Trappe Shot: From Big Price to Big Shot?

Maryland record-setting sale horse could be a factor in major races this year.

Trappe Shot , who made a big splash as a sale horse, could be on the verge of becoming an important racehorse. He has yet to make his stakes debut, but some people think he could be the best 3-year-old around.

A son of Tapit  trained by Kiaran Laughlin for Mill House, Trappe Shot is undefeated in three races this year and in his most recent effort cruised to a four-length victory in a seven-furlong allowance race on the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard. In two previous 2010 starts against fellow Florida-breds at Gulfsteam Park, the chestnut colt triumphed by 10 ¼ lengths and 12 ¾ lengths.

“He is a top horse,” said McLaughlin in a June 8 interview. “He’s very athletic and has always trained well. He had an excuse last year in his first (career) race and since then he’s won by a combined 27 lengths. And he has yet to be hit with a stick this year.”

Trappe Shot is scheduled to run next in the 1 1/16-mile Long Branch Stakes July 10 at Monmouth Park, where he will try two turns for the first time. How he performs will determine his racing path from there and whether he keeps sprinting or tries longer events.

“We either go back in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I, 1 1/8 miles, Aug. 1 at Monmouth) or we sprint in the Amsterdam (gr. II, 6 ½ furlongs, Aug. 2 at Saratoga) the same weekend, and there’s also the Jim Dandy (gr. II, 1 1/8 miles, July 31, at Saratoga) to consider,” McLauglin said. “But maybe we just pass on the whole weekend and go straight to the King’s Bishop (gr. I, seven furlongs, Aug. 28 at Saratoga) or the Travers (gr. I, 1 1/4 miles, Aug. 28 at Saratoga).”

Trappe Shot set a record for a horse sold at public auction in Maryland last year when he brought $850,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training. Consigned by Cary Frommer, agent for the Hobeau Farm dispersal, he was bought by bloodstock agent and former trainer Steve Young.

“Steve Young purchases the horses (for Mill House) and manages them, so he and I are in constant contact about what we’re doing and where we’re going,” McLauglin said. “We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best moving forward. We feel like he can get two turns in the Long Branch.”

Trappe Shot’s career debut was his only race in 2009. He finished fifth in an 11-horse field for a 5 ½-furlong maiden-special-weight event in August at Saratoga.

“He was very unlucky in that race,” McLaughlin said. “He stumbled pretty badly and was a little green. We decided because he was really a nice colt that we wanted to give him time off. We felt like he could use a bit of a break because he had been pushed hard to get to the sale, so we stopped on him. There was no surgery, but he wasn’t moving quite as well as he could.”

Following Trappe Shot’s big victories earlier this year in Florida, McLaughlin was pointing the colt to the April 24 Withers Stakes (gr. I) but a setback foiled that plan.

“We shipped him to New York from Florida, and I think it was the change in surfaces,” McLauglin said. “There was a tiny bit of heat and inflammation in an ankle. I just felt like, ‘Whoa! We need to back off,’ so he missed a work and didn’t run in the Withers. It was just bad timing. When we started training him again, the ankle was perfect. We talked about running him in the Woody Stephens (gr. II, June 5 at Belmont), but Steve and I thought it was best to go in the allowance race that day atlhough we felt pretty confident that could have won the Woody Stephens.”

In the allowance event on the Belmont Stakes undercard, favored Trappe Shot raced in third early, but was in front, leading Tahitian Warrior by a half-length, at the stretch call after rallying three wide. Trappe Shot then pulled away easily from that rival, who had a 6 3/4-length advantage over third finisher Top It at the wire. The winning time was 1:22.18.

Trappe Shot “was  probably was the most impressive horse on the day,” McLaughlin said.

Alan Garcia has ridden the colt in all of his races.