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.