Updated on 09/30/2011 5:26PM

Belmont Park: Trappe Shot in good spot outside the speed in Vosburgh Invitational

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trappe Shot will start from post 8 in the nine-horse field entered for Saturday's Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Kiaran McLaughlin was the only trainer present at Thursday’s traditional post position draw for Saturday’s 11-race program at Belmont Park. He let out an audible “yeah” when his 4-year-old colt Trappe Shot drew post 8 in the nine-horse field entered for the Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh Invitational.

In a six-furlong race loaded with speed, McLaughlin wanted Trappe Shot, who has a history of breaking slow and who runs from just off the pace, outside of the front-runners.

“I didn’t want to be down inside, where you’re committed” to go, said McLaughlin, who has John Velazquez to ride. “Breaking hasn’t been one of his strong suits. The race shape, at least it should work out. Hopefully, he breaks well and sits a good trip.”

Trip could mean everything in a Vosburgh that drew a quality field that Bob Baffert, trainer of Grade 1 winner Euroears, calls a “mini-Breeders’ Cup.” The Vosburgh winner will earn an automatic berth into the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint by virtue of it being a Win and You’re In race.

BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners »

After losing a heart-breaking nose decision to Sean Avery in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga on Aug. 7, Trappe Shot returns to Belmont Park, where he is 3 for 3, including an 8 1/2-length score in the Grade 2 True North Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 111 in the True North and a 112 in the Vanderbilt.

“Each year, each race has been better,” said McLaughlin, who trains Trappe Shot for Nicholas Brady’s Mill House. “It’s hard to keep running 111, 112 Beyers. Hopefully, he has another one in him, because it’s a Grade 1, he’s a Grade 1 horse, and we need to win a Grade 1 with him.”

Euroears ia already a Grade 1 winner. So is Big Drama, last year's sprint champion, who was scheduled to make just his third start of the year and second since coming off an eight-month layoff following a victory in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream in January. However, Big Drama came down with a temperature Friday and will return to Calder to attempt to train up to the BC Sprint.

David Fawkes, Big Drama's trainer, also sends out Apriority, who is seemingly over a foot abscess that forced him to miss some significant time during the summer. Apriority was fourth in the Vanderbilt, his first start off a three-month layoff.

“He’s a very good horse,” said Fawkes, who trains Apriority for Donald Dizney. “I think he has a very legitimate chance in this race.”

To win this race, a horse is going to have to get past Euroears, who projects as the primary speed from post 3 under Javier Castellano. Euroears won the Grade 2 Palos Verdes at Santa Anita in January and the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar in July. His only race in between was a runner-up finish in the Dubai Golden Shaheen over Meydan’s Tapeta surface.

“I’ve had really good horses, he’s a top sprinter, he’s a smoker,” Baffert said. “He’s going to run a big race, he’s training really well. We’ll see how he fits.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole send out the coupled entry of Calibrachoa and Caixa Eletronica.

“We want a really hot pace,” Pletcher said. “Calibrachoa has some speed, he’ll probably be mid-division. Caixa Eletronica wants to run a little further than that; his best chance is to take back and make one run. Hopefully, they’ll go really, really fast early. He’s the kind of horse that shows up and runs every time.”

Justin Phillip is 2 for 2 over the track, including a front-running score in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens in June. He ran a credible third in the King’s Bishop behind Caleb’s Posse and Uncle Mo.

Giant Ryan has won five consecutive races, including the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder, a race that earned him an automatic bid into the Breeder’s Cup Sprint.


Vosburgh Invitational Field

PP HORSE JOCKEY TRAINER

1

Force Freeze P. Lopez 
124 Lbs
P. Walder

1

Apriority A. Solis 
124 Lbs
D. Fawkes

1

Euroears J. Castellano 
124 Lbs
B. Baffert

1

Calibrachoa R. Maragh 
124 Lbs
T. Pletcher

1

Giant Ryan C. Velasquez 
124 Lbs
B. Parboo

1

Big Drama R. Dominguez 
124 Lbs
D. Fawkes

1

Justin Phillip C. Nakatani 
122 Lbs
S. Asmussen

1

Trappe Shot J. Velazquez 
124 Lbs
K. McLaughlin

1

Caixa Eletronica J. Lezcano 
124 Lbs
T. Pletcher