Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Rail Trip’s Odyssey Continues

Rail Trip
Photo: Alex Evers
How quickly they forget. Just one race ago, Rail Trip was considered the classy and dangerous veteran in a deep field of all the best older males east of the Mississippi. A wise guy selection of many, Rail Trip ran an uncharacteristically poor race that day in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap. It was only the second time in a 15 race career that the Mace and Samantha Siegel owned gelding was not right there at the wire, if not well in front. He has been such a consistent performer in top class racing that it seems odd that he has run only 15 times. In a career that has now spanned four seasons, this is a horse who is a grade 1 winner, and a four time stakes winner. And despite being slightly forgotten since the Whitney, he is a horse who is one big performance away from being right back near the top of the handicap division.
Today Rail Trip will attempt to put the puzzling performance at Saratoga in the rearview mirror. Now back at Belmont, he tops a field of six in the $60,000 Pot O’ Luck Stakes. When last seen at Belmont, the six-year-old son of Jump Start was running a bang-up second in the Easy Goer Stakes. Beaten that day by Friend Or Foe, Rail Trip lost by a scant head in the fast time of 1:40.13, while giving his talented competitor a couple of pounds. Like the Easy Goer, the Pot O’ Luck is a 1 1/16 overnight stakes race in which trainer Rick Dutrow is hoping will lead to something much bigger for Rail Trip.

Dutrow chalks his last race up to not caring for the Saratoga surface, and looks to have found a spot today that will test Rail Trip, but should also allow him to regain any confidence lost in the Whitney. Set to face him today are Colizeo, Litigation Risk, Modern Cowboy, Afleet Again, and Pleasant Prince. Five nice horses, four of them stakes winners, but not one of them has half of the credentials of the 6-5 morning line favorite. While there does not appear to be anyone as talented in today’s field as Friend Or Foe, it is a race that Rail Trip will need to run well to win.

The only grade 1 winner in the field, Rail Trip has had quite the ride in the last 14 months. Snatched away from one successful trainer in Ron Ellis, and sent to another in Rick Dutrow, Rail Trip was taken from his comfortable position as the best handicap horse in California to look for even bigger accomplishments, notably the Breeders’ Cup in the East. Things have not quite worked out … yet. After battling foot problems last summer, the handsome bay has yet to find the winner’s circle in three starts. Seemingly over his ailments, now is the time for Rail Trip to put it all together and earn his ninth career victory.

If he can win today, and win impressively, something tells me people will start quickly remembering what a fine horse Rail Trip is, and has been for a long time.



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Older Comments about Rail Trip’s Odyssey Continues...

He was pressured early and stuck on the rail, but that was a disappointing performance. Meanwhile, Pleasant Prince looked like the horse that won two Derbies last year.
They should have kept him with Ron Ellis.
A little over two weeks is not much time in this day and age, but certainly a possibility ... first things first, though.
I really hope he can. This may not be a top notch field but there are a couple who can run some real nice races when they get in form. If he wins this I'm hoing Dutrow will do something that is a little uncharacteristic for him and wheel him back for the Gold Cup.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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