Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Trip Notes 4/25/17

Keeneland and Santa Anita share the spotlight in this week’s trips column. Be sure to keep tabs on these horses and look for them to race again soon in hopes of reversing their fortunes. 
Wednesday
Keeneland Race 7: #7 SURGICAL STRIKE
SURGICAL STRIKE was 11-1 in this salty 12-horse turf allowance route but didn’t have a real opportunity to show what he could do here due to some bad racing luck.
SURGICAL STRIKE had a relatively uneventful first six furlongs, racing in the two-path under Joe Bravo before settling at the rail from just before the backstretch run all the way to the top of the stretch. From there, SURGICAL STRIKE was swathed by a host of rivals, completely unable to get off the rail and failing to mount a rally as a result.
It was clear that SURGICAL STRIKE had late interest before he tossed his head wildly while racing off heels. From there on (just inside the furlong pole) his goose was cooked. He got on track belatedly but was unable to earn even a minor award due to his misfortune and checked in ninth.
This race will look much worse than it really was on paper, so SURGICAL STRIKE could potentially offer a nice price in his next outing.
Saturday
Santa Anita Race 9: #1 WATCH THIS CAT
This was the Mizdirection Stakes, a $75k downhill turf event.
I was shocked to see Corey Nakatani sitting idly on the saddle on WATCH THIS CAT, who appeared to be the clear speed on paper. The rail post can be tricky on the downhill turf course, so why Nakatani chose not to clear off from there and take the lead on an outside lane is a mystery to me. The pace was not fast at all considering the course and class level (22.19, 44.09), and the top two from the start (#9 PAQUITA COQUETA and #6 CONIAH) made up the exacta at the finish. WATCH THIS CAT’s attempt at a late rally was unsuccessful, as she was blocked for the majority of the stretch run.
Despite everything that went against her in this one, WATCH THIS CAT was only beaten 1 1/2 lengths in fifth. Look for her again in a spot like this and expect a better placing.
Sunday
Keeneland Race 4: #7 NANCY DOLL
NANCY DOLL had to be a little short in her first start since July (and only her second start since Oct. 2015), so the fact she was beaten less than a length after a very poor trip was extremely impressive.
NANCY DOLL was caught four-wide into the first turn behind a deliberate pace before gradually moving up in the three-path from the backstretch to the far turn. She advanced to be within a length of the leaders before dropping back a bit coming off the turn. She stayed on admirably and checked in fourth in a blanket photo for the minor spoils.
If NANCY DOLL can string together some starts she could develop into a productive racehorse. Keep an eye out for her in the immediate future.

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