Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trip Notes 8/1/17

We have three different tracks to visit as we go over some unfortunate trips from the last week of July. Be sure to keep tabs on these horses going forward!
Thursday
Saratoga Race 8: #8 ANCIENT SECRET
This was a “square peg, round hole” race for ANCIENT SECRET. Saratoga only offers 5 1/2-furlong turf sprints due to the course configuration, so Chad Brown was forced to cut ANCIENT SECRET further back than he probably would have liked.
It certainly didn’t help that ANCIENT SECRET was forced three-wide on the far turn and wider still turning for home, mostly due to her disadvantageous post. Her problems were compounded late when Irad Ortiz Jr. was forced to take up due to the actions of #7 ROCKY POLICY (actions that resulted in a DQ to third) in the final 1/16th. Had ANCIENT SECRET found clear sailing in the stretch she would have been much closer and might have even won.
ANCIENT SECRET could be very tough sprinting on the turf at Belmont at either six or seven furlongs when racing returns there in September.
Friday
Del Mar Race 5: #1 BOLD PAPA
BOLD PAPA had some hard luck and a questionable setup in his second start back off a long vacation.
BOLD PAPA hesitated slightly coming out of the gate before being asked for speed by Flavien Prat. BOLD PAPA went to the front but Prat must have sensed that they were going fast, so he tucked his mount in behind the leaders while saving ground onto the first turn.
Prat waited for a seam to open while racing in the two-path behind the leaders. He had ample opportunity to come out three-wide until the mid-way point of the far turn, where the back-markers began to converge. From there BOLD PAPA had some serious traffic troubles, steadying noticeably at the 3/16ths-pole. He wound up checking in fourth in a finish that looked much worse than it really was.
Though Prat is arguably the best jockey on the west coast, don’t be surprised if Richard Baltas names his number-one pilot, Rafael Bejarano, on BOLD PAPA next time out. The horse should be live in his third start off the bench.
Sunday
Monmouth Race 11: #2 MISS TEMPLE CITY
A frustrating year for MISS TEMPLE CITY continued in the Grade III Matchmaker Stakes.
MISS TEMPLE CITY broke fairly well under Edgar Prado and went looking for the lead while on the chute, but #7 JUDY’S CHANCE and Wilmer Garcia would cross over to gain the advantage just before they passed the stands. MISS TEMPLE CITY was then caught between a rock and a hard place, completely surrounded behind the leader and inside of third-place #4 QUIET KITTEN. She bobbled a bit proceeding onto the first turn before being guided to the two-path. From there she was forced to keep JUDY’S CHANCE honest down the backstretch and onto the far turn. MISS TEMPLE CITY tends to run third or fourth early on, so this was a bit out of her element.
Also out of her element was the 1 1/8-mile distance of this race. Though you can’t always pick a perfect spot, perhaps Graham Motion would have been better served awaiting the 1 1/16mile Ballston Spa at Saratoga later in August. MISS TEMPLE CITY didn’t take kindly to the added distance in her first U.S. start of the year, backing up to third late after failing to quicken with #1 WEKEELA, who got a near-perfect trip under Javier Castellano.
There were plenty of extenuating circumstances that explain why MISS TEMPLE CITY lost this race, so don’t hesitate to back her if she jumps up to a spot like the Grade I Woodbine Mile (Sept. 16) next time out. 

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