Saturday’s Belmont Stakes concludes the Triple Crown races and the first half of the season for 3-year-olds.
The first Grade I race of the second half of the season for 3-year-olds is the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Invitational to be run six weeks from today on July 20 at Monmouth Park.
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The Haskell was moved up eight days this year from its traditional spot on the last Sunday in July so it can be broadcast on NBC.
And while it is way early in the game to gauge what the prospective field for Monmouth’s premier race will look like, it is expected that Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security will head the field.
Maximum Security crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby, but was disqualified to 17th for interference with three horses coming out of the far turn, including Preakness winner War of Will.
Country House, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby, but was placed first with the disqualification of Maximum Security is being pointed to the Jim Dandy a week later at Saratoga, trainer Bill Mott has told drf.com.
War of Will’s trainer Mark Casse told bloodhorse.com earlier this week that his horse will not likely run in the Haskell.
Here is an early guess, and we emphasize the word guess, at who possibly could run in the Haskell.
Trainer: Jason Servis
Jockey: Luis Saez.
The only question here is whether Maximum Security, who has crossed the finish line first in all five of his races and is officially 4-for-5 for his career, will run first in the $150,000 Pegasus at Monmouth on June 16 and then the Haskell or just train up to the Haskell.
More: Before War of Will wins Preakness, Maximum Security parades at Monmouth Park
His front-running style should be perfect for Monmouth.
More: Maximum Security breezes in preparation for Monmouth Park race
Trainer: Gregory Sacco
Jockey: Jose Lezcano.
Joevia, who won the $75,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth over three others on a sloppy track, is running today in the Belmont.
The Long Branch is the son of Shanghai Bobby’s only stakes win. Running in the Haskell has been a long-time dream of Monmouth regular and Ocean Township resident Sacco.
A Bob Baffert-trained horse – Improbable? Roadster? Mucho Gusto?
Baffert, who has won the Haskell a record eight times, including with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, is not running a horse in the Belmont.
Odds are them he could have a starter in the Haskell after not having a starter in the race the last two years.
The question is which one. He has said Game Winner – last year’s 2-year-old champion who is 0-for-3 this year and was fifth in the Kentucky Derby, is pointing to the Travers. Aug. 24 at Saratoga. Game Winner is also owned by the Wests.
Improbable was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and finished fourth and sixth in those races.
Roadster won the Santa Anita Derby before finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby.
Mucho Gusto won the Grade III Laz Barrera Stakes at Santa Anitia at seven furlongs on Preakness Day.
Trainer: Stanley Hough
Jockey To be announced.
The son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin won the Grade III Peter Pan – the New York Racing Association’s traditional prep race for the Belmont – May 11 at Belmont while earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. The speed figure tied Maximum Security for the second highest speed figure for 3-year-olds this year behind Maximum Security’s 102. His connections then decided to bypass the Belmont. One would think running in a prestigious Grade I race could be in the horse’s future in the summer. Saez rode Global Campaign in the Peter Pan.
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer.
Jockey: Joel Rosario.
Rowayton, who finished a bang-up second to 2-year-old champion Game Winner last year in the Del Mar Futurity, was an impressive winner of an allowance race with a rail-skimming trip at 6 ½ furlongs at Belmont on Thursday. One turn races could be in his future, but if his connections want to take a shot at a two turn race again, the Haskell could be the spot.
Trainer: Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Gabriel Saez
The son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents was an impressive winner of the one turn Grade III Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. He was fifth in the Louisiana Derby – ahead of War of Will – seventh in the Risen Star- behind War of Will and fourth last year in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephen Edelson: email@example.com; @SteveEdelsonAPP;