – 1 3/16 on the turf) – Jose Lezcano had the call for Bill Mott. This mare settled out nicely behind runners under the guided hand of Lezcano, and waited patiently for a seem. It just wouldn’t appear, and he finally had to “bull” his way over to get out as he had tons of runner. This move had him tap on the brakes, and when he finally saw daylight he ran out of real estate.  Lezcano and Mott are 37% ITM as team,  and I would look for some payback next up.

Dubai / Meydan

Famous Kid (Dubai Race #5 – 2/4/16 – #2 – 1 3/4 mile) – James Doyle had the assignment for Saeed bin Suroor, and this runner was locked in against the fence by State Empire. Once Doyle was able to guide his runner off the hedge he had a very strong late kick to finish up 3rd. Hoping to see a return later in the month for the Carnival.

Gulfstream Park

Who’s Your Drama (GP Race #8 – 2/6/16 – Race #8 – #8 – 1 1/16 on the turf) –  Javier Castellano in the irons for Todd Pletcher. This was the second effort off the shelf for the son of Big Drama, and had been working well at Palm Meadows.   Confidently handled and had the misfortune of running into some slow fractions. He closed up very solid after being 14th in this field.   An effort pretty much the same has him in the winner’s circle.

All Included (GP Race #12 – 2/6/16 – #4 – 1 1/8 on the turf) –  Luis Saez aboard for Todd Pletcher.  He was holding the rail most of the trip, and when called upon for his best stride was a little erratic trying to work off the rail. The connections team up to win 35% as team, and this son of Include looks to be on target for a great 2016.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Feb. 2, 2015

Recent “Off the Charts” Results:

Starts – 26

Wins – 7 (27% win rate from starters)

In the money – 16 (62% In the money rate)

WIN Return on Investment (-15.00%)


This week:

Starters – 9

Winners -1

In the money – 4

Rather than go through a very disappointing week on the blog, I will just review what I have been doing so far.

I have been looking at horses that have tough trips, and then adding them to the stable as potential runners, regardless of class level.  Unfortunately trainers and owners will often run their horses where they don’t belong.  Fond of Sarah is a great example.

Fond of Sarah broke her maiden at Suffolk Downs (not an overly classy track), then runs right back in a $100,000 stakes at Tampa and gets destroyed, but I thought she made a lot of sense to run back in an N1x allowance at Tampa, dirt or turf, so I didn’t care.  I then added her to the stable.  Instead she put in several works over five weeks, then got destroyed in an N1x allowance at Gulfstream.  I have no idea why you would have a horse that screams “run me at Tampa,” but instead you run your horse (at 20/1) at Gulfstream instead.

To counter this “trainer’s malpractice,” I will try to keep most of my future selections on horses that have not broken their maiden with the logic being they will have a good chance to win their maiden and possibly their N1x allowance condition.

Stable “Drops for the week:”

Fond of Sara (see above)

Margano – has also been too ambitiously spotted his last few races.

Battle Red – has turned into a consistent loser and he never pays well anyway.

 Additions to the stable:

West Eighth Street (23/1) and C’Mon Boys (5/1) both come out of the same Gulfstream Park maiden turf race on January 24 (Race 3).  WES was wide on both turns and only lost by a length and a quarter.  C’Mon Boys was dreadful but is bred to be a monster and deserves another chance.

Wisecracker ran a winning race but could not hold off the talented half-brother to Royal Delta, Khozan, in the 6th Race at Gulfstream on Jan 24th.  Final time was strong and both horses could have good futures.

New Summit and The Man (common races of the 2nd race on Jan 3rd and the 4th race on Jan 25th) keep knocking heads and putting up good speed.  Both have the ability to win their N1X condition.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Jan. 17, 2015

Recent Results from our Horses to Watch featured here on Agameofskill.com.

