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Check out our predictions and odds for the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park!
|1||GEAUX ROCKET RIDE||5/1|
|M Smith||R Mandella|
|J B||J Delgado|
|3||SALUTE THE STARS||8/1|
|J Rosario||B Cox|
|J Castellano||G Delgado|
|L Saez||T Pletcher|
|P Lopez||E Dobles|
|T Gaffalione||S Asmussen|
|J Velazquez||B Baffert|
Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
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The Kentucky Derby winner Mage clashes with the unbeaten and highly regarded Arabian Knight to top a field of eight set for Saturday’s $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Off since finishing third in the Preakness, the Gustavo Delgado-trained Mage will use this 9-furlong, Grade 1 race, as well as next month’s Grade 1 Travers, to strengthen his claim for a year-end championship.
A winner of 2-of-5 overall, the son of Good Magic was second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby before breaking through with his big win at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
Arabian Knight, meanwhile, hasn’t raced since January and has run just twice overall for trainer Bob Baffert, who has won this race a record nine times.
A very impressive winner of his career debut last November at Keeneland, the son of Uncle Mo looked the part of something very good with a 5 1/2-length win in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park six months ago.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Tapit Trice could be the third choice in Monmouth’s signature race. The gray son of Tapit won both the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby and the Grade 1 Blue Grass earlier this season.
After finishing a disappointing seventh behind Mage in the Kentucky Derby, he finished a solid third in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes most recently.
Along with Geaux Rocket Ride and Extra Anejo, this unbeaten colt is one of three impressive looking up-and-comers in the field, and he is the one that will take the most action at the betting windows.
Yes, he’s undefeated, but his trainer Bob Baffert is the biggest reason why he will be bet so much. A nine-time winner of this race, he deserves that type of respect. A big winner of his debut last fall, this son of Uncle Mo’s only race this year came six months ago and in the slop.
His romping win in the Southwest Stakes furthered his buzz, but there is still so much to prove. Six months away is a concern, but his workouts are great. He certainly could win this, but at the odds, I am siding with a couple of others.
The Kentucky Derby hero of 2023 will make his second start since that triumphant run and has found a difficult spot. After winning the Derby, he was not helped by a severe lack of pace in the Preakness and ran well to finish third.
This race seems to be more of a prep for the Travers, which is odd as a million-dollar race, but his connections appear to be gearing up for the big one at Saratoga and therefore Mage might not be at his absolute best on Saturday.
Still, he has consistently performed well against the best of his generation and something near his best could win this. He should also get a solid pace to run at. The son of Good Magic must be respected.
This son of Tapit was one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby. Getting free too late and then running very wide killed his chances in that one, but he did come back with a very good third in the Belmont Stakes last time.
All of his wins for trainer Todd Pletcher have come at 9 furlongs or less, so I don’t believe the cutback in distance will be a problem for the two-time graded stakes winner as he runs in his fourth consecutive Grade 1.
Working well since the Belmont, and with a strong pace expected to assist his late run, I believe he will be running strongly down the lane. I don’t know if he will pick up all the pieces, but I am expecting a strong performance from this classy runner.
This son of Candy Ride has done little wrong in three career starts for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. A stylish maiden win sprinting in January was followed up by a second career start stretching out for the Grade 2 San Felipe.
He was no match for the more experienced Practical Move that afternoon but ran a respectable second. After missing just a little time, he came back to easily handle lesser competition last time in the Affirmed Stakes.
Much like Arabian Knight and Extra Anejo, he could be any kind. I am going to pass on him in this million-dollar race as he leaves Santa Anita for the first time, but it would come as no surprise if he ran a big race.
This son of Into Mischief is clearly very talented. In his only start as a juvenile, he ran away from the competition to win by nearly ten lengths at Keeneland for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
On the shelf with a minor injury, we did not see him again until Kentucky Derby weekend when he returned to run a solid second behind a fast sprinter. Off that return, he made his third-lifetime start going one mile at Ellis Park and won for fun.
He will now be tested for class in a big way in Haskell, but I do believe he has the talent to compete. I am not going to pick him for the win in his stakes debut, but I respect his chances in this loaded field.
Trained by Brad Cox, this son of Candy Ride has been steadily working up the ranks this season. Last year, he showed plenty of promise with two nice efforts on the grass.
After a sizable layoff, he was a game-winner of a 9-furlong allowance race at Churchill Downs. That victory set him up perfectly for a deceptively strong win in the local Pegasus Stakes.
Saturday’s big test will be his third start since the layoff, and another move forward makes him a major contender. I like his upside, odds, and win over the track. He is my top pick to pull off the upset in the Haskell.
The first of the two real longshots in the Haskell, this Elizabeth Dobles trainee got in a couple of preps over the track. He was a determined winner of the Long Branch Stakes two starts back.
Most recently, he faced stronger competition and was third in the Pegasus Stakes. While the Monmouth Park form is solid, he now faces easily his toughest test yet.
He has proven to be a pretty dependable stakes performer, just not at this level. I find him hard to recommend in this difficult spot.
This son of Awesome Slew was a very solid 2-year-old last year in Florida. In fact, he won all four of his starts in 2022, including three stakes races.
All of those stakes wins came against the restricted company, though. He also was away from the races for nearly nine months before returning in an allowance race last month at Delaware Park.
He’s probably better than that fifth-place result in his return, but as far as making serious noise against this bunch, it seems highly unlikely.
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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