Oceanport, N.J. – Paynter, the runner-up in the Belmont Stakes
in his last race, has been installed the 3-2 morning line favorite for the
Grade 1 $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday at Monmouth Park.
Haskell-winning trainer Bob Baffert is sending the son of Awesome Again from
his Southern California base and Paynter will
break from post position three in the field of six 3-year-olds entered on
went pretty well,” said Baffert, who won back-to-back runnings of the Haskell
in 2011 with Coil and 2010 with Lookin At Lucky. “I’m happy to have a horse who
is good enough to run, and as the favorite.”
tactics during the race, Paynter figures to be setting the fractions. “It depends on the break where
he runs, but he’s the kind of horse who needs to be up close,” Baffert added.
rail out, the field with odds and riders: Nonios, 7-2, Corey Nakatani;
Dullahan, 3-1, Kent Desormeaux; Paynter, 3-2, Rafael Bejarano; Gemologist,
3-1; Handsome Mike, 7-2, Mario
Gutierrez; and Stealcase, 8-1, Shaun Bridgmohan.
Farm’s Gemologist has not raced since the colt bruised his foot in the Kentucky
Derby and finished 16th but trainer Todd Pletcher said he’s at the
top of his game now and primed for the Haskell.
is perfect,” said Pletcher, who won consecutive runnings of the race in 2006
with Bluegrass Cat and in 2007 with Any Given Saturday. “I’d rather be sitting right
next to Paynter. Our horse is an extremely good gate horse and this will allow
him to get into the flow of the race quickly and force Paynter to make a
Dale Romans just missed winning his first Haskell last year when Shackelford
finished only a neck behind Coil. He was also pleased with where Dullahan, the
third place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, drew.
“In a small
field, post position isn’t that important, especially with my horse,” said
Romans. “He’ll drop back from the break and come with one run. My guys say he’s
doing well (at Monmouth). I like a mile and an eighth for him. He’ll get a
little more pace up front and come with that one quick kick.”
Hollendorfer, who last year joined Baffert in the National Museum of Racing and
Hall of Fame, won the Haskell in 1989 with King Glorious. Now he is back with
Nonios, winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes at Betfair Hollywood
Park two starts back. The
son of Pleasantly Perfect will break from the rail.
“I might as
well like the post because there isn’t much I can do about it,” said
Hollendorfer, who will travel from his base in Northern
California to saddle the colt. “In a short field, it shouldn’t be
too hard for the riders to get to where they need to be.”
Mike will carry the colors of J. Paul Reddam and with Mario Gutierrez coming to
ride at Monmouth for the first time, the connections are the same for Kentucky Derby and Preakness
Stakes winner I’ll have Another.
fun so far this year and we’re still flying high. I love that post,” trainer
Doug O’Neill said of drawing # 5. “He’s a really talented colt who has been an
underachiever looking at his form.”
who is looking for his first Haskell victory, was pleased that John C. Oxley’s
Stealcase will be the last to load.
to hear he drew the outside post because he tends to break a touch slow, so the
outside won’t matter,” said Casse.
The Haskell is slated as the 13th
race on a 14-race program with an estimated post of 6:17 p.m. The Haskell Day card will get underway at noon,
with gates opening at 10 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.
The Haskell Field:
PP Horse Jockey Odds
Nonios Corey Nakatani 7-2
Dullahan Kent Desormeaux 3-1
Paynter Rafael Bejarano 3-2
Gemologist Javier Castellano 3-1
Handsome Mike Mario Gutierrez 15-1
Stealcase Shaun Bridgmohan 8-1