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Shackleford, Rattlesnake Bridge Await Haskell Invitational

Friday, July 15, 2011

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The field for Monmouth Park’s centerpiece event – the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on Sunday, July 31 – is starting to take shape, director of racing Mike Dempsey says, with a field of eight likely to make the gate. 

                The latest addition to the field for the mile and an eighth Haskell is Mill House Farm’s Rattlesnake Bridge, who won the Long Branch Stakes here last Saturday for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The Tapit colt overcame a near-disastrous start to get up for a nose score over All of the Above. 

                Dempsey said that trainer Dale Romans will try the Haskell with Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford, who has been training in Kentucky. 

                Bob Baffert, who won his fourth Haskell with Lookin at Lucky last year, is expected to send either Coil (a son of Haskell winner Point Given) or Iowa Derby winner Prayer for Relief. 

                Others expected to contest this 44th running of the Haskell include Concealed Identity, the Eddie Gaudet-trained son of Smarty Jones who finished second to Pants on Fire in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes here; the Steve Asmussen-trained Astrology, a Grade 3 winner who was third in the Preakness, and J J’s Lucky Train, who broke his maiden here last year for trainer Bill Anderson and most recently was second in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont. 

                George and Lori Hall have two Haskell candidates in Ruler on Ice, winner of the Belmont Stakes last out, and Pants on Fire, winner of the Pegasus on June 18. 

                Trainer Kelly Breen said he plans to breeze both colts this Sunday, and a decision will be made after that on plans for the 3-year-olds. 

                “They’ll both breeze either a half-mile or five-eighths Sunday,” Breen said, “and then we’ll know more about who’s running where. We’re still deciding. We still don’t have a rider for Pants on Fire, another decision we have to make.” 

                Rosie Napravnik, who rode Pants on Fire to wins in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and the Pegasus, is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a broken arm last week in a spill which required two surgeries to repair the damage. 


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