07/02/2010 11:00PM

United Nations filled with Grade 1 talent

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Justin N. Lane
Winchester is coming off a 21-1 upset of Gio Ponti in the Grade 1 Manhattan.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Winchester and Acclamation, two emerging forces in the turf division, both bring two-race winning streaks to Monmouth Park on Saturday for the Grade 1, $750,000 United Nations Stakes.

The U.N., at 1 3/8 miles over a rain-parched course that has been lightning fast, tops a 12-race card that also includes the Grade 3, $250,000 Salvator Mile.

The U.N., the premier grass race in New Jersey, attracted an exceptionally strong field of nine that includes five Grade 1 or Group 1 winners.

Presious Passion, the two-time defending U.N. winner, was expected to run Saturday, but was not entered and is being freshened on a farm.

Acclamation joined that exclusive club of Grade 1 winners last time out with a front-running victory in the Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park. It was a rousing follow-up to his win in the Grade 2 Murray Handicap, also at Hollywood.

It also sent trainer Donald Warren on the road for his first visit to Monmouth.

"The fact that it is a mile and three-eighths is right up his alley," Warren said of the decision to come east. "I watched quite a few Monmouth races, and the course looks like it's partial to speed. The horse is in good shape, and then there's the money. We don't have a race like this in California right now for this kind of money on the turf at this distance. It's an interesting adventure."

Warren is impressed by the way Acclamation has blossomed in the last two races.

"He's really matured," Warren said. "He just turned 4. When we started stretching him out in longer races, he has really performed well."

His last two wins have been at 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 miles. The U.N. neatly splits the difference.

While he boldly set the pace in both wins, Warren said the colt does not need the lead.

"I'm not too worried if somebody else wants the lead," Warren said. "He'll certainly be forwardly placed, tracking who ever might go to the lead."

Winchester also is coming off a Grade 1 triumph, a 21-1 upset over stablemate Gio Ponti in Manhattan Handicap on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

"He ran such a big race in the Manhattan you'd be worried about him bouncing a little bit, but to look at him, he looks very well," trainer Christophe Clement said.

The U.N. is an eighth-mile longer than the Manhattan, a plus in Clement's eyes.

"I think it fits him better, plus there's an enormous amount of pace in the race," he said.

Clement also entered Laureate Conductor as an uncoupled stablemate. The 4-year-old captured the Choice Stakes here last summer.

Take the Points earned his Grade 1 stripes last year in the Secretariat at Arlington and the Jamaica at Belmont.

Take the Points was disqualified from another Grade 1 win in his 2010 season debut in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap when dropped from first to sixth for stretch interference.

Telling pulled off a 33-1 shocker in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga last August. His latest effort was a fifth-place finish in the Louisville Handicap which followed a fourth in an allowance race at Keeneland.

Jeune-Turc is a multiple Group 1 winner in his native Brazil. This will be his first race outside South America.

Chinchon returns from France for the first time since getting fourth in last year's Man o' War at Belmont. He was fourth in his latest effort, which came at Chantilly in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly.

Get Serious and Straight Story are the two local runners in the field. Both should be prominent pace factors.

The distance will be a challenge for Get Serious, primarily a miler for trainer John Forbes. The 6-year-old New York-bred gelding does his best work on the lead. He is coming off the biggest win of career, a front-running win the 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 Monmouth Cup in which he wrested the lead away from Presious Passion.

Straight Story will be looking for his first stakes win. He suffered a string of heartbreaking losses last year, including a head loss to Take the Points in the Jamaica at Belmont. Also a New York-bred like Get Serious, Straight Story earned his first open victory on June 20, rolling to a first-level allowance win here.

- additional reporting by David Grening