There aren’t much bigger Grade 1s in the second half of the year for three-year-olds than the Haskell Stakes. Monmouth Park will host the illustrious race on July 17th, and some of the biggest stars could be in action.
It will be one of the final stops for the three-year-olds on their way to the Breeders’ Cup. But, what could we expect to see in the huge Grade 1 this year?
Baffert-Trained Horses Welcome
Bob Baffert’s training methods have been under the microscope for the past couple of months after it was revealed that Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, had failed a drug test after winning the opening Triple Crown race.
Calls were made by organizations, as well as fans, for a firm punishment to be handed out. Baffert-trained horses have failed drug tests on various occasions in the past couple of years, with four being tested positive last year.
The NYRA and Churchill Downs were stronger in their punishments, but organizers at Monmouth Park have welcomed the Hall of Famer to enter horses at their course. That means that the horse at the center of the storm looks set to challenge for the Haskell Stakes, as Medina Spirit looks a certainty.
The three-year-old won the Kentucky Derby in contentious circumstances earlier in the year and was most recently seen in the Preakness Stakes, where he finished third behind Rombauer.
Other Triple Crown Winners In Action
Triple Crown winners have performed excellently in the Haskell Stakes throughout its history, with recent winners that have won the Monmouth Park Grade 1, including Authentic and American Pharoah. Once again, Triple Crown winners will be lining up for the Haskell Stakes.
Rombauer was the shock winner of the Preakness Stakes in the second leg of the Triple Crown but showed that he is still open to further improvement after staying on strongly to finish third in the Belmont Stakes.
On the form that he has already shown this season, the Michael McCarthy-trained horse could have an excellent chance of claiming another huge Grade 1 success.
Mandaloun could yet be upgraded to the winner of the Kentucky Derby after the Brad Cox horse was second behind Medina Spirit at Churchill Downs earlier in the season. His excellent form this season continued in the Pegasus Stakes, as he held off a late challenge from Weyburn, who will also be involved at Monmouth Park, to win a fascinating renewal last month.
Hot Rod Charlie’s Chase For Grade 1 Success Continues
There is little doubt that Hot Rod Charlie is one of the leading three-year-olds in the States this season, but his wait for an elusive Grade 1 has carried on this season.
He has come up just short on a number of occasions already, but gamblers will continue to support the Doug O’Neil-trained horse as he certainly has all the ability to land one of the big races at some point.
After the Haskell Stakes, he will likely target the Pacific Classic and Travers Stakes before the Breeders’ Cup, and it isn’t completely unforeseeable that he wins all the Grade 1s in the second half of the season.
The three-year-old was second in the Belmont Stakes behind Essential Quality, and third in the Kentucky Derby. He also hit the post again in Grade 1 company as a two-year-old, as he finished just behind Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year.
The ability is there, and it seems only a matter of time before he lands Grade 1. That success could come in the Haskell Stakes.
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