06/09/2011 1:31PM

Belmont Park: Trappe Shot ready for breakthrough


ELMONT, N.Y. – Though he hasn’t yet won a graded stakes, it seems like just a matter of time for Trappe Shot, who figures to vie for favoritism with the entry of D’ Funnybone and This Ones for Phil in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap at six furlongs at Belmont Park.

Trappe Shot turned heads winning a first-level allowance sprint on Belmont Stakes day last year, before stretching out at Monmouth Park to win the Long Branch and run second in the Haskell Invitational. He was made the lukewarm favorite in the Travers on the strength of that form, but faded to finish ninth.

After the Travers, said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, “we just stopped on him to try to do the right thing by him. He didn’t have any surgery or anything. We were just trying to give him a chance. He ran plenty of times and he ran hard, so we just stopped. He just needed some time to freshen up.”

Trappe Shot bobbled at the break of his 4-year-old debut, but recovered to contention on the outside on the turn and wore down D’ Funnybone to win the Waldoboro overnight stakes in a rapid 1:09.03 on May 11.

“We were pointing for this spot before his last race,” said McLaughlin. “We try to look ahead a little bit, and this was perfect timing.”

D’ Funnybone has won five Grade 2 stakes for owner Paul Pompa Jr. and and trainer Rick Dutrow. He will break from the rail, which could be bad news, because he was beaten at odds-on in two previous starts from that spot.

D’ Funnybone is coupled with This Ones for Phil, who is owned in part by Pompa and trained by Tony Dutrow.

This Ones for Phil, who was placed first in the Swale at 3, is the only other winner at the Grade 2 level besides his running mate. He was beaten at six furlongs as a 2-year-old by 2010 Eclipse-winning sprinter Big Drama, but has since won all five of his starts at the distance, capped by a score in the recent Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth Park, which was his first start in 14 months.

The only other graded stakes winner in the field is Calibrachoa, who was claimed for $40,000 by owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher last fall and swept three stakes on Aqueduct’s inner track, including the Toboggan and Tom Fool, both Grade 3 races.

Calibracho was entered in the Carter on Apr. 9 but scratched due to a sore foot. “It’s a tough race, but we’re optimistic that he’s going to show up and run well like he always does,” said Pletcher. “He’s been a pretty reliable horse.”

Rule by Night, who ran a Beyer Sped Figure of 108 winning an overnight stakes at Aqueduct last fall for Steve Asmussen, makes his second start at 4 after running third in the Waldoboro.

Wildcat Brief, third in the Vosburgh last fall, and second in the Decathlon off a layoff for Ben Perkins Jr., looms a late threat.

Frazil and Khan of Khans also entered.