Starts – 14

Wins – 6 (43% win rate from starters)

In the money – 9 (64% In the money rate)

WIN Return On Investment (+12.86%)

So what happened last week?  Two winners (two odds-on winners) and a very game placing down the Santa Anita hillside course:

Centrique was properly kept in the starter allowance ranks, winning a one-turn mile in fine fashion and paying ($3.00), becoming the first repeat winner for this blog (yay!).  Hopefully she will be positioned more aggressively next time out.  Hoppertunity got a nice rail run at Santa Anita and won well enough at a distance that is probably a furlong short of his best, paying ($3.60).

Air to Royalty was placed above her conditions on January 8th (she is eligible for an open N1x allowance and she ran in an open N2x allowance) so she could get in a race down the hill at Santa Anita.  There is a $150,000 stakes race also down the hill that she is being pointed for in a few weeks.  Despite all of the demands put on the horse, she did well, beaten ¾ of a length for all the money, running third.  We will keep her in the stable.

Time to drop Angie’s Prim Lady from the stable

Angie’s Prim Lady was one of my most hopeful picks, coming in from Indiana Downs and Churchill with three straight turf sprint wins.  However, her form in New Orleans has been horrible, getting beat badly in both Fair Grounds turf sprints.  Maybe this one needs the Churchill grass course to do her best?

Current “live bullets” that should compete well over the next two to three weeks

  • Jojo Warrior has had two sharp works for Baffert and may improve sharply next out.
  • Wabel is also working OK for Baffert and finally gets to go two turns this Friday the 16th. He’s bred to go well two-turning (his sire is Curlin) so fingers crossed.
  • Dubai Sky appears to be holding form as he moves up the Gulfstream Park class ladder.
  • Yes for Success has put in some “sneaky good” works (example one 4 furlong breeze was 13th out of 121 at the distance) for Kimmel in New York. Definitely expecting a sharp effort from this guy.
  • Margano was entered at Gulfstream but he did not draw into the race and worked at Tampa instead. This one is probably live if he draws a decent post.
  • Frosted and Ocean Knight have been working extremely well at Palm Meadows and I would make both horses Triple Crown contenders for now. I think Ocean Knight (also by Curlin) has a chance to be REALLY good.  In one workout the horses worked in company and they dead heated at the wire.

Off the Charts Trip Notes – Jan. 5, 2015

This exclusive and free AGameofSkill.com feature, Off the Charts Trip Notes (Jan. 5, 2015), finds horses throughout the country who encountered some type of noteworthy trouble in their most recent start or just gave an extremely impressive performance. Please note that horses spotlighted in Off the Charts Trip Notes are never an automatic bet back, but rather runners to give a serious look at given the trips and the trouble spotted by our expert handicappers at AGameofSkill.com.

by Tony Kelzenberg

First off, I would like to wish everybody a great 2015, in both personal relationships and betting.  2014 was my best year as a bettor and I hope it goes even “better” for me next year (I could not resist the pun).

The horses that I have put out in a “horses to watch” list have been coming back to run over the last few weeks.  Here are the results so far (of course, past success does not insure future results), or as Yogi Berra once said “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Recent Results (Dec. 2014)

Starts – 9

Wins – 4 (44% win rate from starts)

In the money – 6 (67% In the money rate)

WIN Return On Investment (ROI) = 39%

($2 dollars bet on every horse to win would return $2.78 on average)

  Horses to Watch Winners this Past Week:

As I expected, CENTRIQUE (paid $3.20 to win) Gulfstream R4, Dec. 26th, was dropped to a starter allowance level that she qualified for months ago.  That, along with JAVIER CASTELLANO up and BLINKERS off certainly added up to a short price in a 9 horse field, but she opened up at 1 to 9 odds (off a 3/1 ML)!!!  Drifting up to 4/5 late, Centrique controlled the pace from the 6 furlong pole to the line from the inside.  She handled the sloppy track and finished well enough to prove her above average late kick is still there.  On the other hand, it did not appear to me that she can move back easily into stakes company and win at the tough GP meet.  Look for trainer Marty Wolfson to get Centrique into a conditioned allowance race at 6.5 or 7 furlongs.

