Trip Notes with Robert Criscola: Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Trip Notes 11/28/17

We’ll discuss a pair of horses from a pair of races that occurred last Saturday. We’ll start at the Fair Grounds before segueing to Tampa Bay Downs.
Fair Grounds Race 8: #5 BELGIAN, #6 HARLAN STRONG
BELGIAN makes his second straight appearance in this column, while HARLAN STRONG makes his trip notes debut.
BELGIAN and HARLAN STRONG exchanged bumps between themselves and some nearby rivals immediately after the latch sprung, with BELGIAN appearing to take the worst of it. Just a few strides later, BELGIAN steadied noticeably between #4 SPEEDMEISTER and #7 BLUSHING DREAMER. 
Jose Valdivia Jr. positioned BELGIAN well on both turns but got unlucky in the stretch drive. His mount cut the corner inside an outward-veering rival before running into a two-horse roadblock. BELGIAN bobbed and weaved through traffic in the lane but couldn’t shake loose until the 1/16th-pole. By then, BELGIAN simply ran out of gas due to the trouble he’d incurred.
HARLAN STRONG was three to four-wide on the first turn and two to three-wide on the second. Turning for home, HARLAN STRONG encountered a blockade, which forced jockey Jack Gilligan to shift out vigorously. His mount finished with good energy but could only muster third.
MY COWBOY was a dealt a bad hand from the start, while CELEBRITY WARRIOR ran into some late trouble.
MY COWBOY tried to establish an inside stalking position but had to take up sharply under Ademar Santos as they raced in the stretch for the first time. MY COWBOY was keen to go on as they hit the backstretch and nudged his way up to challenge 69-1 leader SAMMY’S MINESHAFT through honest fractions (23.82, 47.52, 1:11.64). By the time they hit the top of the stretch, MY COWBOY was converged upon and he faded late. This is an effort you might want to draw a line through.
As for CELEBRITY WARRIOR, he was spotted well early and got through at the rail on the far turn under Wilmer Garcia. However, he got completely boxed in nearing the 1/8th-pole.  CELEBRITY WARRIOR was probably not going to win but was cost a couple of spots due to that hindrance.

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