Maximum Security leads prospective Haskell 2019 field

July 12, 2019 10:28am
Maximum Security leads prospective Haskell 2019 field
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

A pair of races this weekend have brought further into focus the prospective field for a major race the next, the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational set for July 20 at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park.

At one time, both Mr. Money and Math Wizard were under consideration for the 1 1/8-mile feature. Both have elected to go instead in Saturday’s Indiana Derby (G3).

Likewise, Monmouth Park publicity earlier this week listed Lexitonian among those possible. He’ll instead take on Grade 1 winner Mind Control in Sunday’s Concern Stakes at Laurel Park.

And who can blame them for looking elsewhere?

What remains is an especially solid bunch of 3-year-olds led by Maximum Security, the disqualified Kentucky Derby winner who was defeated in his comeback race, the June 16 Pegasus Stakes. King for a Day, the one-length winner that day, is among Haskell probables, too.

“You never know what’s going to happen when you’re running against a horse that crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains King for a Day, “but we always felt like this colt was one of our top 3-year-olds for sure.”

Pletcher expected to confirm King for a Day after his final work.

Meanwhile, last weekend Maximum Security returned to the work tab with an easy breeze, after which trainer Jason Servis said the colt is “starting to point” back to his pre-Kentucky Derby form.

Next on the list of Haskell headliners are a pair of classic-placed colts. Everfast, second in the Preakness Stakes, returned to be seventh in the Belmont Stakes. Joevia set the pace in the third leg of the Triple Crown and stuck around for third.

Multiple Grade 3 winner Mucho Gusto will head up trainer Bob Baffert’s chances of a record eighth Haskell victory, with his most-recent score in 2015 with American Pharoah.

“I like to take a swing at the fences. Sometimes you have to do that,” Baffert said. “If he wins it’s great. Even second would be fine. I’m not going in with the favorite like I usually do but I think he deserves a chance so we’ll take a shot at it.”

Other probables as of Friday are Chilly in Charge and Spun to Run — both assured to be longshots when wagering opens. Possibilities include the Holy Bull (G2) winner Harvey Wallbanger and Preakness runner Laughing Fox.

Saratoga’s Jim Dandy (G2), a local prep for the Aug. 24 Travers (G1), is expected to include Tax, another former Haskell possibility who will remain in New York after finishing fourth in the Belmont.

Here’s a complete look at the prospective Haskell field:

2019 Haskell Invitational (G1)


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