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Haskell Contenders Make Final Preparations

Wayne Lukas and Oxbow.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
A field of seven is set to go in Sunday’s $1,000,000 William Hill Haskell, as trainers make the finishing touches to their Haskell plans. The following highlights the Saturday activities of the nation’s top 3-year-old thoroughbreds:

Charles E. Fipke’s homebred Golden Soul was on a van headed to Monmouth Park Saturday morning after a routine 1 ¼ miles gallop at Saratoga on a track rated as fast. “He’s on his way right now,” trainer Dallas Stewart said mid-morning. “He was out on the track and then he shipped. We’re looking forward to the race on Sunday.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who is looking for his first Haskell win since taking back-to-back editions in 2006 with Bluegrass Cat and 2007 with Any Given Saturday, sent Long Branch stakes winner Micromanage and multiple stakes winner and morning line favorite Verrazano out for their final preparations at Saratoga. The colts, who run for separate ownership interests, each galloped 1 ¼ miles and remain on schedule to leave New York early Sunday morning and arrive at Pletcher’s Monmouth barn by mid-morning.

Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow arrived at Monmouth on Friday afternoon after his van ride from Saratoga and the Calumet Farm’s color bearer settled in nicely on the backside. Trainer D. Wayne Lucas won the 1995 Haskell with Serena’s Song, a member of the National Museum and Racing of Hall of Fame and Monmouth’s Hall of Champions. She is one of only two fillies to win the Haskell, along with 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

Trainer Dale Romans said that the graded stakes placed Pick of the Litter, who will give Crossed Sabres Farm owner Carolyn Vogel her first starter in a Grade 1 race, will arrive on the backside on race day. “He’s leaving here at 5:30 tomorrow morning,” Romans said. “Everything is fine and he continues to do really well. Everything is good to go.”

Easy Goer stakes winner Power Broker, who jetted in from Southern California on Thursday afternoon, was out on Monmouth’s main track Saturday morning for a 1 ½ miles gallop. Jimmy Barnes, assistant trainer to Bob Baffert, who is supervising the colt’s preparations, said, “He gets over this track really nicely. He schooled in the paddock before the second race yesterday afternoon and did very well. We’re ready and just waiting for the race.”

Vyjack galloped 1 ½ miles at Saratoga and trainer Rudy Rodriguez said the Jerome and Gotham Stakes winner will ship to New Jersey on Sunday morning. “I may share a van with Dale Romans and am still trying to work that out,” said Rodriguez. “I’m happy with the way he’s coming up to the race and so far, so good.”



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