08/24/2009 12:00AM

Chirac's next slated as Meadowlands Cup

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Bill Denver/EquiPhotos
Chirac, with Elvis Trujillo riding, scores a front-running Iselin victory.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Chirac, the 12-1 upset winner of the on Saturday, will get a breather after an arduous season at Monmouth Park.

The Iselin was the fifth start at the meet for the 4-year-old gelding, who over the course of the summer developed from a nice allowance/high-priced claimer into the leading older dirt runner on the grounds.

Trainer Jane Cibelli doesn't plan to run Chirac until the Grade 2, $300,000 Meadowlands Cup on Oct. 16.

"He came out of the race great," Cibelli said. "He was a bit more tired than he had been. That wasn't surprising, as he came back in three weeks. He's started to bounce back, and he's back to chewing up hotwalkers."

The timing will give Chirac plenty of time to fully regroup.

"We've danced every dance," Cibelli said. "I thought time-wise, it would work out well."

A $50,000 claimer over the winter at Tampa Bay Downs, Chirac served notice that he was poised for a big meet with a six-length victory here in a on June 13.

Cibelli opted not to run him back in the on July 4 against Coal Play.

That showdown would wait for the Iselin.

In the interim, Chirac extended his winning streak at the meet to three in a on the Haskell Day card over a sloppy track on a rain-soaked afternoon.

Heading into the Iselin, there were two key questions in the Chirac camp. How would he handle the step up to this level of competition? And how to deal with Coal Play, the dominant front-running winner of the Salvator?

"We talked about it, rehashed it, and agonized over the Coal Play thing all week," Cibelli said. "How are we going to beat him? We hoped somebody would go with him and soften him up. In the event everyone thought the same thing and didn't go with him, we thought, at the very least, we'd have to be hard on his heels."

Turned out, Coal Play wasn't a factor. A horse with history of running well at Monmouth, Coal Play didn't break as alertly as usual. Normally a front-runner, he got a ground-saving trip from jockey Joe Bravo but could do no better than a well-beaten fourth.

When Coal Play didn't fire to the front, Chirac and jockey Elvis Trujillo, Monmouth's leading rider, wound up on the lead.

"Things never work out like you plan," Cibelli said. "That's why I'm adamant you have to ride the best rider you can. Elvis is a smart, smart rider. Once he knew he was out there on the lead, he had to go for it."

At the finish, Chirac was all alone with a 6 3/4-length victory, and a well-earned respite.

Devil House the speed of Molly Pitcher

The Grade 2, $300,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday is the major event of the upcoming weekend.

The one to catch will probably be Devil House, front-running winner of the Lady's Secret Stakes, the Molly Pitcher prep, here on Haskell Day.

From the barn of Monmouth's leading trainer Bruce Levine, Devil House is 2-1-1 in 5 races here.

Other likely runners, according to stakes coordinator Dan Dufford are Annabill, Jessica Is Back, and Luna Vega.

Possible starters include Nicksappealinglady, Swift Temper, Weathered, and You Asked.