Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trip Notes 5/23/17

Preakness week was a busy one across the country, and I’ve come up with three horses that encountered some trouble that may have flown under the radar. Be sure to keep tabs on these thoroughbreds as they await a chance at redemption.  
Wednesday
Belmont Race 6: #6 SLEW’S BREW
Dylan Davis gave SLEW’S BREW a smart, patient ride, but he wasn’t rewarded this time around.
SLEW’S BREW had an uneventful start and was allowed to lope along toward the back of the pack while saving ground at the rail before reaching the far turn. Davis nudged his mount into the two-path then swung three-wide into the stretch before his trouble began.
SLEW’S BREW appeared to find an opening inside of #4 MEMORIES OF PETER before that rival closed it off. SLEW’S BREW tried to move out a path wider but #10 CONVERGE (the eventual winner) sealed off that opportunity. Then, as SLEW’S BREW attempted to knife in between CONVERGE and #12 MR. HARLAN, MR. HARLAN came over and bumped him slightly, forcing SLEW’S BREW to shift inward. Daylight appeared in the final strides, but SLEW’S BREW was unable to get to CONVERGE and MR. HARLAN before they hit the wire.
SLEW’S BREW was only beaten by three parts of a length for the money, and had he found a clear path in the stretch, he might have proved best. He’s unlikely to be 18-1 next time out (CONVERGE being 4-5 tilted the odds considerably), but he may still offer a decent price, so keep your eyes peeled for him.
Friday
Pimlico Race 12: #3 LITTLE STELLA
I’m usually loath to bet these five furlong turf dashes because there’s ample opportunity for racing luck to prevail over sheer ability. LITTLE STELLA’s journey in here may very well have been another example of that.
LITTLE STELLA broke like a shot but Horacio Karamanos did not seem to want the lead. He attempted to tuck back just off the pace but #4 MS EILEEN, who coveted the same spot as LITTLE STELLA, crossed over on her and forced LITTLE STELLA to steady. MS EILEEN would have trouble keeping up with the frontrunners, and as she gradually dropped back, she took LITTLE STELLA with her. LITTLE STELLA steadied noticeably several times before they hit the stretch run.
Turning for home, an opportunity finally arose for Karamanos to swing outside MS EILEEN before he knifed back down toward the rail. LITTLE STELLA made a menacing rally behind longshot winner #11 JUST TOO MUCH but she was surpassed by a pair of runners with late momentum (#2 GROGGER and #5 LADY ALLEGRA).
LITTLE STELLA’s adverse trip probably caught up with her in the late stages of this one, so don’t hold it against her next time she runs.
Saturday
Santa Anita Race 6: #7 RED CARPET CAT
At first glance RED CARPET CAT’s loss is inexcusable, as he lost a late lead to 53-1 #4 JULIA’S SUMMER, who was 0-for-26 going into this heat. However, I’m willing to offer RED CARPET CAT a pass based on the way this bottom-level maiden claiming race was run.
Four runners came out looking for the lead, with RED CARPET CAT in the three-path. RED CARPET CAT would win the early battle, but it would prove to be a pyrrhic victory. The fractions he dueled through, 22.05 and 46.60, are particularly fast for these horses, even out west. Though RED CARPET CAT had a two-length lead to play with, JULIA’S SUMMER was just hitting his stride in the lane and was able to collar RED CARPET CAT with a 1/16th to spare.
RED CARPET CAT lost by just a length, which is about what he gave up in ground to JULIA’S SUMMER (11ft, per Trakus). It’s also worth noting RED CARPET CAT beat third-place finisher RICK’S DREAM, who was nowhere near the early pace, by nearly six lengths. Those that were chasing early, #6 ROCKIN MY MOJO, #3 HOPPITTY and #1 ZACHIAN, were no better than 8 3/4 lengths behind RED CARPET CAT at the finish.

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