Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Trip Notes 2/6/18

We’ll take a look at two races from Friday at Oaklawn and one from Saturday at Santa Anita in this week’s edition of trip notes. 
Oaklawn Race 1: #1 PHILLY BOY 
PHILLY BOY ran markedly better in his second ever start on Friday but still has some greenness to overcome.
He and Floyd Wethey Jr. traveled primarily in the two-path before angling out five-wide for the stretch drive. PHILLY BOY failed to keep a straight path at the top of the lane and was forced to steady. Wethey swung his mount back outside for room and fought to keep PHILLY BOY from wandering throughout the drive. It was to his credit that he was able to get his 45-1 assignment into the exacta; in fact, he was only beaten by a nose by heavy favorite Alithia, who was unchallenged up front most of the way.
It’s also worth noting first-time starters #3 EARLE STATION and #5 POP LIFE both had strong gallop-outs in this race and may benefit from added distance in their next starts. 
Oaklawn Race 2: #2 HE’S SO ZAZZY 
Once again, Floyd Wethey Jr. had to settle for a frustrating runner-up finish rather than a deserved victory here.
HE’S SO ZAZZY raced toward the rear early but was part of a tightly-knit group. He waited for a seam to appear between #4 AZTEC LION and #6 DAN THE TIN MAN but never really found it. He swung out to the three-path but once again was hemmed in by #6 DAN THE TIN MAN as well as the rallying #1 STAR’S VALENTINO.
Wethey was unable to shake free until after the 1/16th pole, but once he did, his mount closed like a freight train. Unfortunately, he just missed nipping #8 CASH BONUS at the wire. 
Santa Anita Race 8: #8 PRIME ATTRACTION 
A new rider on a horse often signals intent to change tactics, and such was the case with PRIME ATTRACTION on Saturday. Tiago Pereira didn’t utilize PRIME ATTRACTION’s customary early speed, which took away his mount’s best chance to win the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes. It’s very possible he was riding to instructions, but those instructions would have been ill-advised with the dearth of early speed that was entered for this heat.
PRIME ATTRACTION came away from his stall in good order but was not ridden hard enough to clear from post eight. He took the first turn three-deep while staying within range of a dawdling tempo (24.34, 48.94, 1:12.85) set by a reluctant #2 MUBTAAHIJ.
Pereira gave his mount the cue around the quarter pole but was forced to come out five-wide for the drive. Despite the ground loss, PRIME ATTRACTION still managed to pick off several rivals. However, he was unable to get to #3 ACCELERATE, who didn’t have a perfect trip (steadied after the clubhouse bend) but rode the rail on both turns.  

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