CATALINA RED (paid $3.20 to win) Tampa Bay Downs R9, Dec. 27th, how I love you so.  Coming off a 7 length crush in the 6 furlong Inaugural Stakes at Tampa, I was hoping to get 7/5 or 8/5 odds off a 3/1 Morning Line (second choice), but after three scratches and only 6 runners Catalina Red stood out to everyone that could read a “Form” at 3/5.  Pace setter X Y Jet (who defeated Catalina Red at GP West), was getting a trainer change to Jorge Navarro, who is deadly with speed horses entering his barn and was the 2/1 second choice.  “The Jet” laid down a 44 and change half mile, and kept on finding, forcing Catalina Red to make several runs at the leader, ultimately catching the speedster two jumps from the line in 1:21.40, a STAKES and TRACK record.  Off of this race Catalina Red looks like the local horse to beat for the Sam F. Davis Stakes, and if that goes well I would expect a start in the Tampa Bay Derby.  The exacta of CR over XY Jet paid an acceptable $6.20

MONSIEUR POWER (paid $15.00) Golden Gate R4, Dec. 28th, was kind of my X-Factor horse coming out of a Del Mar straight maiden turf race where he was hopelessly blocked and I thought the horse looked athletic enough so I put him in my Virtual Stable.  I was busy with the holidays, but a fan of this blog, Bill Mentes, was paying attention and was able to get some money down on this overlay.  The trainer, Patrick (Paddy) Gallagher, changed the track (Golden Gate), the surface (turf to poly), the distance (from a mile to 6 furlongs) and the running style (stalker to wire to wire).  You could say the connections definitely earned the 6.5 to 1 odds on that training job.  Another way to look at it, watch Patrick (Paddy) Gallagher closely, he’s quite sneaky.

CONTRARIAN BET (paid $3.60) Fair Grounds R2, Dec. 29th, was a selection into my Virtual Stable because I liked his combination of early speed and professionalism – he seemed like a hard trier.  I saw him win for $5,000 claiming against fellow Louisiana-breds, but Trainer Tom Amoss must have liked the race too, because he moved the horse up to $15,000 La-bred claimers and “CB” crushed the race as the 4/5 favorite.  I would have liked more value here but it is hard to quibble with the results.  He won by 4 under steady urging so there probably is more in the tank.  He was claimed from Amoss by a rival trainer, Ron Faucheux, so maybe there is even more upside than was indicated out of that $5,000 claimer.

Near Misses this Past Week

SON OF WAR (out of the top 4) Santa Anita R5, Dec. 26th was my anticipated bet of the week and he ran a great race on the Santa Anita turf course at 12/1 in a very competitive N1x allowance field, weaving his way through traffic desperately, and making a clear lead a furlong out….and then he ran out of stamina and did not finish in the top 4.  It’s hard to say if the jockey moved too soon or the horse does not want 9 furlongs, but I think an allowance at 8 furlongs is within his scope.  I would really love to see him go down the hill going 6.5 furlongs, as I think the stamina issues would be minimized and this horse is really very agile and can shoot the gaps between animals.

Robert Frankel Stakes, Santa Anita R8, Dec. 27th, fillies and mares, 9 furlongs (turf)

THREE HEARTS (3rd) and LADY OF GOLD (4th) both had unfortunate trips and got beat a head and a half length, respectively, for the win in a 4-horse photo.  Both horses went off at good odds demonstrating the crowd does not realize how good these two are.  Of the two I think Three Hearts might have a bit more upside but both seem good enough to compete in the big filly and mare turf races in Southern California.


 New Horses to Watch (Dec 26th – Dec 28th):

MICKS MIRACLE, Santa Anita R4 Dec. 26th (Maiden Special 6.5 furlongs) is a very athletic horse with a lot of scope, not something that is typical from sons and daughters of noted Florida-based speed sire Wildcat Heir.  The “workout guys” were all over this one before the race, but what I really liked about this horse is that he seems to have several gears, he is not a “one-paced” speed ball.  A mile is definitely in this one’s scope and if American Pharaoh hasn’t come back in time for the Classics this guy might be the next best classic contender in Southern California.

