Barn Notes

Stealcase Headed To Sunday's $1 Million Haskell

Posted Monday, Jul 23, 2012

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Oceanport, N.J.- Stealcase has worked himself into the 45th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational this Sunday at Monmouth Park. 

            “He breezed so well at Saratoga yesterday (July 22) that afterward we decided we’ll be there,” said trainer Mark Casse on Monday morning.  

            Stealcase, a son of dual Grade 1 winner Lawyer Ron and the Cat Thief mare Steal the Show, breezed five furlongs over Saratoga’s main track in 1:01.92. Casse will name Shaun Bridgmohan as the rider when entries are taken on Thursday. 

            While the field is still taking shape, Kentucky Derby third place finisher Dullahan, Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter, Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes winner Le Bernardin, Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes winner Nonios and California invader Handsome Mike will also contest the mile and an eighth event on the main track. Possible runners include Wood Memorial Stakes winner Gemologist, 2011 Juvenile champion and Iowa Derby victor Hansen, Long Branch winner My Adonis, and several other top three-year-olds. 

            Stealcase and Paynter are no strangers. They met on April 28 in the Grade 3 Derby Trial on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs and Stealcase was third, just a neck behind runner-up Paynter. 

            “He should have beaten Paynter that day,” said Casse while discussing why owner John C. Oxley and he decided Stealcase deserves his chance to earn a Grade 1 victory. “He lugged in (in the stretch) and right after the wire, was ahead of Paynter. Next out, he won an allowance race at Churchill by four lengths. Last out (In the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill) he got into all kinds of trouble and still finished second. With the tough trip he had, I don’t even know how he managed to get second.” 

            On Monday morning Nonios went through his final serious Haskell preparation at Del Mar under jockey Corey Nakatani. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee went six furlongs handily in 1:15 on the all weather surface. 

            Handsome Mike, who is trained by Doug O’Neill and owned by J. Paul Reddam, will be ridden in the Haskell by Mario Gutierrez. The Scat Daddy colt is scheduled to leave Southern California on Tuesday on a flight to New York and will be vanned to Monmouth. 

            On Thursday, Zayat Stables Paynter, who is trained by Bob Baffert, and G.B. Smith, Jr.’s Nonios will share a plane ride from Southern California and arrive on the grounds. 

            The Haskell is slated as the 13th race on a 14-race program with an estimated post of 6:15 p.m.  The Haskell Day card will get underway at noon, with gates opening at 11:30 a.m.  A limited number of reserved seats are still available and can be purchased by calling 732-571-5563, visiting the ticket booth sales office on the second floor of the Grandstand on any live race day or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com. 

  

  


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