Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Trip Notes 4/11/17

Keeneland’s opening weekend was an enjoyable one, but it did feature some unfortunate trips. We’ll take a look at a pair of races from there plus one from Saturday at Oaklawn.
Friday
Keeneland Race 4: #4 HARDLY SEEN SLIM, #8 BARRY’S SWING
HARDLY SEEN SLIM responded well to a drop in class as the longest shot on the board, but a less than ideal trip cost him any chance he had at an opening day victory.
HARDLY SEEN SLIM was fairly well situated on both turns under Channing Hill, but Hill seemed committed to making one run at the leaders. This strategy backfired as HARDLY SEEN SLIM got caught in a traffic jam near the top of the stretch.
HARDLY SEEN SLIM was forced to race off the heels of #2 SUMMER O FIFTYFOUR until he was able to find an inside path. By then it was far too late for HARDLY SEEN SLIM to catch the leaders. He settled for fifth behind a quartet of runners that hit the wire together.
As for BARRY’S SWING, he was 3-to-4 wide the entire journey yet was only beaten a head for it all. He’ll likely be a “figure horse” next time he runs, whereas HARDLY SEEN SLIM could offer value due to his more disguised trouble.
Saturday
Keeneland Race 7: #8 PARTLY MOCHA
This was the Grade II Shakertown Stakes, a 5 1/2 furlong turf dash. It’s important to get a good start in any race, especially one of this distance. Regrettably for PARTLY MOCHA, he was flat-footed at the start and dropped toward the rear of the field.
Jose Ortiz moved up quickly enough and began to pass horses on the far turn. However, PARTLY MOCHA was caught widest of all while rallying; about five-wide entering the stretch. PARTLY MOCHA still finished well enough though, checking in fourth beaten 2 1/2 lengths. With a smoother journey, PARTLY MOCHA could produce a much better result next time out.
Oaklawn Race 5: #6 BRILLIANT BELLE, #7 OL SANISH, #10 THAT’S EXCITING
This was a roughly run race, and as you might expect, the trouble began at the gate.
#5 BLAKE’S BEAUTIES took a right turn immediately following the start, interfering with BRILLIANT BELLE. The latter dropped toward the back of the pack as a result. THAT’S EXCITING was the source of her own trouble, hopping up as the latch sprung. She would be next-to-last most of the way.
BRILLIANT BELLE and OL SANISH traveled as a team for the majority of the race before moving out in tandem around the far turn. They came off the bend extremely wide, with BRILLIANT BELLE venturing about eight paths off the rail. OL SANISH had a much better late response, getting up for third beaten 1 1/2 lengths, while BRILLIANT BELLE checked in sixth beaten 5 1/2 lengths.
THAT’S EXCITING was just off the rail while lagging behind the leaders before encountering some minor traffic in the stretch. However, she made up plenty of ground after a slow beginning, reporting home just a half-length behind BRILLIANT BELLE.

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