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Racing At The Jersey Shore

A First Look at the 2012 Haskell Invitational

There were eight grade one stakes run for three year-olds in the first half of 2012, ending of course with the Triple Crown races. The second half of that season begins on Sunday, July 29, with the 45th running of the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
 
 
The chart shows that there were six different winners of those grade one stakes and of those six, three of them are considering the Haskell. For three year-olds that want to continue their campaigns on a dirt surface while going a distance of ground the big decision is to run in the Haskell on July 29, or the $600,000 Jim Dandy, which is a grade two, on July 28.  Both of those races prepare horses for the Midsummer Derby, the Travers (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday, August 25.
 
Bob Baffert committed to the Monmouth Park race before the 
Preakness was run. Regardless of Bodemeister’s performance he was going to skip the Belmont Stakes and wait for the Haskell. Of course, Bodemeister had two gutsy second place finishes in the first two legs of the Triple Crown behind I'll Have Another.
 
Baffert loves to send his three year-olds to Monmouth Park. He has already won the Haskell five times with Coil in 2011, Lookin at Lucky in 2010, Roman Ruler in 2005, War Emblem in 2002, and Point Given in 2001. So, Baffert will be going for his third consecutive victory with Bodemeister.
 
It will be interesting to see if Baffert’s March health scare in Dubai will change his training strategy.  Last year he made it clear that, “I can't win the Haskell without eating at Max's Hot Dogs on day of race. Just had lunch at Max's Hot Dogs on Jersey Shore. Best hot dog in the world.”
 
Grade one winners Gemologist and Union Rags are considering the Haskell. Gemologist won his first five starts for WinStar and Todd Pletcher before his disappointing 16th place finish in the Kentucky Derby.  Union Rags will be facing yet another rider change since John Velazquez broke his collarbone at Churchill Downs.  It was Johnny V.’s  gutsy rail ride that got the Belmont Stakes victory for Union Rags.
 
The first Monmouth Park prep race for the Haskell happened on Father’s Day. Le Bernardin held off a hard charging Easter Gift to win the Pegasus (G3) by a neck. Both horses now seem headed to the Haskell. Le Bernardin’s trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, “It was a great win and an excellent ride by Mike Luzzi.  The Haskell is obviously a race we’ll look at after we see how he comes out of this.”
 
Easter Gift had won both of his prior starts and Nick Zito was very pleased with his horse’s progress, “We’ll definitely have to think about the Haskell after his race today.  He handled two turns just fine and came running at the end.  I thought it was a very good race and something we can build off of.”
 
Trainer Ken McPeek is also considering the Haskell for Unstoppable U after he ran close to Paynter in the Belmont Stakes before fading to finish sixth in what was only his third career start.
 
The Long Branch Stakes on July 8 is Monmouth Park’s last prep race for the Haskell. The $100,000 event is run at a mile and a sixteenth.
 
The connections of Union Rags and Gemologist have to make the Jim Dandy or Haskell decision. We know where Bodemeister will be on July 29, and the three of them are going to have to meet at some point, but will it be at Monmouth Park or in Saratoga for the Travers? 

 

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Older Comments about A First Look at the 2012 Haskell Invitational...

Teeth of the Dog will dominat3 in the Dywer.
Bodemister should be a contender for the haskell, im not saying he's gonna win it, but i dont think nobody should doubt bodemister
Unstoppable Uwins Dwyer on 6/30, the Haskell on 7/29 and the Travers on 8/25,
UPDATE: Unstoppable U seems to headed to the Dwyer at BEL on June 30th.
That pacific Classic was PRE Poly
Put any horse in that Pacific Classic speed dual and they will lose. It's a wonder he was as close as he was at the end. And that was when his prime was past. He ran plenty of 115+ beyers in a row injury free. If only we had more like him. Cigar is ranked #18 in the the Blood-Horse magazines Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century. You and Cocoa_2 ruin this site for me. You really do.
haha thats funny
Why am I looking at Cigar comments on a Haskell topic? Anyway, UR will stay out of Bode's way at all costs. And Cigar won 16 in a row against whoever would face him you wannabe know it all douche. Now I remember why i don't like reading your comments.
I have a feeling Bode will put on a show here.
Bodemeister is a very talented horse but if they put a top sprinter in as a rabbitt he'll go right after him and they don't make to many Dr' Fagers anymore. I like him, great pedigree.
You cannot look at horses in ISOLATION. Take Cigar, a monster ON PAPER. Put him in a pace scenarion lke the Pacific Classic as the onl presser to a monster front runner, and the COMPOSITION of the styles of the race beat him....You cannot logically comment on a contest util you consider the interaction of all the principles
Gemologist is overrated.
Zipse says Easter Gift is going to be a good one!
I like Bodemeister and he will be my pick for EVERY race he runs in.
Don't count out Gemologist. He had a foot injury in the Derby. He will have no problem keeping with this field if healthy.
he can't rate except when alone on the lead. You could never hold him in 2nd off the pace
Bodemeister can get up to 12f. The problem is other horses are pushing him into 23 sec fractions with strong closers.
Can I have a Bodemeister Pick 3.....Haskell, Goodwood, BC Classic?
the 9f of the haskell should be perfect for bodemeister. as i have said before, he is a 7f - 9f horse.
If Bodemeister, Gemologist, and Union Rags all enter ... can you save me a seat?

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Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

 
There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
 
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
 
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
 
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.