WABEL, Santa Anita R4, Dec. 26th (Maiden Special 6.5 furlongs), is a horse that has sprinted twice and shown good early speed but no finish.  Being by Curlin, he probably would improve going two turns.  Finishing a well-beaten second to potential star Micks Miracle may also help to “darken his form” a bit.

JOJO WARRIOR, Santa Anita R6, Dec. 26th (Grade 1, F&M, 7 furlongs) was stuck very wide FROM POST 10 chasing a 43 and change half mile and never got into the race.  If news reports indicate she was not injured in the La Brea stakes, give her a chance to rebound, especially in two-turn races where she can control the early pace.

PRINICIPESSE AVA, Gulfstream R5, Dec. 26th (N2x allowance, 8.5 furlongs, turf) is a mare that is starting to put it all together.  Her Nov. 13th race at Aqueduct, when she showed a 115 BRIS late speed rating, showed she is learning how to relax, and in the Dec. 26th race she just exploded in a way that indicates that a stakes race is next in her future.

GIANT EGO, Santa Anita R6, Dec. 28th (Clm. $40,000 down the hill – 6.5 furlongs) showed incredible early speed at 25/1 and held well enough before losing to perfect tripper Pepnic narrowly.  This distant relative of Giant’s Causeway just might be a force to recon with in the $32,000 to $50,000 claiming ranks.

BETTYS BAMBINO, Santa Anita R8, Dec. 28th (GR. 3 Daytona Stakes down the hill – 6.5 furlongs) is maturing into a real racehorse and 5-4-0-1 going down the hill at Santa Anita.  Horses that enjoy the downhill course outperform all other types, and in addition this horse showed blistering late speed to win the Daytona, which is not typical for a speed horse.  I think this one can get a mile as well.

Horses to Watch racing – Dec. 26 – 27

by Tony Kelzenberg

Happy Holidays everyone!

Good news – several of the grass horses I have been waiting to come back to race are going to race this weekend.  Some horses I like, and others seem up against it.  I will give the fair odds and the chances of every horse that is running on Friday the 26th or Saturday the 27th.

 Dec. 26th, Gulfstream Park R4 (2:02 est):  CENTRIQUE (3/1 ML)

Centrique has had several bad races in a row, but she is finally dropping out of stakes competition and if she can run back to her races from a year a go she would have this group for lunch.  Unfortunately she is also blinkers off, switches to Javier Castellano, and draws the rail with a 3/1 Morning Line.  I was hoping for much better value when I touted her two weeks ago.

Suggested betting strategy:

If you have the faith #1 CENTRIQUE might be a good single in the horizontal wagers.

Dec 26th, Santa Anita R5 (5:14 est):  SON OF WAR (8/1 ML)

This gorgeous son of huge turf influence War Front broke his maiden like a 4/5 shot, tracking the pace 3 wide all the way around at Del Mar on Nov. 15th and paying $54 to win.  He has two good workouts since but has the misfortune of meeting a very strong field of turf runners.  He drew post 1 and should be able to save ground, but there are several horses that have faster speed figures.  The main dangers look to be the #3 Mal Verde, who already has two grass wins, and Wanstead Gardens, whose best two efforts come from the back end of the field and keeps jockey Joel Rosario.  There does nor appear to be a lot of speed lined up in this race, which may hurt Wanstead Gardens’ chances for the win.

Suggested betting strategy:

Win on #1 SON OF WAR at 10/1 or better.

Exacta Part wheel #1, #3 with #1, #2, #3, #8 (six combinations)

Pick 3 using #1 and #3 (small pick 3 ticket) or #1, #2 #3 and #8 (large pick 3 ticket)

 Dec 27th, Fair Grounds R7 (5:19 est):  STOCK YARD HEN (30/1 ML)

I cited this horse because it put up HUUUUGE early pace figures on Dec 14th, which I thought was odd because it had not been on the lead in its prior 10 starts.  Even though it clunked home, there is a good chance she will move forward and contend for a top 4 placing on Saturday.  With Diving Beauty in the lineup providing the pace, hopefully SYH can save some ground from off the pace and make some noise late.

