Expert picks: Haskell Stakes 2019 predictions, longshots

July 19, 2019 03:10pm

Monmouth Park officials have confirmed that Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational will run on a delayed basis, with post time now 8:05 p.m. ET due to an Excessive Heat Warning in place in New Jersey.

This summer staple welcomes back disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security; King for a Day, the horse who beat him last time over this same track; and Mucho Gusto, who will be looking for trainer Bob Baffert's record ninth Haskell win. That's in addition to the classic-placed Everfast and Joevia.

Before this one goes off, here's how Horse Racing Nation's crew handicapped it. Also check out free past performances.

Bryan Brinkmeyer, The Kentucky Derby Post

Winner: #7 Maximum Security

On the board: #1 King for a Day, #5 Mucho Gusto

Longshot I like: #2 Joevia

Analysis: King for a Day and Maximum Security trade punches as the Jason Servis trainee rebounds from a runner-up finish to King for a Day last time out. In that outing, Maximum Security wasn’t able to hang on after stumbling and having to regroup at the break. This time I expect him to turn the tables and hold off a hard-charging attempt from Mucho Gusto.

Jeffrey Byrnes, Byrnzzze's Corner

Winner: #5 Mucho Gusto

On the board: #7 Maximum Security, #1 King for a Day

Longshot I like: #2 Joevia

Analysis: Mucho Gusto is coming into his own. After a somewhat disappointing run in the Sunland Derby, Baffert gave him a breather and brought him back for stylish wins at Santa Anita Park. A horse that has learned to relax gets an ideal pace setup here. Maximum Security finally got pace pressure and couldn't hold off King for a Day last out. He ran a solid race in defeat and has the talent to bounce back. King for a Day is getting better with every start, plus has won from on the lead or off the pace. He'll likely be sent to a ground-saving trip along the rail. If he can sustain pace pressure, he has a big chance. Joveia ran surprising third in the Belmont Stakes and sports a couple wins over the Monmouth Park track. If he gets away with moderate fractions, there's a big upset chance.

My bet: 5-7-1-2 superfecta box. 

Nick Costa, Trackside with Trackman

Winner: #1 King for a Day

On the board: #5 Mucho Gusto, #7 Maximum Security

Longshot I like: #2 Joevia

Analysis: King for a Day displayed some talent last year as a juvenile, breaking his maiden second time out before finishing a close fourth in Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). The colt is now perfect in two starts this year after playing spoiler to Maximum Security and looks primed for another top effort. Musto Gusto has won five of seven starts and has worked sharply since his last race. He should get a nice trip racing just behind the speed. Maximum Security gave up the lead last out at odds of 1-20 to my top choice here. That was his first start since the Kentucky Derby disqualification. He is a Grade 1 winner, but the other two offer more appeal.

My bet: 1-5/1-2-5-7/1-2-5-6-7 trifecta

Jarrod Horak, Pick 6 Blog

Winner: #5 Mucho Gusto

On the board: #7 Maximum Security, #1 King for a Day

Longshot I like: #6 Everfast

Analysis: Bob Baffert owns this race, as going back to 2001 he has saddled eight Haskell winners. This year, he sends out Mucho Gusto. I was unsure of his route stamina heading into the Affirmed (G3) back on June 16, but he relaxed nicely from the outside post and powered home under Joe Talamo that day. He drew well for this and sports back-to-back six furlong bullets. Maximum Security is probably in for an outside stalking trip. He lost the Pegasus, but that was only a prep for this, and he should be ready to run a better race today. King for a Day upset Maximum Security as my value top choice in the Pegasus. He had outside tactical position in that event but might have a more difficult time working out a favorable trip from the rail Saturday. I am not a fan of #6 Everfast, but there is plenty of speed in this event, and I can see him rallying for a share.

My bet: #5 to win; exacta 5-7; trifecta 1-5-7/1-5-7/6 

Reinier Macatangay, Setting the Pace

Winner: #5 Mucho Gusto

On the board: #1 King for a Day, #2 Joevia

Longshot I like: #6 Everfast

Analysis: Even though Maximum Security drew a good outside post and can redeem himself after losing the Pegasus Stakes, there is no point in playing him at low odds. Unless he rates, he will need to deal with King for a Day, Joevia and Mucho Gusto up front, as well as cheap speed in Bethlehem Road and Spun to Run. If I play the race (and that is a big "if," depending on how the board looks), then wheel 1,2,5 over 1,2,5,6 while forgetting about Maximum Security completely.  


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