With little time remaining between now and the 47th running of the Grade 1 William Hill Haskell Invitational on July 27, horses and their conditioners are gearing up in anticipation, including Albano and trainer Larry Jones.
Albano has hit the board in all but one of his seven career starts, including an emphatic win in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 15, where he bested the field by 6 1/2 lengths, stepping the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44 1/5.
“We’re glad we ran there,” Jones said. “It gave us a trip over the track and we’re pleased at how well he handled it that day. All was good.”
A 3-year-old colt by Istan out of the Fortunate Prospect mare Pocho’s Dream Girl, Albano came out of the race well and has begun his training regiment for Monmouth Park’s summer centerpiece.
“He just had his first work back last Monday,” said Jones, “but that’s just kind of what we do customarily. We figure three little breezes between his last race and the Haskell will be all he needs, so he’ll have another breeze this Monday or Tuesday and will have his final breeze the Tuesday before the Haskell. He gallops a mile and a half every day.”
In his first workout on the road to the big race, Albano breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 on July 7 at Delaware Park. Jones says that he is contemplating when to ship his colt to Monmouth for the Haskell, either the morning of the race or the day before, but this decision is not burdening him too much because of the short drive between tracks.
As for the rider in the Haskell, Jones said, “It’ll be Kerwin (jockey Clark). He’s ridden him in pretty much all of his races in the Fall, Spring, and Summer, and he’ll ride him in the next race as well.”
A Brereton C. Jones color-bearer, Albano’s likely competition in the Haskell are the filly Untapable, Bayern, Wildcat Red, Social Inclusion, Medal Count, Just Call Kenny and Irish You Well.
The William Hill Haskell will be televised live on NBC and is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Series, with the victor getting an automatic berth to the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.
Haskell Tickets can be purchased by calling 732-571-5563, or by visiting the reserved seat booth (2nd floor of the Grandstand) on any live racing day. In addition, fans can pre-purchase Haskell seats directly through monmouthpark.com.