07/14/2010 5:23PM

Trappe Shot brings win streak to stakes debut

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OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trappe Shot tops a field of six for the $175,000 Long Branch Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

The Long Branch offers berths in the biggest race of the meet as the first two finishers are traditionally extended invitations to the $1 million Haskell on Aug. 1.

Trappe Shot, an impressive allowance winner on the Belmont Stakes undercard, figures to be favored in his stakes debut, following three straight dominant wins.

Like Trappe Shot, Southern Ridge also will be making his stakes debut. The Southern Image colt trained by John Forbes has run only twice, posting his maiden win most recently June 5.

“We didn’t have time to get him another race,” Forbes said. “If we ran him again, it would have been too close. We’ve put the full-court press on him. Maybe his head will explode. We’ve laid it to him, but he keeps coming back for more.”

Nacho Friend, third in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in March, returns for trainer Kelly Breen following a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Pegasus here June 19.

Trappe Shot, Southern Ridge, and Nacho Friend are the only three runners committed to the Long Branch. Colizeo, winner of the Grade 3 Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill Downs; Wildcat Lake, and Latigo Shore also were cross-entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Barbaro Stakes at Delaware Park.

Get Serious targets Oceanport

Admittedly, the United Nations Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on the turf last weekend at Monmouth was a big swing for Get Serious.

Sometimes you connect. Other times, you whiff.

“The best laid plans …” trainer John Forbes said.

Get Serious, a 6-year-old New York bred gelding faced two daunting challenges: stretching out beyond 1 1/8 miles for the first time while also tackling a deep field that included five Grade 1 winners.

All things considered, finishing fifth, only 3 1/4 lengths behind Chinchon after setting the pace, wasn’t a bad outcome.

As expected, Get Serious quickly took charge in the U.N. after taking a bump at the break. As usual, he was bent on getting the lead, the same tactics that worked so effectively in the Monmouth Stakes where he took the race away from multiple Grade 1 winner Presious Passion.

This time, Get Serious was the hunted, not the hunter. As soon as he cleared the front, Get Serious faced persistent pressure from Acclamation. While the pace was moderate, Get Serious never had a chance to settle into a comfortable groove.

“He didn’t have an easy time of it,” Forbes said. “Even though the fractions were soft, they never really let him relax. There was a little banging around in the first turn, which made our horse a little rank.”

The good news for Forbes is that Get Serious “came out of it great. He came out of it good enough to go back in the Battlefield, if we really wanted to.”

Not that the Battlefield is a consideration. The one-mile race is the supporting feature to the Long Branch Stakes on Saturday.

The U.N. was the third demanding race for Get Serious in a five-week span. He won an allowance race in his season debut May 31 and followed that with a 7-1 upset score in the Monmouth Stakes on June 12. Add in the U.N. on July 3, and you have a full dance card.

Get Serious, 8 for 11 over the Monmouth course, will now get time to regroup. His next assignment will be the Grade 3, $200,000 Oceanport Stakes on Aug. 1.