Suggested betting strategy :

Small win/place wager on #4 STOCK YARD HEN at 20/1 or higher.

Dec 27th, Tampa Bay Downs R7 (4:18 est):  CATALINA RED (3/1 ML)

CATALINA RED put in a very strong claim that he is the best racehorse in this race and I see no reason to get off the bandwagon now.  X Y Jet is a good animal and gets a change to the barn of “miracle worker” Jorge Navarro, and is an obvious speed threat, especially as the Tampa main track has been so friendly to sprinter speed.

Suggested wagering strategy:

Win on #4 CATALINA RED at 2/1 or better

Straight Exacta #4 over #5

Late pick 4: Single #4 (small ticket) or use #4 and #5 (large ticket)

Off the Charts Trip Notes – Dec. 8, 2014

This exclusive and free AGameofSkill.com feature, Off the Charts Trip Notes (Dec. 8, 2014), finds horses throughout the country who encountered some type of noteworthy trouble in their most recent start or just gave an extremely impressive performance. Please note that horses spotlighted in Off the Charts Trip Notes are never an automatic bet back, but rather runners to give a serious look at given the trips and the trouble spotted by our expert handicappers at AGameofSkill.com.

From races run on Friday,Nov. 28th

CLARK HANDICAP – 9 furlongs (dirt) – 3up – Grade 1

Protonico ran the best race of his career (surprise!  A Todd Pletcher horse that is still improving midway through it’s career), threatening Hoppertunity into deep stretch before having to settle for second.  Protonico and Hoppertunity looked like the sharpest runners in the post parade, and that is how it turned out.

It was noticeable that Hoppertunity has a much longer body that Protonico and a less-muscled physique that usually favors runners in races of 9 furlongs or longer.  Protonico has a much more stocky build with a shorter body and very large hindquarters reminiscent of a sprinter/miler, which may prevent him from beating the top horses (Bayern, California Chrome, Tonalist and Hoppertunity) at longer distances.  Regardless, he is a threat to hit the board when he’s ready to roll.

Constitution was very disappointing.  Not just that he lost, but how unprofessional he ran, going wide into the first turn and tossing his head wildly.  Try to beat this horse at every opportunity at every distance when he faces top-tier animals.

Saturday, Nov. 29th  – AQUEDUCT

REMSEN STAKES – 9 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo – Grade 2

On a day when ALL FOUR graded states at Aqueduct were won wire to wire on the lead, 9/5 post time favorite Frosted was parked out wide in the 3 path with no cover (i.e. no horse in front to break the wind resistance).  Not sure he’ll be a price next out but just rating his Remsen effort he’s a fringe Triple Crown contender, at least.  Follow closely.

DEMOISELL STAKES – 9 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo fillies – Grade 2

Condo Commando has won in dominant fashion every time she has run on a dry track.  Hard to think she is a Kentucky Oaks filly until she passes a few horses, but she has really good size and scope for a front runner and if she runs at speed-lover’s paradise Gulfstream Park she may sweep everything before the top horses ship north to Keeneland and Aqueduct next spring.  She is a nice filly to have in a fantasy stable if nothing else.

CIGAR MILE – 8 furlongs (dirt) – 3up – Grade 1

Bourbon Courage desperately needs softer company and a track not so biased against front inside speed.   From what I noticed on videos I saw he was the only closer to make a move in the big races all day from Aqueduct.  Look for him in a conditioned allowance race (best) or maybe a grades sprint stake (should fit) at Gulfstream, preferably at the 6.5 furlong to 7.5 furlong distance.

