Updated on 09/17/2011 3:06PM

Haskell lineup coming into focus


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The field has started to take shape for the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 8, the premier event of the Monmouth Park season.

The track extended invitations to 24 3-year-olds, and the race office is starting to get feedback from the connections.

Racing secretary Mike Dempsey expects the first three finishers in last weekend's Long Branch Stakes - Lion Heart, My Snookie's Boy, and Royal Assault - to come back for the 1 1/8-mile Haskell.

Dempsey is hopeful that Wood Memorial winner Tapit will make the race. Tapit has not started since running ninth in the Kentucky Derby.

Other possible Haskell runners include Eddington, Pollard's Vision, and the first three finishers from Hollywood Park's Swaps Stakes: Rock Hard Ten, Suave, and Boomzeeboom.

Haskell weights will be released Friday.

Nice spot for Constant Touch

Constant Touch, an improving 4-year-old filly, will face several more-experienced rivals in Monmouth's Friday feature, a $43,000 optional claiming race for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf.

Constant Touch should be up to the assignment, if she continues her development for trainer Vicki Oliver.

Constant Touch scored an allowance win on the opening weekend of the meet.

Stewart Elliott negotiated a ground-saving trip from the rail as Constant Touch, as far back as eighth at one point, slipped through on the rail to get up by a half-length.

"She just had the perfect trip," said Elliott. "And we were able to find room."

She next tackled stakes company for the first time in Monmouth's Politely and drew the outside slot in the nine-horse field. She wound up wide and finished sixth, 2 1/2 lengths behind Snowdrops.

"She didn't get the same kind of trip from post 9," said Elliott. "She didn't get to save any ground, but she still ran well."

Constant Touch, who had won three in a row prior to the Politely, will try to launch a new winning streak on the drop back to allowance company.

"She always tries hard," said Elliott. "She should be tough in this spot."

While Constant Touch will be making her seventh career start, Won Jenelle is the hardened veteran in the race as she runs for the 47th time, still in search of her fourth win.

The 8-year-old Won Jenelle, in for a $45,000 claiming tag, most recently ran second for $30,000 at Monmouth on June 30 in her first start since last fall. Felix Ortiz will ride for owner-trainer Eugenio Abbruzzese.

Bitterroot River has won her last two starts in allowances at Gulfstream Park and Monmouth. The 4-year-old Bitterroot River is a stout closer who got up last time by a head at the end of a prolonged drive. Eibar Coa has the mount.

Salvator tops weekend stakes

The Grade 3, $100,000 Salvator Mile on Sunday tops Monmouth's weekend stakes lineup.

Possible runners include Highway Prospector, Max Forever, Presidential affair, and Roaring Fever.

The weekend kicks off Saturday with a pair of $60,000 stakes: the Spruce Fir for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at one mile on the turf, and the Serena's Song for 3-year-old fillies at one mile and 70 yards.

The $55,000 Anderson Fowler at five furlongs on the turf will be the supporting stakes on Sunday.