Las Vegas, NV - The main event of Monmouth Park's summer meet - the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational comes our way this Sunday from Monmouth Park on the Jersey Shore. A generous purse of $1 million will be on the line for some of the best three year olds in the land willing to race 1 1/8 miles on Monmouth's dirt track.
The Haskell has attracted a strong field of seven for race 13 on Monmouth Park's packed Sunday card. Post time is 6:20 PM. Here is a look at the past performances of all seven contenders for this lucrative and important Grade 1 stakes.
2013 Haskell Invitational Race Favorites
Verrazano - Todd Pletcher's trained colt has just one bad start and that happened to come on the biggest stage - a fourteenth place finish as one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby. He bounced back last time out however and avenged that result with a win in the Grade 3 Pegasus here June 16. He made his stakes debut with an impressive score with 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 9 after two starts and two more wins - an impressive Allowance Optional Claiming by 16 3/4 lengths at Gulfstream February 2 with a Beyer Speed figure of 105 and a MSW score by 7 3/4 lengths in his debut January 1 also at Gulfstream. He also won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 6 in the leadup to the Kentucky Derby. He has won five of six career starts - all with regular rider John Velazquez who will be in the saddle Sunday and is the 9-5 favorite for the Haskell.
Oxbow - was an OK sixth in the Kentucky Derby and impressively won the Preakness at 15-1 odds in wire-to-wire fashion - Oxbow's first win since January. Last time out was another good result - a good second to Palace Malice in the Belmont Stakes June 8. He is racing as well as he ever has for trainer D. Wayne Lukas ahead of the Haskell and has to be on the radar this weekend. He will have legendary jockey Gary Stevens who guided him to his Preakness win in the saddle, he starts from post 5 and currently sits at 2-1 odds on the morning line.
Haskell Invitational 2013 | Remaining Field Entries
Power Broker - Bob Baffert trained colt had an impressive score in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths September 29 after a good second in the Oak Tree Juvenile September 5. He went on to a pair of fifths - in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April. Since then he has recorded two straight wins - in the minor Easy Goer Stakes last time out by 3 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park and an Allowance in May at Churchill Downs. Power Broker has three wins, a second and a third place finish in with career starts and heads into the Haskell in good form. He is 3-1 on the morning line and should challenge the favorites.
Micromanage - Todd Pletcher trained colt races in graded stakes company for the first time in 2013 after a fifth in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes in October and a tenth in the Grade 2 Remsen in November. He has three starts this year - an Allowance Optional Claiming score May 11 at Monmouth Park after nearly six months away, a second in the minor Easy Goer Stakes behind power Broker at Belmont Park June 8 and a nice win last time out in the minor Long Branch Stakes here July 7. He has three wins and a third place finish in six career starts and is the fourth choice on the morning line at 6-1 odds.
Haskell Invitational betting at Monmouth Park with OffTrackBetting.com
Golden Soul - was the only real serious challenger to Orb in the Kentucky Derby where he finished second. This after an OK fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds March 30, a pedestrian sixth in the Grade 2 Risen Star February 23 and a good second in the Grade 2 LeComte Stakes January 19. He wasn't able to build upon his Kentucky Derby result however - he raced to a ninth last time out in the Belmont Stakes. Golden Soul has just two seconds in five starts this year - was his Derby effort his peak?
Vyjack - won his first four career starts including a pair of graded stakes scores at Aqueduct earlier this year. He then finished third in the Wood Memorial and was eighteenth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. Last time out was an eighth in the Belmont Stakes. He had some hype heading into the Triple Crown but failed to live up to it. Hopes are that a slightly smaller stage will help Vyjack succeed although oddmakers have him as the second longest shot in the field at 12-1 odds. He is also entered in the Jim Dandy Stakes Friday - a decision on which race he takes part in is expected Friday.
Pick Of The Litter - Dale Romans colt broke maiden February 27 by 7 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream in his second career start after a ninth in a MSW race in his debut February 2. He raced to a sixth in his stakes debut - the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream March 30 and most recently finished an OK third in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland April 20. He is the longest shot in the field at 15-1 for the Haskell.