Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trip Notes 6/12/18

An eventful Belmont Stakes Saturday will be the focus of this week’s trips column. Let’s get right to it.
Saturday
Belmont Race 2: #3 RUGBYMAN
RUGBYMAN was off just a bit slower than the others under Jose Ortiz, settling as the last runner in a compact group in the Easy Goer Stakes. Ortiz made a puzzling decision to guide RUGBYMAN four-wide at the start of the far turn rather than wait toward the rail, a decision that would ultimately cost him the race.
RUGBYMAN drew right up the throatlatches of the leaders as they turned for home but after giving up more ground than what was necessary, he was unable to beat #5 PRINCE LUCKY on the wire. The well-bred RUGBYMAN may have just missed his first stakes win but is an exciting prospect to keep an eye on as the summer approaches.
Belmont Race 9: #5 GOOD SAMARITAN
As pointed out early in the week by John Piassek, our intrepid site editor, GOOD SAMARITAN seemed ill-suited to the Met Mile distance. That opinion was validated rather quickly when GOOD SAMARITAN and Jose Ortiz were simply outrun in the first furlong.
GOOD SAMARITAN saved ground part-way around the bend but was forced about eight-wide turning for home. He churned on admirably but was never in a position to hit the board.
His performance was far from disgraceful, but as Piassek also noted, he would have been better served competing in Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster at Churchill. If he goes in a spot similar to that next time out, he’ll be a handful.
Belmont Race 10: #1 ROBERT BRUCE, #11 MANITOULIN
ROBERT BRUCE had a ton of late traffic trouble in the Manhattan, while MANITOULIN simply gave up too much ground to have a shot at winning.
ROBERT BRUCE settled back early on Tyler Gaffalione, saving ground on the first turn before taking the far turn two-wide. ROBERT BRUCE appeared to be ready to roll midway on the final bend but had to tap on the brakes behind an idling #4 ALEXIOS KOMNENOS. Soon after they straightened away, ROBERT BRUCE was squeezed out of a tight spot between ALEXIOS KOMNENOS and #5 CATCHO EN DIE. Just as he began to re-rally, ROBERT BRUCE had to alter course around a fading #10 BEACH PATROL. By then, it was too late for him to catch the leaders. ROBERT BRUCE caught the leaders soon after the wire, suggesting he was probably best in this one. Toss this race when he reappears in the past performances.
MANITOULIN didn’t have the luxury of the rail draw like ROBERT BRUCE, and as a result he was caught four-to-five wide on the first turn. Things didn’t get much better for him as the field raced as a bunch nearly the whole way, as he was three-wide around the far turn. He did very well to lose by only three-quarters of a length at 30-1.

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