Mr. Money has connections considering Haskell Invitational

June 16, 2019 02:15pm

Trainer Bret Calhoun and owner Chester Thomas, who campaign promising 3-year-old Mr. Money, were awaiting his Matt Winn Stakes (G3) run Saturday night to determine what could be ahead.

Then Mr. Money gave them even more to think about when he ran off to a 6 1/2-length win at Churchill Downs.

Now, Calhoun said Sunday, “We’ve got a couple races in mind.”

First is the Grade 3, $500,000 Indiana Derby at 1 1/16 miles on July 13. A week later, Monmouth Park hosts the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational — double the money, but also a tougher ship from Kentucky and the race 1/16th of a mile longer.

“Obviously there’s some things to consider both ways, and they’re both very good options,” Calhoun said. “We’re just going to see what’s going on with him and what everyone else is doing also and make up your mind from there. You’d like to win a Grade 1 with him, but the other side of that is, I want to keep him as fresh and healthy as I can for as long as I can.

“There’s so much money to run at in this 3-year-old division. I’m trying to protect him as best I can.”

A son of Goldencents, Mr. Money emerged as a potential star 3-year-old on Kentucky Derby day when he ran off to win the Pat Day Mile (G3) around one turn. The Matt Winn served as a litmus test for how he’d stretch back out after finishes of seventh in Fair Grounds’ Risen Star (G2) and fifth in the Louisiana Derby (G2).

Then again, earlier this season Mr. Money was still bouncing back from the effects of a minor illness that prevented him from hitting the Derby trail earlier.

“He put it all back together in the Pat Day Mile and followed that with another bang-up race last night,” Calhoun said. “He went from one turn to two — didn’t think two turns was an issue with that caliber of horses, but he needed to step up and prove it.”

Where Mr. Money goes next could determine stablemate By My Standards’ return race from an 11th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. The Louisiana Derby winner — also by Goldencents and owned by Thomas — lost all chance at contending the first Saturday in May when shuffled back at the start over the slop.

By My Standards has breezed twice this month at Churchill Downs, most recently drilling five furlongs on June 7 in 1:00.

If Mr. Money goes in the Indiana Derby, the July 5 Iowa Derby could be By My Standards’ spot. But if Mr. Money goes in the Haskell, the Indiana Derby could be By My Standards’ destination.

“We’re definitely going to keep them apart,” Calhoun said. “We’re not going to commit to anything yet with By My Standards. He had a really, really good work last week, and we haven’t made any decisions about that yet.”


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