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Anne M. Eberhardt

Trappe Shot Has Big Shot in Dirt Mile

The Pulpit colt will be seeking his first grade I win.

In trainer Kiaran McLauglin’s mind, Trappe Shot  is a star. But Mill House’s 4-year-old son of Tapit  hasn’t won a grade I race.

The Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) could be his last chance. Trappe Shot is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the $1 million event at Churchill Downs.

“Most likely he won’t race again next year,” McLauglin said. “There is a chance, though. Mr. (Nicholas) Brady (of Mill House) says it’s possible.”

Trappe Shot has won six of his 11 career outings and has earned $643,884. The handsome chestnut colt's biggest victory came in the True North Handicap (gr. II) in June at Belmont Park. He captured that six-furlong test by a commanding 8 ½ lengths in the mud.

“He hasn’t won a grade I, so that’s a negative,” McLaughlin said. “But he is a seriously nice horse; he’s a real pro and he has a fantastic attitude. He really has not let us down. He’s just been a little bit unlucky this year.”

Since the True North, Trappe Shot has run twice. He finished second to Sean Avery in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I), losing by only a nose, and he was fourth in the Vosburgh Invitational Stakes (gr. I).

“For the race at Saratoga (the Vanderbilt), the racetrack was sealed, open, sealed, open, sealed,” McLaughlin said. “It ended up sealed and it was a funny racetrack (which was rated good). He drew eight of eight, he gave weight, and he was very wide. The jump before the wire he was ahead and the jump after he was ahead, so he is very unlucky not to be a grade I winner.”

In the Vosburgh, “it was the same thing with the track,” McLaughlin said. “It was a wet racetrack, they harrowed it, no (they decided we) can’t harrow it. Then they sealed it. And the track just wasn’t to his liking so much even though he handles wet tracks. Giant Ryan won; Force Freeze was second.  There wasn't much change in the order, but we got passed in the last two jumps for third.”

McLaughlin is hoping Trappe Shot’s luck will change in the Dirt Mile. The chestnut colt has the far outside post in the field of nine.

“That’s great because Shackleford, The Factor, and Tapizar are going to go from the inside, so we’re sitting on a (potentially) beautiful trip,” McLauglin said. “And it’s equal weights. We’re not giving weight.”

McLauglin described the race’s mile distance as “the biggest question mark.” All four of Trappe Shot’s races this year have been at six furlongs.

“We didn’t go in the (Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup) Sprint (gr. I) because we were afraid we would draw the one or two hole,” McLaughlin said. “If you do that in the Sprint, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t (go immediately to the lead). We know he’ll get a mile. He won going a mile and a sixteenth last year and he was second in the (1 1/8-mile Izod) Haskell (Invitational Stakes, gr. I).”

However, Trappe Shot still might not face too much of challenge because the Dirt Mile, according to McLaughlin, will be “like an extended sprint. It’s from the chute and around one turn; it’s not two turns.

“I just hope all goes well,” McLauglin concluded. “We want to win a grade I with him badly and he deserves it.”