While the spotlight on July
31 falls squarely on the 44th running of the $1million Resorts
Haskell Invitational (G1), Monmouth will offer seven other stakes on the
Topping the Haskell undercard events are two Grade 3
turf tests, the $200,000 Oceanport at a mile and a sixteenth, and the $200,000
Taylor Made Matchmaker for fillies and mares at nine furlongs.
Get Serious, winner of last year’s Oceanport, is
ready to try for a repeat, and Violon Sacre, beaten a neck that day, is
expected to be on hand for a return match.
Last year’s winner of the Taylor Made Matchmaker,
Unbridled Essence, is likely to be back to defend her title. The Gregg Sacco-trained
mare was a 41-1 surprise package in 2010, but is a known quantity this year
after coming up just a nose short in the Grade 3 Violet here on May 30.
The Matchmaker offers a unique prize to the first
three finishers – a free season to one of three Taylor Made stallions. The
stallions this year are Forestry, Northern Afleet
and Wildcat Heir.
The other five stakes to be contested on Haskell Day all
carry purses of $100,000. They include the Jersey Derby on turf for
3-year-olds; the Majestic Light for older horses and the Lady’s Secret for
fillies and mares both at a mile and a sixteenth, and the Teddy Drone for older
horses and the Regret for fillies and mares at six furlongs.