08/05/2007 11:00PM

Hard Spun might go in King's Bishop next


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Hard Spun might be shortening up in distance after a second-place finish Sunday in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

The Haskell at 1 1/8 miles was Hard Spun's first race since he ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown. Trainer Larry Jones said Monday morning from Delaware Park that Hard Spun came out of the Haskell in good order.

"Everything seems good on him after the race," Jones said. "He doesn't seem to have any issues. Everything is good."

Looking to the future, Jones is considering a number of stakes, with the seven-furlong King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on the Travers Day undercard on Aug. 25 emerging as a strong contender.

"We don't know for sure," Jones said. "We're looking at the King's Bishop. We'd be shortening up in that spot, but I think he'd be okay with that."

The King's Bishop is one of the few remaining Grade 1 stakes on the calendar for 3-year-olds.

It would mark the first time this year that Hard Spun has raced at a distance less than one mile.

In the Haskell, Hard Spun stalked the pacesetting Cable Boy before pouncing on that rival at the top of the stretch.

"He sat off Cable Boy nicely," Jones said. "He probably was more relaxed sitting off him than he's ever been. He's learning more all the time."

Hard Spun briefly held the lead before the eventual winner Any Given Saturday galloped past. Hard Spun dug in gamely to hold off Preakness winner Curlin by a head in the battle for second, 4 1/2 lengths behind Any Given Saturday.

"It was a solid effort," Jones said. "He got tired and Curlin was tired as well. They did it on pure guts and determination. The fresher horse showed us his heels."

Cable Boy, unbeaten in three previous races - all at Monmouth - wound up fifth in his first graded appearance.

Trainer John Forbes said that the colt "washed out in the post parade and came back to the barn with a condition called the thumps."

The thumps are the equine equivalent of a human hiccup, a rhythmic contraction of the diaphragm.

The colt was back to normal Monday.

"He was feeling so good," Forbes said. "We almost couldn't get him from the stall to give him a bath. He was squealing and carrying on. He came out of the race like a horse who didn't do much running."

The likely next destination for Cable Boy will be the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Labor Day at Philadelphia Park.

Betting records fall

Business was brisk at Monmouth on Haskell Day.

A warm afternoon with lower humidity and the marquee race of the meet drew 43,106 fans, the fifth-highest in track history.

Several betting records fell. Total combined handle topped $14.1 million, erasing the old mark of $12.8 million set last year.

Betting on the Haskell alone hit a new high of $3,734,404, shading the previous record of $3,726,562 in 2003.

Monmouth hosts the Breeders Cup for the first time on Oct. 26-27 and Haskell Day served as a dry run for the championships.

"The day overall was a success," said Monmouth vice president Bob Kulina. "We had eight or nine people here from the Breeders' Cup and I think they came away feeling good about what they saw."

The major glitch of Haskell Day was the failure of the infield tote board for the first three races. When the board came back to life, the crowd erupted with some of the loudest cheers of the afternoon.

"We are still analyzing what happened," Kulina said. "Nobody was happy about it, but we were able to solve the problem."

Teddy Drone Wednesday's feature

The $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes at six furlong spices up Monmouth's Wednesday card.

The race was originally scheduled as part of the Haskell Day undercard but did not fill.

The race emerged with seven runners, featuring a rematch of the first two finishers in the Mr. Prospector Stakes here in July 7 in which Herecomeshollywood beat Suave Jazz by a head.