Two years ago it was Chirac in a shocker, upsetting the field in the Grade 3 Iselin Stakes as a 12-1 outsider. That was 2009 and the 6-year-old gelding is looking for a little déjà vu in 2011 when he heads to the post at 12-1 on the morning line in this year’s renewal of the $250,000 stakes.
“I’ve had him about three weeks now,” said trainer Pat McBurney, who will be saddling Chirac for the first time in Saturday’s Iselin. “He was at Parx and they have their shut down for most of August, so the owner wanted to send him to Monmouth.”
Chirac breezed over the Monmouth main track on July 27, going four furlongs in :48 3/5, but that’s when the trainer applied the brakes.
“He developed an abscess right after the work,” McBurney said. “It took him about eight or nine days before we could get a shoe back on him. He’s fine now, just needed that little time.”
Chirac came back with a bullet work on Aug. 16, going four furlongs over the sloppy surface in :49 flat. The gelding by Sligo Bay exits a disappointing effort in the Greenwood Cup on July 16 at Parx, where he finished last of the eight runners. Before that, he took a $50,000 claiming event at that track as the 1-9 favorite.
In Saturday’s mile and an eighth Iselin, Chirac will be united with jockey Channing Hill for the first time. The question remains as to his running style in the Iselin.
“He doesn’t like a lot of hold taken on his mouth,” McBurney said. “Chances are he’ll be in front, but if some other horse goes out there wanting the lead, he’ll likely sit just off the pace.”