Trappe Shot burst through an opening along the rail straightening for home and onto an 8 ½-length victory over This Ones for Phil in Saturday’s 33rd running of the Grade 2 True North Handicap Presented by Emirates Airline at Belmont Park.
A 4-year-old chestnut son of Tapit ridden by John Velazquez, Trappe Shot completed the muddy six furlongs in 1:08.86 after tracking long shot Khan of Khans through an opening half-mile in 45.43. The win gave trainer Kiaran McLaughlin his second stakes score on the Belmont Stakes undercard, having upset the Grade 1 TVG Acorn one race earlier with It’s Tricky.
“That’s a wow! Two wows in a row!” said McLaughlin. “This has just worked out well this year so far. [Jockey John Velazquez] rode him great, and today was the first time he broke well.
“He loves Belmont,” added the trainer of Trappe Shot.
Trappe Shot is now 3-for-3 at Belmont Park, having won an allowance on Belmont Stakes day last year as well as the Waldoboro overnight stakes on May 11, his 2011 debut. The Waldoboro was Trappe Shot’s first start since finishing ninth as the favorite in the Grade 1, 1 ¼-mile Travers last summer.
“He doesn’t want to go quite that far,” said McLaughlin. “He’s a very fast horse and we’ll probably keep him to a mile or under.”
The 6-5 favorite, Trappe Shot returned $4.60 for a $2 win bet, and collected $150,000 for owner Mill House to extend his earnings to $576,384 and his record to 6-1-0 from nine starts.
“It was a perfect trip,” said Velazquez. “He broke well enough and got good position. When I squeezed him around the quarter-pole, he responded.”
This Ones for Phil was a neck in front of Calibrachoa, who in turn was a neck in front of D’Funnybone, with Khan of Khans and Wildcat Brief completing the order of finish. Frazil and Rule by Night were scratched.