OCEANPORT, N.J. – Potential champions hold the spotlight
here Sunday as the $1 million Resorts Casino Hotel Haskell Invitational (G1)
tops one of the most competitive days of racing ever offered at Monmouth Park.
Haskell, which has produced seven of the last 10 3-year-old champs plus Horse
of the Year 2009 Rachel Alexandra, drew a field of eight, including Classic
winners Shackleford (Preakness) and Ruler On Ice (Belmont Stakes).
to the winner’s share of the purse, the 44th running of the mile and
an eighth Haskell offers the victor a “Win and You’re In” prize, guaranteeing a
starting berth in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 5.
heads a card of 14 races on Sunday, and is the richest of eight stakes events to
be run during the afternoon. As an indication of how highly competitive the
afternoon is likely to be, Sunday’s card has drawn the winners of 33 graded
stakes races, including the winners of four Grade 1 and eight Grade 2 events.
Post time for the Haskell, which
goes as the 12th event on the program, is 5:43 p.m., and the race
will be televised live over the ABC-TV network from 5-6 p.m. The entire Sunday
card will be televised live on TVG.
gates will open at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with the first race set to go off at 12
noon. The first stakes race, the $100,000 Regret, is scheduled as the fifth
race. It will be followed by the $100,000 Jersey Derby (6th race), $100,000
Majestic Light (7th race), $100,000 Lady’s Secret (8th race),
$200,000 Oceanport (9th race), $100,000 Teddy Drone (10th race) and
$200,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker (11th race).
Oceanport, run for the 65th time, and the Taylor Made Matchmaker,
having its 45th renewal, are both Grade 3 events on the turf, and
both drew quality fields of 11 horses.
betting program will include a 50-cent Pick 5 on races 6 through 10 with a
guaranteed pool of $100,000, and a 50-cent late Pick 4 on races 11 through 14,
which offers a guaranteed pool of $250,000.
to Monmouth on Haskell Day will be $5 for the Grandstand and $8 for the
Clubhouse, with seniors (55 years and older) admitted to the Grandstand for $3
and to the Clubhouse for $5. Children 12 and under are free.
admissions on Sunday will receive a free 2011 Haskell cap while supplies last.
addition, all military personnel, in uniform or with military ID, will be
admitted free and will receive a free cap.
of this year’s Haskell field can take a big step to securing year-end honors.
As winners of one Triple Crown leg each, Shackleford and Ruler On Ice are the
current divisional leaders in the absence of Animal Kingdom, the Derby winner who is out
for the season.
Kelly Breen trains Ruler On Ice, and will also send out Pants On Fire in the
colors of Rumson residents George and Lori Hall. Ruler On Ice, who will be
ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., finished nearly eight lengths in front of
Shackleford in the Belmont Stakes. The mile and a half classic was the first
stakes win ever for Ruler On Ice.
Fire won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in the spring, but ran ninth in the
Kentucky Derby when he bled. The homebred colt prepped for the Haskell with a
smart victory in the Pegasus Stakes (G3) here in June.
is the only horse in the Haskell field who competed in all three Triple Crown
races. The Dale Romans-trained colt was fourth in the Kentucky Derby after
setting most of the pace, won the Preakness by a half-length over Animal
Kingdom, and then tired to be fifth in the Belmont behind Ruler On Ice.
Baffert, who has won a record four runnings of the Haskell, goes after a fifth
with the late-developing colt Coil. The son of 2001 Haskell winner Point Given
won the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes in his fourth career start, and last out was
second by a head in the Grade 2 Swaps at Hollywood Park.
will be making his dirt track debut, will have blinkers off for the Haskell.
will be looking for his first win of the year in the Haskell. The A.P. Indy
colt finished third in the Preakness, but ran poorly in the Iowa Derby last out
when he was sixth. Astrology is trained by Steve Asmussen, who sent out Rachel
Alexandra to win the 2009 Haskell en route to Horse of the Year honors.
Identity, trained by Eddie Gaudet, made his first start outside Maryland in the Pegasus
Stakes here on June 11 and finished a fast-closing second to Pants On Fire.
He’ll be ridden again by Chris DeCarlo, who began his riding career with a
victory in the 1986 Haskell aboard Wise Times.
Pletcher, who has two Haskell wins (Bluegrass Cat in 2006 and Any Given
Saturday in 2007), sends out Joe Vann, with Monmouth favorite Joe Bravo aboard.
Joe Vann won the Illinois Derby (G3) in April.
times Monmouth’s leading jockey, won his first Haskell in 2004 aboard Lion
longshot in the field is J J’s Lucky Train, who will be stretching out to nine
furlongs for the first time. However, the Bill Anderson-trained colt has scored
two wins in three starts at Monmouth, including his maiden score last year.