08/04/2010 12:52PM

Get Serious will go for Grade 3 triple in Red Bank

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Get Serious wins the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Get Serious will bid for a Monmouth Park turf stakes hat trick in the $200,000 Red Bank on Labor Day weekend.

It would be quite a feat, if the 6-year-old New York-bred Get Serious could win a trio of Grade 3 stakes in one meet.

He put himself in position to pull it off with a neck win over Violon Sacre last Sunday in the Grade 3 Oceanport, the main event on the Haskell Day undercard.

It many respects, it was a typical Get Serious effort. He set the pace as expected, and proved game in the lane when challenged. He is 3 for 4 at the meet, with the lone loss coming in the Grade 1 United Nations, a race beyond his scope at 1 3/8 miles.

Get Serious is mighty tough at Monmouth at 1 1/8 miles or less on the turf, where he is 9 for 12.

And he seemed eager for more.

“He came out of it 100 percent,” said trainer John Forbes.

Get Serious is the defending Red Bank champion. At one mile, the Red Bank is precisely what Forbes believes is Get Serious’s preferred distance.
 

“It’s just about right,” Forbes said. “I think it’s even harder to run him down at a mile. You’re not supposed to be able to do all that stuff on the front end. He’s got a pretty good burst of speed when he turns for home. He’s found a little niche that kind of works.”

Lady Alexander may try to stretch out for Molly Pitcher

Bruce Alexander faces some difficult choices with Lady Alexander following her win in the $145,000 Regret Stakes for filly and mare sprinters.

The latest victory improved her mark to 5-1-0 in 7 starts in Monmouth dirt sprints.

The easiest upcoming spot here for the 4-year-old Lady Alexander would be the $100,000 Trenton Stakes at six furlongs, where she would undoubtedly be one of the favorites.

The other option is the ambitious swing for a black-type victory in the Grade 3, $300,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 29, where the tougher competition and longer distance make it a more daunting challenge.

But then, no guts, no glory.

“She came of the Regret good,” Alexander said. “The Trenton would seem the most likely spot but we’ll possibly consider going for the big money in the Molly Pitcher. Safely, we’ll go for the Trenton. Greedily, we’ll go for the Molly Pitcher.”

The fact Lady Alexander has run so well at Monmouth makes the Molly Pitcher a more realistic option.

“When you know you’re successful at a track and you know you’re in good form, sometimes you can take more of a chance,” Alexander said. “Logically, I’d say the Trenton, but it wouldn’t take much to get me leaning the other way. If she’s going to have real value as a broodmare, she’s got to win a graded race. Monmouth Park might be her best shot to win one.”

Alexander changed the filly’s routine leading to the Regret. Normally a very fast work horse, Lady Alexander did not have a single breeze following a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses at Belmont Park at seven furlongs in early July.

Alexander felt Lady Alexander went too fast in her final work before heading to Belmont: four furlongs in 45.40 seconds at Monmouth. She might have laid down too much in the morning.

“She had a way too fast work and then she ran seven-eighths,” Alexander said. “It just made sense to me change my tactics a little bit. It’s all about timing, the time of the year and adjusting to it.”

Unbridled Essence may have to hit the road

Unbridled Essence was a face in the crowd in the Grade 3 Matchmaker for fillies and mares on the turf, an overlooked runner in an 11-horse field of more accomplished stakes campaigners.

The improving 4-year-old answered the challenge, pulling off a 41-1 upset that ranked as the biggest stunner on the Haskell undercard.

“It obviously was a pleasant surprise,” trainer Greg Sacco said. “Going into it was a little ambitious.”

In hindsight, there was more to the Brunetti-family homebred than the tote board suggested.

The Matchmaker was the third start of the season for Unbridled Essence.

“We gave her the winter off like we do with most of our horses,” Sacco said. “It’s tough to compete in Florida against top notch outfits with fresh horses if you’ve run all summer and fall in New Jersey.”

She was third in her season debut, finishing one spot behind Queen Martha in what turned out to be a key race.

Queen Martha distinguished herself the previous weekend, running an excellent second to defending Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the $400,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes.

Unbridled Essence followed the third-place effort with a second-level allowance win as her final prep for the Matchmaker.

“She just came back this year a bigger and stronger filly,” Sacco said.

Unbridled Essence will probably have to hit the road for her next start. There aren’t a lot of good stakes options left in New Jersey for turf fillies and mares.

“We’ll map out a plan in the next week,” Sacco said. “She had six weeks off since her last race and that was key. She’s a nice sized filly, but she’s not a big robust filly. If we stick to that, you won’t see her until the middle of September to late September, wherever that may be.”