Owner John C. Oxley’s yellow and
blue silks will be represented in the 45th running of the Grade 1 $1
million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, July 29. What remains a question mark
is which of his two top 3-year-olds will carry the colors.
Both Prospective, a multiple graded
stakes winner who took both the Grade 3 Ohio Derby and Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby,
and Stealcase are under consideration.
“We still haven’t decided,” said
trainer Mark Casse when reached at Saratoga Race Course as he was leading a
horse over for the first race on Saturday. “Mr. Oxley is here and we will talk
it over later this afternoon to decide which one will run.”
Prospective, by Malibu Moon out of
the Awesome Again mare Spirited Away, was bred in Kentucky
by Spendthrift Farm and was purchased out of the Fasig-Tipton 2010 Saratoga yearling sale for
$250,000. The dark bay colt has won six of 11 starts and is coming off
consecutive wins in the Victoria Park Stakes at Woodbine and the Ohio Derby.
Oxley signed the ticket on
Stealcase, by Lawyer Ron out of the Cat Thief mare Steal the Show, for $320,000
when he came through the ring as a 2-year-old at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March of 2011.
Last out, Stealcase was second in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill
Downs on June 16 despite a troubled trip.
On Friday, Prospective worked at
Woodbine and breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80
on the all weather track. Stealcase’s last work was at Saratoga one week ago when he breezed the
same distance in 1:01.76 on the dirt.
In other Haskell news, Dullahan,
who is a definite starter, blazed over the Churchill Downs strip on Saturday with
a bullet work of 59.80 for five furlongs.
Trainer Bob Baffert said on
Saturday morning that Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter will arrive on the
grounds “a few days” before the race. Baffert, who has won the Haskell a record
five times including the 2010 and 2011 editions, remains undecided if
Blueskiesnrainbows will join Paynter on the plane and in the starting gate.