Haskell Invitational Stakes 2015 at Monmouth Park

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Haskell Invitational Stakes OTB

Las Vegas, NV - Monmouth Park on the Jersey Shore will play host to reining Triple Crown winner American Pharoah this Sunday, August 2 when the Grade 1 William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes is contested. Three year olds will take to Monmouth's dirt track and race 1 1/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the generous $1.75 million purse.

A field of 8 will try to knock off Pharoah in the Haskell Invitational - race 12 on Monmouth Park's busy Sunday cared. Post time is 5:52 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all eight entries for this competitive and lucrative Grade 1 stakes.

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2015 Haskell Invitational Stakes Race Favorite Entries

American Pharoah 1/5 - the 12th horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes - the first since Affirmed in 1978 will hit the track for the first time since he made history June 6. Bob Baffert will send out the champion 2-year-old male of 2014 American Pharoah for the ninth time having posted seven wins in eight career starts - the only blemish coming in his debut. He enters on a seven race win streak - all graded stakes. Last time out was in Belmont Stakes by 5 1/2 lengths June 6 after the Preakness Stakes May 16 by an impressive seven lengths after a statement win in the Kentucky Derby in May 2. They followed wins in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby by an incredible eight lengths April 11, in the Graded 2 Rebel Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths in March, the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes September 27 and a terrific 4 3/4 length win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity September 3. American Pharoah has been the most dominant horse on the planet the last 10 months - virtually untouchable at this point of his career! He completed six workouts in Southern California since June 29, including a pair of bullet six-furlong moves at Del Mar on July 18 and 23 - he looks ready for this weekend! As always Victor Espinoza will get the return call aboard the overwhelming morning line favorite from gate 4.

Upstart 6/1 - Richard Violette trained colt hits the track for the first time since a disappointing last of eighteen in the Kentucky Derby. It followed consecutive seconds - behind Materiality in the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 28 and after crossing the line first and being disqualified after it was ruled he interfered with Itsaknockout in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 2. Before those results were a dominant win by 5 1/2 lengths in the competitive Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 24, a good third behind Texas Red and Carpe Diem in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and second behind Daredevil in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park October 4. He has placed in seven of eight career starts (three wins, three seconds and a third place finish and will be out to avenge an ugly effort last time out. Joe Bravo has been tabbed with getting Upstart, the morning line second choice back on track from the rail if Upstart doesn't opt for the Jim Dandy Stakes on Saturday.

Haskell Invitational Stakes 2015 | Remaining Contenders

Competitive Edge 8/1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has won four of five career starts but enters off a career-worst effort - a sixth as 2-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park June 6 - his first start around two turns. Before that were four straight wins - the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs by 4 1/2 lengths May 2, the minor Tamarac Stakes in March and the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in September on this very track. Competitive Edge had been untouchable before last time out - hopes are he can return to that form Saturday. Mike Smith will be in the saddle from gate 2 if Competitive Edge doesn't race the Jim Dandy to which he is also entered on Saturday.

Keen Ice 12/1 - broke maiden in his second career start for trainer Dale Romans but has placed in just three of seven starts since - all graded stakes. Last time out was a respectable third in the Belmont Stakes June 6 after a seventh in the Kentucky Derby, a fourth in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, a third in the Grade 2 Risen Star, a fifth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes and a third in the Grade 3 Remsen. He has one win and three third place finishes in nine career starts and will have Kent Desormeaux in the reins from gate 6.

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Mr. Jordan 15/1 - has four wins and two runner-up finishes in six career starts for trainer Edward Plesa. He enters off a good win in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes on this track June 21 after consecutive seconds in minor stakes action - in the Tarpon Stakes April 25 and in the Tamarac Stakes in March - both results at Gulfstream. He did break maiden at first asking and did follow that with two straight minor stakes scores - the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park West November 8 and the Smooth Air Stakes on that same track November 29.Mr.Jordan has been a factor in every race of his career so far and could be again Sunday. Paco Lopez rides from post 5.

Top Clearance 30/1 - Wayne Catalano trained colt makes his stakes debut Saturday after just four career starts yielded two wins and two second place finishes. He enters off consecutive wins - an Allowance Optional Claiming on this track last time out July 11 and a maiden score at Churchill Downs June 13. He takes a major step up in competition in decent form Sunday from post 7 with Abel Castellano in the reins.

Nonna's Boy 30/1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has seven career starts with three wins, a second and a third place finish. He finished seventh in his only graded stakes start to date - the Grade 2 Saratoga Special last August but has placed in all four starts since. Last time out was a good win in the minor Lamplighter Stakes on this track July 18 which followed a third in the minor Winstar Farm Easy Goer Stakes in June and a second in the minor Gold Fever Stakes in May. Nonna's Boy looks for his first graded stakes score and enters in decent form. He departs from post 3 with a yet-to-be-named jockey.

Dontbetwithbruno 30/1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has two wins, two seconds and a third place finish in eight career starts. He enters off a second behind Nonna's Boy in the minor Lamplighter Stakes July 18 and a fourth in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes June 21 - both results on this track. Before that was an OK third in the minor Parx Derby May 2 after an Allowance score on that same track in April and a sixth in his only other graded stakes action to date - the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in March. Dontbetwithbruno has been decent so far in his career and will be looking for his first graded stakes score from the outside gate 8 with a yet-to-be-named jockey.

2015 Haskell Invitational Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 12 on Monmouth Park's Sunday card with a Post Time of 5:52 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Upstart J. Bravo R. Violette, Jr.
2 Competitive Edge M. Smith T. Pletcher
3 Nonna's Boy . T. Pletcher
4 American Pharoah V. Espinoza B. Baffert
5 Mr. Jordan P. Lopez E. Plesa, Jr.
6 Keen Ice K. Desormeaux D. Romans
7 Top Clearance A. Castellano, Jr. W. Catalano
8 Dontbetwithbruno . T. Pletcher

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