Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Trip Notes 12/13/16

Track bias played a big part in several results at Aqueduct in the first week of racing over the inner dirt. We’ll take a look at a couple of those races in this column, and we’ll also pay a visit to Laurel Park.
 Aqueduct Race 4: #3 QUIEN SABE, #5 SOUTHERN UNION’s Track Trends page described the inside/rail paths at ‘The Big A’ on Thursday as “super live,” and “a big edge to horses throughout the program.” Junior Alvarado wasn’t paying attention to the apparent bias while riding QUIEN SABE, as he wheeled his mount outside #4 GAIT TO HEAVEN on the far turn and lost valuable ground. Rallying widest of all in the homestretch, QUIEN SABE managed to make some late headway but it wasn’t nearly enough to hit the board. However, she could get overlooked in her next start because track biases aren’t reported in the past performance lines and her effort wasn’t as bad as it’ll look on paper.
In the same race, SOUTHERN UNION and Irad Ortiz Jr. got caught three-wide on the far turn while #2 CAN’T DO IT SALLY and #6 OH SO SINISTER (the eventual one-two finishers) saved ground inside of her.  She was unlucky to lose as she was only beaten a length despite never running on the most advantageous part of the track.
Aqueduct Race 1: #5 IT MUST BE NICE
This result set the tone for the entire Friday program at Aqueduct. IT MUST BE NICE looked best but had to settle for second behind #4 LORIMER STREET after entering the stretch four-wide, while LORIMER STREET was never worse than two-wide. Per Track Trends, “seven of the day’s eight winners were never worse than 2nd and five horses scored wire-to-wire.”  This was most likely an extension of Thursday’s apparent rail bias.
IT MUST BE NICE is now 0-for-6 after failing to score here at odds-on, so he could be a bit of a ‘trap’ going forward, but I’m willing to give him a pass.
Laurel Race 3: #1A EL MANUT
EL MANUT undoubtedly got an education in his first start here under Trevor McCarthy. Trouble found him early as #7 DEAR OLD DAD and #9 BELTWAY BOB converged on him from the start and took away his lane, costing EL MANUT a length or two as he had to steady a bit.
EL MANUT was three-to-four wide on the far turn then entered the stretch in the six-path as #6 GLORY HOUND carried him wide. Now caught in a tight spot between GLORY HOUND and #10 GODLOVESASINNER, EL MANUT essentially bulled his way through them and rallied for place.
I thought EL MANUT showed an impressive amount of resolve to overcome some obstacles in his debut; keep an eye out for him next time.
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