07/28/2010 4:39PM

Biancone hails Queen Martha


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Patrick Biancone was very confident heading into the $400,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes last Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Biancone never dreamed his Queen Martha would upset the defending Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra. Biancone did firmly believe he was sending out the second-best horse.

Queen Martha proved him right.

Sent to the lead by Joe Bravo, Queen Martha set the pace with Rachel Alexandra never far away. Those two raced as a team on around the final turn until Rachel Alexandra poked a head in front turning for home. In deep stretch, Rachel Alexandra pulled clear to a three-length win while Queen Martha continued on strongly, finishing 7 3/4 lengths better than Ask the Moon in third.

There was no disgrace in finishing second to the champion, especially in your first start on dirt.

“It was no surprise to us the way she ran,” Biancone said. “She’s a very lightly raced horse, and she showed a lot of talent working on the dirt. We have a lot of confidence in her and we think she will improve with age.

“Joe did a very good job,” said Biancone. “She was an easy second and she came out of the race good.”

For Queen Martha, 4, itwas only her seventh career start and second in the United States following five races in England.

Her previous races had come on either grass or a synthetic surface. The smooth adaptation in the Lady’s Secret has Biancone planning to keep her on dirt.

For the next start, Biancone is looking at a pair of stakes on Aug. 29: the Grade 2, $300,000 Molly Pitcher here or the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.

With Rachel Alexandra possibly headed to the Personal Ensign, Biancone is leaning toward staying home at Monmouth.

“I am not sure we want to run against Rachel again,” Biancone said. “I’m not sure we want to take on Tyson again.”

Biggest day of meet at hand

The Lady’s Secret began the heart of the Monmouth season, a stretch that culminates Sunday with the $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds.

The stakes-laden Haskell Day card also includes a pair of $200,000 Grade 3s on the turf: the Oceanport and the Matchmaker for fillies and mares. There will four additional stakes, each worth $150,000: the Teddy Drone for sprinters, the Regret for filly and mare sprinters, the Jersey Derby for 3-year-olds on the turf and the Majestic Light, the prep for Grade 3 Iselin on Aug. 21.

Biancone nominated two to the Oceanport: Violon Sacre and Nownownow. That same day, Saratoga offers the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap.

Biancone intends to cross-enter both horses in both stakes. Once the races are drawn, Biancone will handicap the two races to determine which horse has the best shot in each spot, and split them accordingly.

Violon Sacre won the Battlefield on July 10, the Oceanport prep. It was the first U.S. victory for the 5-year-old, who had won seven times in France.

“He was perfectly managed in France by Jean-Claude Rouget, who is a master at that,” Biancone said. “Some horses who come to this country from Europe improve and some regress. He has the perfect style here, because he can follow any kind of pace and he has a huge turn of foot.”

◗ Get Serious, one of the probable favorites in the Oceanport, had his final breeze for the race on Wednesday morning: four furlongs in 48.80 on Monmouth’s turf course with assistant trainer Gus Duarte aboard.

“Gus said he was going around like he wasn’t even touching the ground,” said trainer John Forbes.