Today will see the 45th running of the Haskell Invitation at Monmouth Park.
Whilst the field is only a small one with 6 starters, there’s a few horses with the credentials to upset the starting line favorite Paynter. Paynter was a close second in the Belmont Stakes to Union Rags and his trainer Bob Baffert has 5 Haskell wins including the last 2 in a row.
Gemologist and Dullahan share the next line of betting and both have great credentials to take the race. Gemologist has not run since his unplaced Kentucky Derby run, before that he was undefeated, including a Grade 1 victory in his 5th start. The Dale Romans trained Dullahan is already stakes placed on 3 surfaces and Romans was seconding this race last year with Shackleford so he knows which sort of horse to bring here.
The field is rounded out with Nonios, Handsome Mike and Stealcase. I think that Nonios a nice lightly raced horse who has a good future but will find this a little to hard. Stealcase is an interesting runner, facing Grade 1 company or the first time, he does a good formline with his 3rd by a neck to Paynter in the Kentucky Derby trial. Handsome Mike is the outsider of the field and I don’t think he’s capable of winning against this company, but his owners have had a pretty great year with “I’ll Have Another” (The horse who almost won this years Triple Crown) so maybe the luck might rub off!
I’m not going to pull any surprises here, I’m a big fan of Bob Baffert and I’ll think he will have Paynter ready to win, Gemologist is going to be my query runner as the Derby fail looked like he was a tired horse. If he’s come back well, and his track works been good then he’ll make a bid at some stage.
My choices will be 1.Paynter 2. Gemologist 3. Dullahan