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Barn Notes

Get Serious Ready for Saturday's Grade 3 Cliffhanger

Posted Thursday, Aug 30, 2012

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He may be the one of the fans’ favorite horses on the Monmouth Park grounds and his connections think that Get Serious will give them a seriously good run for their money in Saturday’s Grade 3 $100,000 Cliffhanger Stakes.

            The 8-year-old gelded son of City Zip out of the Java Gold mare Java Gal loves both the Monmouth turf course and the one-mile distance of the race. In a career that has seen him win 14 of 38 starts and earn $1,113,091, eight of Get Serious’s victories have come in stakes races here and five of those have been grade 3 affairs.

            On Friday morning, Get Serious showed every sign of a fit and ready racehorse.

            “He’s fantastic,” said John Forbes, who trains him and is assisted by Pat McBurney and Gus Duarte. “He’s the best he’s been for as long as we can remember. I hope he’s going to be able to keep his fans happy.”

            Remarkably, Get Serious won three straight editions of the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes from 2009-2012 (the race was not run in 2011) and he also took the 2009-2010 runnings of the Oceanport Stakes. He didn’t win a single race last year, but he was suffering from a nasty and lingering infection in his leg that compromised his campaign.

            That malady is completely cured and now he’s kicking down the barn doors.

            “He’s super-duper. It looks like the weather is going to cooperate and I think it’s going to take a really good horse to beat him,” said Forbes.

            Last time out in this year’s Oceanport, which was part of the Haskell Invitational undercard, he raced on the pace but ended up third behind longshot Tune Me In and Queen’splatekitten despite digging in to the wire.

            “We got an inch of rain on the day before that race,” recalled Forbes. “I wasn’t going to run on Saturday if the course was going to be soft. But it should be firm, just the way he likes it.”

            How difficult is it to keep a horse so good for so long?

            “He’s just a really sturdy horse,” said Forbes. “You have to credit City Zip and the mare, but Wayne and Susan Chatfield-Taylor at Morgan’s Ford Farm in Virginia bred him and they raised him right. They raise a better horse than just about anybody. They raise good-boned and sturdy horses with a will to win. We’ve had a number of stakes winners here over the years who were raised by them.”

            Among those horses are Mosquera, Thunder by the Storm, named after a bona fide Native American who once came to the races to watch that horse run, and Sword of Song.

            Like many highly talented racehorses, Get Serious can be a handful.

            “He’s as ornery as the day is long,” said Forbes. “He’s certainly not the easiest horse to train. Pat and Gus do a great job with him. Gus gets on him every day and that’s half the battle.”

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