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Haskell Invitational: Paynter, Gemologist draw side by side
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.
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.
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
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 .
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.
Put the Jim Dandy and the Haskell together and what a race!!! But this is not what the Owners and Trainers want.
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.
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.
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.
I am going with Paynter and Nonios. http://handicrapper.blogspot.com/
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.....
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...............
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