08/30/2009 11:00PM

Kiss the Kid looks to finish strong


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Amy Tarrant hopes to send Kiss the Kid off with a flourish in his final two races, a sequence that starts Sunday at Monmouth Park with the Grade 3, $175,000 Red Bank Stakes at one mile on the turf.

The Red Bank, the final graded stakes of the meet, is the richest of the six races on the Jersey Shore over the Labor Day weekend. Saturday features 2-year-olds in the Grade 3, $150,000 Sapling and the $100,000 Sorority for fillies.

Owned and trained by Tarrant, Kiss the Kid is a multiple graded stakes winner with earnings of more than $650,000.

Now the races are down to a precious two for the 6-year-old. Tarrant is looking at the Red Bank and a defense of his title in the Grade 3, $125,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes at the Meadowlands on Oct. 3 as the swan songs, with the goal now to find him a home at stud next season.

"It's always bittersweet as you come down to the end of a meet like this," Tarrant said. "I'm hoping he can do well. It would help his new career."

This has been another solid season for Kiss the Kid. He has two wins this year, including the Grade 3 Appleton at Gulfstream Park. Most recently, he missed by only a neck to Get Serious in the off-the-turf Oceanport Stakes, a race that scratched down to three runners in the slop on the Haskell Day undercard.

When Get Serious grabbed the early lead, Kiss the Kid and jockey Elvis Trujillo had no choice but to chase the pace. That took Kiss the Kid out of his usual style, sitting midpack before making a stretch run.

Tarrant would prefer a fuller field on the turf.

"If it came off again, we would still run him because he can do both," Tarrant said. "I would hate to have the same scenario I got last time. It's hard to change a horse's rhythm in the way they go."

Kiss the Kid had his final Red Bank breeze Monday, three furlongs in 36.40.

"He's feeling great," Tarrant said. "He's been bucking around the track the last few days. We know he's a pretty happy camper. He had a very nice breeze. That's all the serious work until the race on Sunday."

No excuses for Euphony in stakes

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel was stumped like everyone else, unable to explain why Euphony didn't fire Sunday in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher.

The 17-10 favorite who had won 9 of 12 races throughout the Midwest and the Southwest, Euphony ran fifth.

"I'm not sure what happened," regular rider Cliff Berry said immediately after the race. "She just didn't feel like running today."

Von Hemel echoed those comments Monday morning.

"Everything looks to be in order," Von Hemel said. "It just wasn't our day, for whatever reason."

Everything had gone fine heading into the race, including the journey from Arlington to Monmouth. And all was well the morning after.

"She ate up good and she is already on the trailer back home," Von Hemel said.

A meet to forget for Seewald

Trainer Alan Seewald was laid up at home Monday with a bad back, another in a series of setbacks in a trying season at Monmouth.

Seewald, who won 20 races here last summer, is only 3 for 55 heading into this week.

"Things have gotten a little bit better lately," Seewald said. "This is probably the worst meet I've had in 25 years here. I was probably due for it. It happens to everybody. We have a lot of young horses, a lot of grass horses, which the wet weather didn't help at all."