Saturday, Nov. 29th  – CHURCHILL DOWNS

 GOLDEN ROD STAKES – 8.5 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo fillies – Grade 2

No Fault Of Mine was roughly 15 lengths off the leader when she started her move into the far turn, had to go four wide, then was tipped out 6 wide into the stretch, getting within 3 lengths of the lead.  Inside the 70 yard mark she bore in (moved left) while under an extreme right handed whip, forcing her to switch back late to her left (tired) lead.  She showed courage to finish a competitive second to West Coast Belle.  Give this one another chance when she runs next at either Fair Grounds or Oaklawn.

RACE 10 – 8.0 furlongs (dirt) – 2yo – N1x allowance

Bad news – Dortmund can get even better.  He never changed leads, but he was winning so easily he was never put to pressure.  As the Australians would say “he has a lot of improvement in him.”  In this race the outside draw definitely helped Dortmund, as the jockey could take an up close position and let Dortmund overwhelm his opponents with his athleticism.  I am not yet sure that this colt wants two turns, but he’s a load in one turn races and his talent can carry him at least to the Santa Anita Derby, if not farther.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Dec. 1, 2014

This exclusive and free AGameofSkill.com feature, Off the Charts Trip Notes (Dec. 1, 2014), finds horses throughout the country who encountered some type of noteworthy trouble in their most recent start or just gave an extremely impressive performance. Please note that horses spotlighted in Off the Charts Trip Notes are never an automatic bet back, but rather runners to give a serious look at given the trips and the trouble spotted by our expert handicappers at AGameofSkill.com.

Races run on Sunday, Nov. 23nd

 Aqueduct R4, MSW, Fillies and Mares, 3up, 1 mile and 1/16 (turf)

Keri Belle bumped another horse right out of the gate, then in a paceless field was able to get to the lead on her own open up on the opposition by five lengths setting very, very, soft fractions (25.14, 50.30, 1:18.61).  From a pure numbers perspective, this race was the slowest of the slow, BUT there some things about her performance I really liked.  She relaxed beautifully when she made the lead, indicating setting the fractions may be her style of running.  It also looks like she could run all day, and a lot of those marathon mile and 3/8 or mile and a half races are paceless affairs anyway.  Keri Bell also changed leads on cue (how often do we play a lose leader and it blows the win by NOT changing leads?) then the 4/5 favorite Trophee cut the margin to 2 lengths and KB finished well enough.  The other horses in this race were dreadful.


Aqueduct R7, N1x/$40,000 clm., 3up, 1 mile and 3/8 (turf)

Bishop’s Castle made a bold, but premature 4 wide move on the final turn.  Worth following..

Del Mar R6, N1x/$40,000 clm., 3up 6.5 furlongs (polytrack)

Derringer is only 2 for 20 lifetime, but he is bred to be a router and he looks and runs more like a sprinter/miler than a true sprinter.  He is taller than most sprint types and he has a pretty long stride.  He was able to go 44.91 seconds for the half mile dueling with the favorite here.  I would like to see Derringer go long and see how far he can carry his speed.

Del Mar R7, N1x Cal-bred, 3up, Fillies and Mares, 5 furlongs (turf)

Odds-on winner Dancinthenightaway is a very big filly with a lot of scope and speed.  Expect much bigger things from her.  She is a threat to win going “down the hill” at Santa Anita, or going a mile on the main Santa Anita turf course.



Aqueduct R7, N1x/$40,000 clm., 3up, 1 mile and 3/8 (turf)

Innovation Economy was a romping winner, but early in the stretch drive he was wanting to bore in (move left), which is never a good sign.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – November 28, 2014

From races run on Saturday, Nov. 22nd

Aqueduct R6, N2x/$62,500 3up, 6.5 furlongs (dirt)

Honor Code and Maleeh both ran extremely well while getting very clean trips (watch Honor Code especially – he hardly had to slow down or check).  To me, Honor Code and his “get back” style is much more suited to chasing sprinter splits around one turn.  He may be vulnerable going two turns against Grade 1 horses.

