Trainer Dallas Stewart will make his William Hill Haskell debut this Sunday when he saddles Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul in the $1 million Grade 1 test for 3-year-olds.
“It’s a great race to be in. It’s the Haskell,” said Stewart, a native of Mississippi. “Obviously, the purse is a million dollars, but it’s one of those great races to be in, one that you’re honored to be in, and you hope to have a horse good enough to compete in it.”
That’s exactly what Stewart will be bringing with him Sunday in Golden Soul. The colt broke his maiden last December at the Fair Grounds and has danced every dance since, including a runner-up finish to future Preakness winner and fellow Haskell competitor Oxbow in the LeComte Stakes (G3) and of course his hard-charging, second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby to Orb.
Golden Soul shipped into Saratoga from Stewart’s Churchill Downs base one week ago, and in preparation for the mile and an eighth Haskell breezed five furlongs over the Oklahoma training track on July 20, going in 1:03.55, fifth fastest of 12 works that day.
“He worked great and came back well,” the trainer said. “He’s doing fine and I’m very happy with the way he’s coming up to the race. He’ll ship down to Monmouth the day before the race. So far, so good.”
A homebred son of Perfect Soul from the Mr. Prospector mare Hollywood Gold, Golden Soul races in the colors of Charles E. Fipke.
Robby Albarado, who rode Golden Soul in the Derby and Belmont, will be in the irons for the Haskell. The jockey will be looking for his first Haskell victory, having finished second in 2001 atop Touch Tone, third in 2003 aboard Sky Mesa and third again in 2007 with Horse of the Year Curlin.
The Haskell, with an estimated post of 6:20 p.m., will go as race 13 on a 14-race program. Gates open Haskell day at 10 a.m., with first post slated for noon.