This year’s Kentucky Oaks winner, Untapable, is the morning line favorite for this weekend’s Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
With 4 wins to her credit this year, Untapable is prepared to take on the boys this Sunday in the 1-1/16 mile race with odds of 2-1. New Jersey native Rosie Napravnik will be at the controls as Untapable tries to become the third filly to win the Haskell since Rachel Alexandra in 2009. If Napravnik wins, she will become the first female jockey to win the Haskell. Will Napravnik and Untapable be unstoppable? With her last 4 races clocking some of the fastest speed fractions in the field; it looks like they are pointed toward a “horse of the year” nomination. Trainer Steve Asmussen knows how to get to the winners circle as he also trained filly Rachel Alexandra. Asmussen feels blessed to be associated with horses of such superb quality.
Trainer Bob Baffert sends Bayern to the race and has six Haskell wins to his credit. His last effort was with Paynter in 2012 and jockey Bejarano. Bayern will break from the 2nd post with odds of 5-2. The colt had a good 5 furlong workout in: 59 on July 22nd at Del Mar. If he breaks well look for him to be with the pace.
Albano, trained by Larry Jones, will break from post 3 with jockey Kevin Clark. With odds of 6-1 they are the third choice in the field. They have experience on this track having won the Pegasus Stakes on June 15th his last time out. Jones is confident in his horse and has been looking toward this race after having a bad run in the Louisiana Derby in March. That poor finish took him out of contention for the Kentucky Derby.
Medal Count, trained by Dale Romans will come from outside post position 9. He took third in the Belmont his last trip and had a disappointing 8th place finish in the Kentucky Derby after he was cut off in the stretch. He’s been training at Churchill Downs with his last workout on July 19th going 5 furlongs in 1:00. Dale Romans has come close to winning this race in 2011 with Shackleford, and again in 2010 with First Dude.
Just Call Kenny comes from the 5th post with experienced jockey Joe Bravo leading the way with odds of 10-1. He's trained by Pat McBurney and is a local favorite for this race. He’s going to have to get a better break than he did on July 5th to be able to stalk the pace and close. I believe this fan favored colt can make something happen if he finds his footing.
Wildcat Red also has odds of 10-1 and will come from post 8. He’s trained by Jose Garoffalo and will be ridden by jockey Luis Saez. His last race brought him a win in the Quality Road Stakes by 9-1/4 lengths. Look for him to be setting the pace as he will have plenty of speed around him.
Social Inclusion trained by Manuel Azpurua has never finished out of the money but finished third in his last three races. Jockey Edgar Prado will break from post 6 with odds of 8/1.
From post 4 is Irish You Well. He is trained by Wayne Catalano and will have jockey Jose Lezcano riding. He is the winner of the Long Brank Stakes and has odds of 12-1. Encryption is the long shot in the field from post 1 with odds of 20-1. He is trained by Kelly Breen and has Paco Lopez driving. He took 3rd in the Long Branch his last time out.
This year’s Haskell Invitational brings one of the most competitive fields to Monmouth Park this weekend. It’s going to be a challenge for all entered since the race is pack with speed. However, for the daughter of Tapit, Untapable looks to be the horse to beat this New Jersey showdown.