Aquduct R7, N1x, 3up,1 mile (turf)

Adirondack Dancer “pulled” against the jockey from the start of the race until early stretch then had little punch for the drive.  Very late the #8 horse came over from the two path and to avoid clipping heels AD’s jock stopped riding, costing him 3rd place.  I think this horse would definitely be worth another shot at the N1x allowance, or in high claimers at the mile on turf.  Perhaps a jock switch would also help.

Del Mar R4, N1x/$40,000 clm., Fillies and Mares, 5 furlongs (turf)

Blake’s Magic was a perfect trip winner but the unlucky Air of Royalty was 3 wide on the backstretch and was forced to fan out 5 wide into the stretch, losing momentum.  Finished OK to only lose by a length.  Air of Royalty certainly fits at this N1x level.

Del Mar R8 – $100,000 stakes, 3 up Fillies and Mares, 1 mile 3/8 (turf)

Three Hearts had to move a bit early, but was able to save most of the ground and prevail in a good effort.  Lady of Gold was three wide without cover for most of the race.  This is a physically taxing position to be in because the horse is losing ground while simultaneously getting a lot of air resistance.  It also looked like the jock moved too early on her as well.  Play Lady of Gold back in low-level stakes or conditioned allowance company.

Del Mar R9 – 3up Fillies and Mares Maiden Special Weight – 6 furlongs (polytrack)

What little I saw of Sayes So loading during the video replay (she was the last horse put in the gate) gave me the impression this was one athletic horse and she ran to her good looks in a nearly effortless Maiden Special romp.  Give her a chance to win moving up to the N1X allowance level.



Del Mar R4, N1x/$40,000 clm., Fillies and Mares, 5 furlongs (turf)

Blake’s Magic was a perfect trip winner.  Looks very vulnerable moving to the N2x allowance level.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Nov. 22, 2014

Horses to Watch, or possibly play against, from races run on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014.

Aqueduct R5 – N1x – New York Bred 3up – 1 Mile (turf)

MACAGONE was game enough after setting insane fractions (23.09, 46.82) over YIELDING turf.  I would seriously consider playing MACAGONE to win against this kind if the course was good or firm and similar 6/1 odds.  A jock switch from Fernando Jara might also be warranted.

Aqueduct R7 – Red Smith – Grade 3 – 1 and 3/8 miles (turf)

MARGANO and CALVADES both pulled very hard early, indicating neither was relaxing and that they may well want shorter distance races, where the pace would be faster, allowing both horses to relax, or “switch off.”  Margano (at 27/1) put in a huge effort, as he was the only horse near the pace to be close at the finish.  An ideal future spot for Margano would be in a high-level allowance or stakes race at 9 furlongs at either Tampa Bay Downs (best) or Gulfstream.

Churchill Downs R8 – Maiden Special Weight – 2yo – 6 furlongs (dirt)

17/1 LATENT REVENGE got it very soft on the front end, easily making an unpressured lead of 22.24 and 46.90.  The fact that he was very wobbly in the lane and did not finish in the top two had to be disheartening to his backers.  Most likely needs to drop to a weak $40,000 Maiden Claimer (maybe at 5.5 furlongs) to get a win.

26/1 winner BO TALON was off the bit while chasing on the turn from the inside.  Jockey John Court never gave up on his mount and kept pushing and cajoling his horse with the whip to get the horse interested.  The winner eventually picked up the bit inside the 1/16th pole and finished strong to the line, holding off even-money favorite TAPIT WICKED.  A horse like BO TALON that can do so many things wrong and not even act like a racehorse can be dangerous because maybe next time he grabs the bit earlier and runs faster.  Without looking at speed figures for this race I would make BO TALON a contender at the N1x allowance level.

TAPIT WICKED had a 5 wide run from post 12 and deserves another chance.  The other horses in this field appear to be below MSW grade.

Churchill Downs R9 – Mrs. Revere Stakes – Grade 2 – 3yo Fillies – 1 and 1/16th miles (turf)

4/1 Winner SPARKLING REVIEW, in my opinion, is the best 3yo filly on turf in North America and would fit well with 3yo fillies anywhere.  I’d love to see her connections try to stretch her out to 9 furlongs or longer next year, as the way the hits the line so well at shorter distances says there is more in the tank with this gal.

