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Practical Joke, Timeline Gearing Up for 50th Haskell

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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Trainer Chad Brown is set to bring a formidable, graded stakes winning duo to tackle a competitive field that is assembling for the 50th running of the Grade 1, $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 30.

            Practical Joke made his first start since his fifth place finish in the Kentucky Derby on July 8 in the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park when he sat off the early pace and saved ground along the rail on the turn, before switching to the far outside and powering home to a two-length victory.

            The colt by Into Mischief out of the Distorted Humor mare Halo Humor was a multiple Grade 1 winner as a 2-year-old, winning both the Hopeful at Saratoga and the Champagne at Belmont, before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

            Owned by Klaravich Stables Inc. and William H. Lawrence, Practical Joke finished second in both his preps for the Kentucky Derby, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland.

            The second half of the Brown pair set to run in the Haskell is Timeline, who will put his perfect 4-for-4 record on the line in search of his first Grade 1 win.

            The son of Hard Spun out of the Empire Maker mare Azorina was triumphant in his debut over the Monmouth Park main track when he took the field wire-to-wire to score a three and a half length victory in the Grade 3 betfair.com Pegasus Stakes on June 18. His other graded stakes win came on May 13 in the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes over the sloppy going at Belmont Park.

            Owned by Woodford Racing LLC, Timeline has worked three times since his run in the Pegasus. The latest breeze came on July 16 when he went five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 at Belmont Park, the eighth fastest of the 22 that went the distance on the day.

            “Both have been doing well,” said Brown. “They’ll work this weekend and then ship down to Monmouth on Thursday. Practical Joke will probably school in the paddock but I’m not sure what day yet.”

            Brown’s combo will have to take down another top-notch field that is aligning for the 50th renewal of the Haskell. New Jersey-bred Irish War Cry is coming off a second place finish in the Belmont Stakes and won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial in April. Matt Winn victor McCraken has won graded stakes as both a two and three-year-old and Louisiana Derby winner Girvin will look to bounce back off a nose defeat in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby last time out.

            Other horses looking to make the mile and an eighth Haskell their next start include Iowa Derby winner Hence; Affirmed winner and Kentucky Derby third place finisher Battle of Midway; and, multiple graded stakes placed Impressive Edge.

            The Haskell Invitational will air live on NBC from 5 to 6 p.m.  Admission that day is $8 Grandstand ($4 seniors) and $10 Clubhouse ($5 seniors).  Select reserved seats remain and can be purchased by contacting 732-571-5563.  All paid admissions will receive the commemorative Haskell hat, while supplies last.

            The betfair.com Haskell Invitational is a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In event, which covers the $150,000 fee to race in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 4.