While live racing gets underway at the Meadowlands on Thursday, Oct. 1, the graded stakes action at the Big M starts this Saturday when the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger is once again renewed at a mile and a sixteenth on turf. Two familiar rivals are set to face off for the $125,000 purse with Kiss the Kid defending his title in the Cliff Hanger and Get Serious defending his record against Kiss the Kid, having bested that rival in their last two outings. But with rains forecasted for Friday and Saturday, turf or sloppy may be the real question and decision maker for those eyeing the Cliff Hanger.

“He’s run well on both (turf and dirt), that’s not the problem,” said John Forbes, who conditions Get Serious. “I don’t want him on a soft turf, I just don’t think he’ll appreciate it. I don’t know that for sure, but I know firm turf is what he likes.”

Firm turf is certainly what Get Serious likes, having won on it five times, but the slop seems to prove no problem for the 5-year-old gelding either. In fact Get Serious has raced just once at the Meadowlands, drawing off to a nearly five length score in last year’s Alysheba Stakes, that on a sloppy main track. Earlier this year he held off the late charge of Kiss the Kid to take the Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth by a neck over the sloppy going.

A $130,000 yearling purchase, Get Serious sports nine wins lifetime and a record of 9-2-2 from 24 outings. He has banked $537,441 for owners James Dinan, Jacques Moore and Phantom House Farm.

In his most recent try, Get Serious led every step of the way to win the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth on Sept. 6, and that race got his connections thinking about Nov. 7 and the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

“We haven’t ruled it out, that’s for sure,” Forbes said. “There’s some factors involved that we’ll discuss. It’s tough to ship a horse all the way out there and if it comes up soft or it’s incredibly hot things may not necessarily be to his liking.

“He doesn’t care for the really hot weather and last year at the Breeders’ Cup there was a heat wave. These are the things we’ll have to discuss, but for now, it’s not been ruled out.”

As for Kiss the Kid, he enters the Cliff Hanger off a fifth place finish in the Red Bank, beaten nearly two lengths by Get Serious. Prior to that, he ran Get Serious to a photo in the Oceanport, finishing just a neck behind his chief rival.

A winner of 8 of 32 starts, Kiss the Kid has earned $662,517 in his career for owner-trainer Amy Tarrant. Included in those eight wins is last year’s Cliff Hanger, the 6-year-old’s first graded stakes victory.

Others expected to take on Get Serious and Kiss the Kid are At the Disco from the Mary Hartmann barn, either Danak or Expansion from Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn and Vanquisher, a John Servis-trainee.

The Cliff Hanger will be held on Saturday afternoon as the Meadowlands continues with day cards through Friday, Oct. 9.


Europe’s biggest race is set for Sunday when the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is run at Longchamps just outside of Paris. Across the Atlantic Ocean, fans in East Rutherford, New Jersey will get a chance to watch and wager on the Group 1 race as it will be simulcast to the Big M.

Meadowlands gates will open at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday with the action getting underway at 10:15 a.m. when the Arc is run. Two other races from France will be beamed-in to the Big M for wagering, before a full slate of afternoon and evening simulcasting gets underway.

The wagering format on all three races from Longchamps will be Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecata and Superfecta. A daily double on the last two races (Group 1 Prix du Daran and Prix Barzen Handicap) will also be on the betting menu.