Gulfstream Park West R9 – N1x/$75,000 Opt. Clm. – 2YO FILLIES – 7.5 furlongs (turf)

Runner up FEARLESS PRINCESS had to check slightly on the second turn while in the 3 path and was forced out more at the 70 yard mark to just lose the photo in a game effort.

Del Mar R4 – Maiden Special Weight – 3up – 1 mile (turf)

Interesting race.  Jockey KEIRAN FALLON was tracking inside on the second turn behind two speed horses and his mount MONSIEUR POWER was denied a clear run three times.  Other horses behind Monsieur Power also could not get a run.  26/1 winner SON OF WAR (A son of War Front paid $54 to break his maiden on the grass?  Wow.) rallied from a wide stalking position to win going away.  I did not look at SON OF WAR’s form coming in (it must have been dreadful), but this horse has a very smooth action on the grass, he has a decent tactical cruising speed and he is a beautiful horse to look at.  He lengthened his stride nicely to win well and he might move forward off this effort.  I would have to make SON OF WAR a contender at the N1x allowance level.


Possible Play-Againsts

Aqueduct R5 – N1x – New York Bred 3up – 1 Mile (turf)

19/1 winner Noosh’s Tale had the dream trip of all time, essentially hugging the rail the entire trip.  Make this one beat you they next time it runs.

Aqueduct R8 – N1x – New York Bred 3up – 6 furlongs (dirt)

MIGHTY ZEALOUS never changed leads, which caused him to get fatigued and peak early on his run.  He hung badly and lost the race in a photo.

Aqueduct R9 – Maiden Special Weight – New York Bred 3up – 1 mile (dirt, taken OFF the grass)

5/2 HOT CITY GIRL did not switch leads and drifted in severely under a right-handed whip.  Fortunately she was well clear at the time and the other runners were not affected.  Considering she was facing a weak maiden field and now has to face winners, she could be easily handled by legitimate dirt allowance horses.

“Off the Charts” Trip Notes – Nov. 19, 2014

Horses to Watch, or possibly play against, from races run on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014.

Churchill Downs R1 – Maiden Claiming $30,000 – 2yo – 1 and 1/16 miles (dirt)

The winner, SHOWERED, had the “ultimate equipment change” – being a first-time gelding – and showed tactical early foot from the inside and finished best of all after slow fractions to draw off under heavy pressure.  Fits with $25,000 N2L horses on tracks that have deep surfaces (Churchill, Turfway, Oaklawn).

Churchill Downs R3 – N2x/$62,500 Opt. Claimer – 3up Fillies and Mares – 5f (turf)

ANGIES PRIM LADY showed a lot of mental toughness chasing the sharp early leader while four lengths back without coming off the bit.  She eventually knuckled down in the straight and came home a very strong winner.  Definitely an effort worthy of a listed stakes race at Churchill Downs, or perhaps at Gulfstream later.

Del Mar R5 – Cal-bred Maiden Special Weight – 2yo – 1 mile (turf)

P CLUB was forced to circle the entire field 5 wide on the second turn, continued to chase willingly, but could not catch “perfect trip winner” Zinvor, who looks like a good colt too.  Good effort by both horses.  Play P CLUB right back vs. Cal-bred maidens.


Possible Play-Againsts

Churchill Downs R6 – Maiden Special Weight – 2yo Fillies – 1 and 1/16 miles (turf)

Runner up (at 26/1) HOLIDAY HOSTESS had a clean trip while wide from post eleven, but did not change leads in the stretch and that is a negative sign.  Fit horses that do not have physical or mental issues change leads and finish better.

Churchill Downs R8 – Maiden Special Weight – 2yo Fillies – 1 mile (dirt)

Even money favorite MAKIN’ SENSE also did not change leads in the stretch in her race.  She may well be vulnerable moving up to face winners next time out.