07/29/2011 1:16PM

Monmouth Park: Get Serious, Violon Sacre shaky prospects in Oceanport rematch

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Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Get Serious, who narrowly prevailed over Violon Sacre in last year's Oceanport, may not make the rematch on Sunday if the Monmouth Park turf course is less than firm.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Get Serious, under intense pressure from starting gate to finish line, held off Violon Sacre’s stretch challenge by a neck in the thrilling conclusion of last year’s Grade 3, Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.

They return for this year’s renewal on Sunday, one of the main attractions on the Haskell Day undercard. The two rivals both appear vulnerable in the rematch, however.

Get Serious, the star last summer at Monmouth with three graded wins, might not run. A 7-year-old gelding, Get Serious prefers a very firm turf course or a sloppy, sealed main track. He hasn’t caught either in three starts this meet in what threatens to become a lost season.

On a rainy Friday morning, trainer John Forbes sounded ambivalent about sending out Get Serious unless the course firmed by Sunday.

“We are very much on the fence,” Forbes said. “We’ll have to wait for the next one, if we don’t go in this.”

The final major grass stakes of the meet is the Grade 3, Cliff Hanger on Sept. 4.

Violon Sacre rebounded from the Oceanport disappointment to win the PTHA President’s Cup at Parx Racing and the Grade 3 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park.

He ran twice more after that in California, sustaining an injury that has kept him on the sidelines since December.

Trainer Patrick Biancone expects a good effort but concedes the 6-year-old might need a race.

“He’s trained very well as he comes back from an injury in the winter,” Biancone said. ‘He’s had time to recover and he’s run well fresh. He should run a good race but he may need one.”

Biancone has an insurance policy in Sayif, who runs as a separate betting interest. Stretching out for the first time, Sayif pulled off a front-running upset at 13-1 in Monmouth’s Battlefield Stakes earlier this month.

The Battlefield was one mile; the Oceanport is a sixteenth longer.

“The trip is a little bit longer,” Biancone said. “He’s in good form and should repeat that, even if it is 100 yards more.”

There are several interesting new faces in the 11-horse field.

Workin for Hops, winner of the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup at Arlington Park, looks to rebound from a 10th-place finish in the King Edward at Woodbine while Baryshnikov tries to improve on second-place finishes in the Dixie Stakes at Pimlico and the Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs.