Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Trip Notes 2/27/18

We’ll stay exclusively in the south in this week’s trip notes column, recounting some unfortunate journeys from Oaklawn and the Fair Grounds.
Oaklawn Race 1: #6 LEVANTO
LEVANTO was bumped off stride by #7 PICTURE TUBE in an awkward beginning before settling in the two-path on the first turn. He raced in tight quarters down the backstretch, as he had to angle around #4 CAT GOT EVEN then tapped on the brakes behind #5 STRAWN’S CASH. Rider Alex Canchari guided LEVANTO inside the latter rival but couldn’t hold his spot into the far turn. He went three-wide into the lane before weaving back in nearing the eighth pole.
LEVANTO battled to the bitter end, splitting STRAWN’S CASH and fortunate frontrunner #8 REVEREND SAM, who set a modest early tempo (24.45, 49.97, 1:15.61), in deep stretch to lose by just a neck.
Oaklawn Race 4: #4 EAST MOON LAKE
First-time starter EAST MOON LAKE was one of several who were off slowly in this one. It’s tough to tell exactly what happened, but it’s possible he clipped heels with #3 MUTAKDDIM ROAD while brushing that foe in the opening strides.
Luis Contreras did as much as he could to keep his horse in the race, advancing toward the leading pack down the backstretch while steering clear of any muddy kickback. Unfortunately, that doomed EAST MOON LAKE to a very wide journey, as he went nearly eight-wide at the top of the stretch. However, EAST MOON LAKE had plenty left in the tank as he rallied for third. This was definitely a learning experience for EAST MOON LAKE that could be built upon next time out.  
Fair Grounds Race 6: #7 HARDLY A SECRET, #4 POINT HOPE
HARDLY A SECRET and POINT HOPE ran second and third behind a ground-saving #1 IRONCLAD, who was the beneficiary of a bold winning move by Miguel Mena.
HARDLY A SECRET had no chance to see the rail from his outside post. Brian Hernandez Jr. put HARDLY A SECRET in the two-path early and was prompting longshot leader #3 CALL THE COLONEL to the far turn. Room was left inside for IRONCLAD, who squeezed through while HARDLY A SECRET was forced three-wide around the bend. HARDLY A SECRET fought grimly but was ultimately outgamed, losing by a half-length.
POINT HOPE rated unkindly at rail and was guided to three-path by Florent Geroux midway on first turn. POINT HOPE was three then four-wide on the second turn but still managed to churn on for third, beaten just over two lengths.  

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