Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trip Notes 1/10/17

Winter weather affected several racing venues last week, but I still managed to find some horses with trip trouble that could get overlooked next time out. We’ll start at Aqueduct before moving to Santa Anita.

Thursday
Aqueduct Race 4: #5 MR. CHARLES
An invader from Penn National, MR. CHARLES gave a very good account of himself while taking the scenic route around the inner dirt at Aqueduct.
MR. CHARLES went three-wide into the clubhouse turn and on the far turn he was about three-wide most of the way until the top of the stretch. At that point, #3 QUIEN SABE and #2 LONGISLAND EXPRESS, the pair traveling behind #9 RED HOOK EXPRESS and eventual winner #4 PRIMO PENTIMENTO, drifted into MR. CHARLES’ path. Mychel Sanchez, MR. CHARLES’ jockey, reacted by steering his mount about eight-wide into the stretch. I hate to be critical of a split-second decision in a potentially dangerous situation, but had Sanchez been more patient he would have given his mount a better chance to win by not losing ground. I don’t think he was cost a better placing as favored PRIMO PENTIMENTO won by three, but MR. CHARLES would have made it closer in the runner-up spot.
We’ll see what he can do next time, hopefully with a better trip.
Friday
Aqueduct Race 4: #9 CELTIC SERENADE
Once again, the inner dirt played kindly to inside/speed runners. Six of nine winners on Friday’s card were first at the 1/2 mile call, including the last four winners on the program. This was not one of those races, but the pace may have had something to do with that. Opening fractions of 24.02 and 48.21 are fast for filly and mare maiden claimers at this time of year. And while early leader #1 CHATEAU LAFITE was essentially eased late, #6 J C MY WAY (a stalking second early on) was still able to hang around late for place honors.
All that being said, CELTIC SERENADE had little chance to win this from post nine, as he was forced three-wide on both turns. Antonio Gallardo also had to put his horse to a drive early as J C MY WAY inherited an easy lead from the tiring CHATEAU LAFITE. First-time starter WAR CANOE won this easily, but CELTIC SERENADE was only beaten a nose for the runner-up spot despite racing against the grain the whole way.
Saturday
Santa Anita Race 1: #5 JEANJEANNIE
Not much went right for JEANJEANNIE in her first start for David Jacobson. She was relegated to last in the opening strides after taking a bump from #6 ARYA STARK at the start. When Kent Desormeaux attempted to launch a rally, he was forced to go five-wide on the turn and was carried wider still by an errant #7 LOFTY CAUSE at the top of the stretch.
JEANJEANNIE wasn’t very responsive in the lane and only beat a few horses, but the mud may have had something to do with that. I don’t think she’ll go off at too big a price next time (most Santa Anita handicappers will summarily dismiss mud races), but keep an eye on her just in case.
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