Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trip Notes 7/11/17

There was plenty of action in the horse racing world last week, and plenty of unlucky trips. We’ll touch on four races in this column, making stops at Belmont, Delaware and Los Alamitos.
Thursday
Los Alamitos (Thoroughbred) Race 4: #6 DRAMATIC ANGEL
Santiago Gonzalez rushed DRAMATIC ANGEL up after a dreadful start, something I hate seeing. After losing at least two lengths from the gate mishap, DRAMATIC ANGEL hustled alongside the leaders while three-wide on the turn then had little to offer in the long Los Al stretch run and checked in fifth. This is the type of effort to draw a line through next time he appears in the past performances.
Friday
Los Alamitos (Thoroughbred) Race 4: #10 ALMERIA
This race featured #5 ZULFIKHAR, an impressive debut winner for Bob Baffert. ALMERIA was far from disgraced chasing this one home, especially considering he was four-to-five wide on the turn. ALMERIA had little chance to cross over to rail breaking one from the outside in an eight-horse field, so it’s hard to place blame on Kent Desormeaux here. Look out for ALMERIA at Del Mar, where he’ll be dangerous (assuming he adds a little ground) in his next outing.
Saturday
Delaware Race 6: #8 ASSET ALLOCATION
ASSET ALLOCATION broke toward the rear of the field in this one and had just two horses beaten into the first turn. He steadied noticeably on the bend under meet-leading rider Carol Cedeno, losing about a length in the process.
ASSET ALLOCATION was produced widest of all turning for home, drifting into the four-path in an attempt to catch eventual winner #7 TAKETHATTOTHEBANK (who had a much easier trip while racing up front). His rally petered out with about a furlong to go, and he settled for third. I would’ve liked to see ASSET ALLOCATION show some more fight for the place spot, but he’s still one to watch for going forward.
Belmont Race 2: #7 BAREEQA
This was the first of four races on Belmont’s inner turf course on Saturday, which had the rail down for the first time in almost a month. As a result, the inside was particularly advantageous and the pace held together in all but one race, the Belmont Oaks, in which fast fractions were set. The early tempo in this one was glacial, and BAREEQA was the biggest victim of all.
BAREEQA was allowed to settle at the tail-end of the group, just outside #6 KHALEESI KAT. She was never offered a chance to race inside, and Irad Ortiz Jr. was forced to attempt a seven-wide rally into a 50-second half-mile; not a formula for success. Unsurprisingly, BAREEQA showed little in the stretch and beat just one opponent.
This effort will look ugly next time she’s entered, but BAREEQA merits another chance with a fairer setup. Perhaps she’ll pop at a nice price at Saratoga.

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