In two grade III grass races on the IZOD Haskell Invitational (gr. I) card at Monmouth Park Aug. 1, even-money favorite Get Serious led from start to finish in the Oceanport Stakes (VIDEO), and Unbridled Essence pulled a 42-1 shocker in the Matchmaker Stakes (VIDEO).
Ridden by Pablo Fragoso for trainer John Forbes, Get Serious was set on the lead in the Oceanport, posting moderate fractions of :25.28, :46.63, and 1:12.49 before Violon Sacre mounted a challenge leaving the turn and heading into the stretch. With Jose Lexcano and Violon Sacre in pursuit, Get Serious dug in gamely for a neck victory. He completed the 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:40.93.
The winner, a 6-year-old gelded son of City Zip out of Java Gal, by Java Gold, returned $4.00, $2.60, and $2.20, while Violon Sacre paid $4.00 and $3.00. Roman Tiger, also trained by Forbes and was second throughout until being overtaken by the runner-up, paid $3.00. The exacta paid $15.20. The rest of the field was completed by Nownownow, Tybalt, Cherokee Artist, and Strike a Deal.
Bred in Kentucky by Morgan’s Ford Farms, Get Serious has won 12 of 29 starts and earned $880,691. The gelding, owned by James M. Dinan, Jacques J. Moore, and Phantom House Farm, was coming into the Oceanport off a fifth-place finish in the United Nations (gr. IT) following a victory in the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIIT).
While the Oceanport was rather predictable, the Matchmaker for 3-year-old and upward fillies and mares was quite the opposite. Red Oak Stable homebred Unbridled Essence, well-placed early by jockey Paco Lopez, raced three wide turning into the stretch and was ridden on for a game half-length triumph over Quiet Meadow.
The Matchmaker was over at the break for 5-2 favorite Cherokee Queen, who stumbled and lost rider Elvis Trujillo. With her out of the picture, Tizqueena jumped out to the early lead before being overtaken by 11-1 shot Giant Mover, who led into the midstretch before giving it up to eventually finish fifth.
The winner, trained by Greg Sacco, returned $85.60, $27.20, and $11.60. Quiet Meadow closed late to get second, paying $6.40 and $4.40. British-bred Tottie also closed for third, paying $5.00. The exacta paid $667.00 as Unbridled Essence completed the 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:47.97.
A Florida-bred daughter of Essence of Dubai out of the Unbridled mare Unbridled Waters, Unbridled Essence has won five of 15 starts, including four wins in 10 turf starts. The 4-year-old filly has earned $278,597.