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Monmouth: Haskell short list of probables headed by Paynter, Dullahan
By Mike Farrell
OCEANPORT. N.J. – Monmouth Park is gearing up for Haskell Day on July 29, the biggest day of the meet, and the fields for the seven stakes are taking shape.
The $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds is the main event, and the current headliners are Paynter, hard-luck loser in the Belmont Stakes, and Blue Grass winner Dullahan.
Stakes coordinator Dan Dufford also expects Le Bernardin, winner of the Grade 3 Pegasus earlier this meet, and either Ohio Derby and Tampa Bay Derby winner Prospective or Stealcase from trainer Mark Casse.
Gemologist is a possibility for the 1 1/8-mile stakes. Hansen, last year’s champion, is considered a remote prospect.
The top supporting event is the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. The likely lineup includes Afleeting Lady, Brushed by a Star, Catch a Thief, R Gypsy Gold, and Successful Song, winner of the Lighthouse Stakes, the Molly Pitcher prep.
Dufford lists Absinthe Minded as a possibility.
The other two top attractions are a pair of Grade 3’s on the turf, the Matchmaker for fillies and mares and the Oceanport.
Get Serious will bid for a third Oceanport victory while Glass Art will be making his stakes debut.
A 4-year-old trained by Greg Sacco, Glass Art is unbeaten in two grass races here since being gelded earlier this season.
“He loves this course,” Sacco said. “We’re going to step up to the plate and probably give him a whirl.”
Sacco also nominated the New Jersey-bred Freud’s Honor, fourth in the Grade 1 United Nations while outrunning his 65-1 odds. The U.N. was his second race in a seven-day span and Sacco plans on giving him a longer freshening while looking for races closer in distance to the 1 3/8 miles of the U.N than the 1 1/16-mile Oceanport.
“We’ll look for marathon races.” Sacco said. “He confirmed our suspicion that he’s a natural stayer.”
Other likely runners include Admiral Perry and defending Oceanport champion Yummy With Butter.
Dufford also expects a horse from trainer Todd Pletcher, who nominated five.
Well Spelled aims at Gallant Bob
Well Spelled is now being pointed toward the $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes for 3-year-olds at Parx Racing on Sept. 22 following his rallying win in Monmouth’s Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes.
“We’re happy with way he ran and he seems to have come out of it okay,” said trainer Ben Perkins Jr. “The Gallant Bob is the logical thing down the road.”
Especially since Well Spelled has already won over the track, taking a first-level allowance there in April.
Perkins ruled out the Grade 1 King’s Bishop on the Travers undercard.
“No, I’ve never had much luck there,” Perkins said of Saratoga.
◗ Jockeys Omar Hernandez, Keiber Coa, and Samuel Camacho Jr. each got three-day suspensions starting July 27 for infractions in the roughly run fourth race on July 13. Kendrick Carmouche opted to pay a $2,000 fine in lieu of a three-day suspension for interference in the fifth race last Saturday when Dual Mandate was disqualified from second and placed fourth.
◗ Angel Serpa been cleared to return on Sunday. The fifth leading rider here sustained a concussion when he was tossed to the turf last week.
“Neurologically, he’s fine,” said Dr. Angelo Chinnici, Monmouth’s medical director.
Watch the condition of the dirt at Monmouth on Haskell Day. Dullahan ran well on the dirt at Churchill because it was hard and fast on Derby Day. In the Belmont Stakes, the dirt was deep and cuppy. He didn't like that. He needs a harder dirt surface. I've seen Romans say this himself. So if the Monmouth dirt surface looks hard and fast, Dullahan would be a major contender. If it comes up soft , deep , and cuppy, I would look to somebody else.
Wasreally hoping to see Dullahan in The Virginia Derby on turf. Silver Max is a classy guy winning his last four I think. Just not sure he's going to like the 1 1/4 distance where Dullahan would love it and is better bred for turf and the 1 1/4 anyway. Sorry to micromanage Romans but Dullahan going to get outrun in The Haskell.
With the recent departure to injury (ankle chip) of Went The Day Well coming on the heels of the departures of Bodemeister (nursing a fever) and Union Rags, and the sold to Japan for stud duty I'll Have Another, Dullahan is the only surviving member of the talked up candidates for the KY Derby that actually finished in the superfecta (3rd). That might be worth mentioning other than his Bluegrass Stakes win, I would think. Keith L.
if Gemologist also runs, would anyone bet Dullahan to win at 5-1 ? 8-1 ?
Nobody wants to face Paynter.
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