07/26/2012 1:33PM

Haskell Invitational: Paynter, Gemologist draw side by side

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Barbara D. Livingston
Gemologist's post position draw may allow him to put early pressure on Haskell favorite Paynter.

If Paynter is deemed the horse to beat in Sunday’s Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, then Javier Castellano, the rider of likely second choice Gemologist won’t have to work hard to find him.

Gemologist, the Wood Memorial winner, drew post 4, one slot to the outside of Paynter, the Belmont Stakes runner-up, when entries were made and post positions drawn on Thursday for Sunday’s Haskell, the marquee event of the Monmouth meet. The Haskell will go as race 13 on a 14-race program that begins at noon. Post time for the Haskell is 6:17 p.m.

A field of six was entered for the Haskell, including dual Grade 1 winner Dullahan, Affirmed Handicap winner Nonios, and multiple stakes-placed runners Stealcase and Handsome Mike.

Paynter is trained by Bob Baffert, who has won a record five Haskells, including the last two with Lookin At Lucky and Coil. In Paynter, he has a horse who made all the pace in the Belmont before being run down by Union Rags, losing by a neck.

[HASKELL INVITATIONAL: Get PPs and watch Sunday’s card LIVE]

Baffert, who has made a jockey switch from Mike Smith to Rafael Bejarano, expects his horse to be the one to catch on Sunday.

“He knows the horse really well, he’ll just let him run away from there and take him along as far as [he] can,” Baffert said.

Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Gemologist, won the Haskell in 2006 and 2007 with Bluegrass Cat and Any Given Saturday. He was happy that his horse drew right to Paynter’s outside.

“I think it’s perfect,” Pletcher said. “We’d love to be sitting right next to Paynter and keep an eye on him. He’s an exceptional gate horse, he’ll be able to get into the flow of the race quickly and force Paynter to make a decision.”

Aside from the Sprial Stakes, when he lost his footing at the start, Handsome Mike has shown speed in his previous races. Since he has not run since finishing fourth in the Sprial, he figures to be fresh and close to the pace on Sunday. Mario Gutierrez rides for owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill, the same trio who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I’ll Have Another.

Trainer Dale Romans lost last year’s Haskell with Shackleford, who came within a neck of Coil. Romans hopes to turn the tables with Dullahan, who is winless in five starts on dirt, including a disappointing seventh-place finish as the favorite in the Belmont Stakes.

Romans felt that the Belmont track became dry and cuppy on Belmont Day, a situation he doesn’t expect to be the case at Monmouth on Sunday.

“I haven’t seen that out of Monmouth Park the few times that I’ve been over there,” said Romans, whose horse will break from post 2.

Jerry Hollendorfer won the Haskell 23 years ago with King Glorious. He’s back for the first time since with Nonios, who won the Affirmed Handicap on June 3 and finished second in the Grade 2 Swaps last out, on July 4.

Stealcase, second to Jim Dandy starter Neck ‘n Neck in the Grade 3 Matt Winn, completes the field.

Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
Of course my top selection is Gemologist, #4 with all straight exacta, but you know what is very interesting as my wife pointed out this morning as I was finally looking over PPs, NONE of the guys have run or even worked out at Monmouth track.....and the weather, even so with all the data, Gem is sittingon a huge race, his injury exit from KD does not get play even in Kenny Pecks analysis, which is a huge overlook, he is just beginning his strong run for 3yr old horse of the year, and if he wins this, more in the horse tank if he stays healthy, anyone of these could come in second to him today
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
You are delusional
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
Gemologist : should look fresh and fit thru-out 3/4 of this race . Looking as if seasoning is his only weakness . I am almost certain that this Gem will tale off thru out the last 70 yards or so - never getting close to Paynter turning for home . Gem will be a race with-in reach of his best ability ! Has been training very well - lights out in fact . But at this stage ofthe game : Paynter happens to be a cutabove these at this stage of the game . Hard to lose if ya cant be passed ! I see this being a SOLID Exacta ( 3 - 2 ) and a SOLID Trifecta ( 3 - 2 - 1 ) ( 3 - 2 - 4 ) ! In my opinion : not the type of race to go all out on , due to the odds and the fact of such a small field . Paynter should have things his own way very easily . Too many track Analysis are viewing eyes on 1 Nonios : and this is hardly ever a good sign of Victory .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the reason racing is dying, especially in NJ. How do put on your premier race and only come up with 6 horses. Can't you work with NY and run the Jim Dandy and Haskell on dates where they won't conflict. Surely that could have been worked out. Monmouth is dying a slow death. Handle is important. Their per capita is dreadful, even on days when they have huge crowds. . The lack of good betting races hurts. Monmouth continually runs short fields. Even in grass races that fill with 12 or more they limit the runners to 8. The people that are running the show need to do a better job. The Haskell may be an EVENT an they may get a crowd, but it is not a great horse race at least not from a betting POV.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Once again another gloom and doom person crying about the current state of horse racing.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Shut it! You are bringing me down. I'm looking forward to this race no matter what the state of affairs!
Jack Twee More than 1 year ago
Put the Jim Dandy and the Haskell together and what a race!!! But this is not what the Owners and Trainers want.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
It'll happen in the Travers Hello?
Jack Twee More than 1 year ago
Wishful thinking,You'll have 6 horses in the Travers.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
Here's a link with the Haskell charts going back to 2000. (the last 3 pages 8 thru 10) http://www.monmouthpark.com/uploadedFiles/10Haskell.pdf Despite the old adage that Monmouth is an early speed favoring track, plenty of horses have come from off the pace and won this race. Check out Point Given in 2001, Dixie Union in 2000, Coil in 2011. In my opinion, in a 6 horse field, unless Paynter tries to steal it on the front end, Dullahan is not going to be that far back when they hit the top of the stretch anyway. Maybe 3 or 4 lengths at the most. This is in response to Sat.customer, but I wanted everybody to see that link with the charts so they can see how previous Haskell's have played out.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
So,are you saying that Monmouth isn't a speed favoring track because of the yearly feature race doesn't always play out that way.We'll have to agree to disagree then. I think it's the most speed bias track in the country. Besides palm beach kennel club,lol
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Even if the last 6 winning horses were dead closers, what does that have to do with this years race. The only trend in any race is PACE. However, on Haskell day there has always been a race that day where a gray horse has won (EVERY YEAR) There is only one gray horse entered all day Sunday and he is 50-1. You should get rich on him using your thinking!!!!
PeterG More than 1 year ago
And what if the last 6 winners went wire to wire? That would mean nothing also right? That is the point I'm trying to make to this guy.. Any style can win this race. He's claiming Dullahan doesn't have a chance because he's a closer. I'm trying to show him that many horses have came from off the pace. Many have also went wire to wire. And on paper at least , with 2 or 3 speedballs in here, the race sets up for a horse like Dullahan.
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
It's a combo of the speed favoring bias (understatement) and the fact that Dullahan hasn't won on dirt and will most likely just passed tired ones
PeterG More than 1 year ago
Well apparently Steve Szymanski doesn't believe in speed favoring bias's because to identify a speed favoring bias you would have to look at the past results of races at Monmouth and Steve Szymanski just said what happened in the past is meaningless.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
Might as well throw away the past performances and pull numbers out of a hat too, because according to Steve Szymanski what's happened in the past does not matter.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
This is pathetic. A million dollar race with 6 horses. The Jim Dandy drew 8 and it is by far the better of the two betting wise. I wont spend $2 on the Haskell. Monmouth should of did some advance research. They are going to take the worse blow. I sure hope they dont televise this race nationally. The average fan isn't going to be excited over a 6 horse field. How we going to add more interest and newcomers with this crap. Come on Man.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
And I am sure that the connections of the defectors are not happy either but wuddayagonna do? Big difference with Bode, Rags and mebbe Cookie in there ain't it? I say that Bobby Kulina and staff did a helluva job rubbin' this race back into Grade 1 shape. If you don't like it, go fishing. I can ga-ron-tee that during the last 70 yards nobody but you will be worried about your two dollars...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing. Why is this still a million dollar purse or a Grade I ?
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
It really is an awfull betting race. And always will be as long as the JD is on the same day. Monmouth is a beautiful track,but the merry-go-round nature of it makes it unbettable for me. I hope they don't have the BC thee
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Romans is making all the right moves with his horses. Cozzetti, Silver Max, Shackleford. Even though I have been saying Dullahan belongs on turf, one can support him here. The pace in The Belmont was slow and according to Romans, he never really grabbed the track. Still sceptical since he is a huge colt who may not handle these tighter turns, but the pace should be right for him.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
You are correct. Dullahans best races are when there is a fast pace. The Derby, the Bluegrass, the BC Juvenile and the Breeders Futurity at Keeneland were all fast paced. This figures to be a decent paced race with Gemologist, Paynter, Handsome Mike in there. Nonios might even be close early. Watch the replay of the Belmont Stakes and stop it as Paynter, Union Rags, and Atigun go past the 1/8th pole, which would be 11 furlongs in that race. Dullahan was in 5th maybe 6 or 7 lengths behind and this is on deep cuppy dirt that he didn't like that much. And as you said the pace of that race wasn't very fast. It really wasn't as bad a race by Dullahan as it seems to be. He faded a bit after 11 furlongs. The Haskell is only 9 furlongs. Dullahan will be flying late but they can't let Paynter go slow up front like they did in the Belmont. And Romans has to be right about him liking the Monmouth dirt better than the Belmont dirt. Atigun was also very strong in the Belmont Stakes. Big move on the far turn. I'm considering him in the Jim Dandy for sure
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Paynter and the All button
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Just too much of a speed favoring track to support Dullahan,who's never won on the dirt,other than to passed tired horses for a minor award
PeterG More than 1 year ago
COIL came from dead last after 6 furlongs and won this race last year. And he ran down a very good early speed horse in the process named Shackelford. Here's the chart. http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=MTH&dt=07/31/2011&c­try=USA&race=12
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
That's an exception. Are you trying to say Monmouth ISN'T a speed favoring track.
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Shakelford was a good speed horse in the Haskell. After that, he bacame an exceptional speed horse.
Josh More than 1 year ago
I am going with Paynter and Nonios. http://handicrapper.blogspot.com/
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
I LOVE it. Dullahan is 3-1. Keep on betting folks. Gemologist is slow and hasnt won a single race with powerful Ragozins. Keep betting him too. I havent even begun to handicap this one but I know two horses, I wont be including in the exacta. Take a guess.....
Paul Patane More than 1 year ago
Gemologist will be 4-5. Thats pathetic if you actual believe that. Based on what! Winning the Wood Memorial by a hair at the "Big A". WOW. I think Paynter & Baffert draw the money and goes off the favorite, but even so Paytner wont have a easy lead like the Belmont. Should be a good race, but again it's comical how much people Todd Pletcher runners. The horse is off a 85 day layoff, going 1 1/8, short priced, and never touched Monmouth surface before. Suckers bet...............