07/29/2010 12:05PM

Lookin At Lucky draws rail for Monmouth's Haskell

Barbara D. Livingston

Bob Baffert says he always has a good time when he comes to Monmouth Park. His 2010 experience got off to a rocky start, however, when his colt, Lookin At Lucky, drew the rail for Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational.

Lookin At Lucky had the rail for the Kentucky Derby, a race in which he was favored but also one where he encountered significant trouble in the first eighth of a mile, which forced him back to 18th early on. He would rally to finish sixth, seven lengths behind Super Saver, who is also in the Haskell and will break from post 6.

"I can’t believe how poorly this horse draws," Baffert, a three-time Haskell winner, said from California Thursday during a conference call following the post draw. "You guys have ruined my morning."

This year’s Haskell is one of the deepest in the race’s 43-year history. With both Super Saver and Lookin At Lucky in the field, this marks the first time the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners have met in this race. Add to the field Derby runner-up Ice Box, Preakness runner-up First Dude and the intriguing Trappe Shot, and you have what Baffert calls the toughest Haskell field he’s seen.

In an eight-horse field, it is unlikely that the rail will have the same dire consequences for Lookin At Lucky as it did in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby. Lookin at Lucky, last year’s 2-year-old champion, was installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite by Brad Thomas. Martin Garcia, who rode Lookin At Lucky to victory in the Preakness, will be back aboard.

Lookin At Lucky has won 7 of 10 career starts. Two of his three losses could be attributed to poor post draws - the Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, where he had post 13 and was beaten a head. In his other loss, the Santa Anita Derby, Lookin At Lucky encountered traffic trouble along the rail approaching the stretch.

"His biggest problem in racing has been his draws, he’s been the most poorly drawn horse I ever had," Baffert said. "At least he’s managed to do really well. He’s just a good horse. Sometimes he overcomes it, sometimes he doesn’t. It makes it harder for him. He’s doing great, that’s the main thing."

After missing a week of training due to a temperature, Lookin At Lucky has posted five strong workouts between Santa Anita and Del Mar. Lookin At Lucky was scheduled to arrive at Monmouth Park late Thursday afternoon.

Super Saver, who will try to bounce back from an eighth-place finish in the Preakness, post 6 and was installed as the co-second choice at 3-1. He will ship to Monmouth from Saratoga the morning of the race. Trainer Todd Pletcher and the WinStar Farm that owns Super Saver, have won this race twice with Bluegrass Cat (2006) and Any Given Saturday (2007).

Trappe Shot, a son of Tapit, has won four consecutive races including the Long Branch, his first start around two turns. He drew the extreme outside post.

"I kind of like it outside," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, whose other entrant, Uptowncharlybrown, drew post 7. "We just wanted to be outside of the speed so we can break and sit and see how it goes inside of us."

First Dude and Our Dark Knight are the expected pace-setters. Afleet Again, who finished second in the Pegasus, completes the field.

The Haskell will be race 12 of 14 on a card that begins at noon. ABC will broadcast the Haskell in a one-hour telecast beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern and that will also include the Oceanport Stakes.

1. Lookin At Lucky M. Garcia B. Baffert 5-2

2. Afleet Again J. Bravo R. Reid 12-1

3. Ice Box J. Lezcano N. Zito 9-2

4. First Dude R. Dominguez D. Romans 6-1

5. Our Dark Knight E. Trujillo N. Zito 15-1

6. Super Saver C. Borel T. Pletcher 3-1

7. Uptowncharlybrown R. Maragh K McLaughlin 15-1

8. Trappe Shot A. Garcia K. McLaughlin 3-1