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Haskell Stakes 2024: Who could run in $1 million Monmouth Park race?

Haskell Stakes 2024: Who could run in $1 million Monmouth Park race?

With the Triple Crown races now in the rearview mirror, and Haskell Prep Day a rousing success on June 15, producing the largest single-day handle for a non-Haskell Day or Breeders' Cup card, it's time to sharpen the focus on who could run in the $1 million NYRA Bets Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 20.

While it's uncertain how many contenders will ultimately get loaded into the starting gate shortly after they play Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run, what's clear is that there's a strong contingent of contenders lining up to potentially run in the Grade 1 Jersey Shore fixture, after Geaux Rocket Ride won it a year ago.

It will be the 57th running of the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds. Here's a look at some of the contenders for the 2024 Haskell Stakes:

Muth and jockey Juan Hernandez win the Arkansas Derby on March 30 at Oaklawn Park.

MUTH

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Juan Hernandez

Owner: Zedan Racing

A possible favorite in the Kentucky Derby were it not for Baffert’s ban by Churchill Downs, Muth was the morning line favorite in the Preakness only to get scratched three days before the race due to a fever. The royally bred colt by 2018 Haskell winner Good Magic cost $2 million as a 2-year-old, and has recouped more than $1.5 million on the track so far, including wins in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and Grade 2 San Vicente in last two starts, after running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Baffert will look for his record 10th Haskell win, and the first since Authentic in 2020.

Jun 8, 2024; Saratoga Springs, NY, USA; Dornoch with Luis Saez up (6) wins the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

DORNOCH

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Jockey: Luis Saez

Owners: West Paces Racing LLC & others.

The Belmont Stakes winner is being pointed to either the Haskell or Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 27, as a likely stepping-stone to the Travers stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24. Sitting just off Preakness winner Seize The Grey’s pace in the Belmont, Dornoch rallied for a half-length win at 1 ¼-miles at Saratoga, after finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby. The colt is by Good Magic, the 2018 Haskell winner, out of a mare by Big Brown, the 2008 champ.

FIERCENESS

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owner: Repole Stable

Has not run since finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby as the favorite, with McPeek opting to bypass the final two legs of the Triple Crown with an eye on the Haskell. Two starts back the homebred colt rolled to a 13 ½ length victory in the Florida Derby, getting a 110 Beyer Speed Figure that’s best among 3-year-olds this year, and won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by 6 ¼ lengths.

PARENTING

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Juan Hernandez

Owner: Grandharvi LLC.

The colt by Triple Crown winner Justify cost $750,000 as a 2-year-old, and has shown incredible promise in two West Coast starts, winning the $100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita on June 9 by 7 ½ lengths. The frontrunner has the speed Baffert likes in his Haskell horses, and going wire-to-wire over the traditionally speed-favoring oval would likely be the goal.

MINDFRAME

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Owners: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stables

Has two wins in three career starts, but showed class in finishing second in the Belmont Stakes behind Dornoch after stalking the leaders throughout. The Constitution colt, a $600,000 purchase as a yearling, picked up a 103 Beyer Speed Figure at Gulfstream the first time he hit the track in March, and got a 101 Beyer in the Belmont.

CATCHING FREEDOM

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Luis Saez

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables

Cox mentioned the Haskell when Catching Freedom was preparing for the Preakness, where the colt finished third, after running fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Cox has won the Haskell twice in recent years with Mandaloun and Cyberknife, and sent Salute the Stars to run against a tough field last year. Catching Freedom has been competitive in every race including a win in the Louisianan Derby.

STRONGHOLD

Trainer: Philip D’Amato

Jockey: Antonio Fresu

Owner: Eric and Sharon Waller

Emerged as the top West Coast representative at the Kentucky Derby, running a respectable seventh after winning the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby to open the year. Came from just off the pace in both those races, and was in good position in the Kentucky Derby but was unable to finish the job at 35-1.

Tuscan Sky (1), with Javier Castellano riding, won the $150,000 NYRA Best Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ on June 15, 2024. Photo By Melissa Torres/EQUI-PHOTO

TUSCAN SKY

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Owner: Spendthrift Farm

Earned a spot in the starting gate with a dominating effort in the $150,000 NYRA Bets Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 15, drawing off to a 6 ¾ length victory, credited with a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure. It was a front-running bounce-back performance for the Vino Rosso colt after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial on March 8.  The last Pegasus winner to come back and take the Haskell was Mandaloun in 2021.

DOMESTIC PRODUCT

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Owner: Klaravich Stables

Earned free entry into the Haskell by finishing second behind Tuscan Sky in the $150,000 NYRA Bets Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 15, finishing 6 ¾ lengths behind Tuscan Sky but 4 ¼ ahead of graded stakes winner Hades, who beat Domestic Product by two lengths in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in Feb. 3. A victory in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby remains the career highlight.

HADES

Trainer: Joe Orseno

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Owners: DJ Stable LLC & Robert Cotran

Stabled at Monmouth Park, Hades comes off a third-place finish in the $150,000 NYRA Bets Pegasus Stakes on June 15 at Monmouth. That was two months after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Lexington Stakes, after finishing fifth at the Florida Derby. Numbers wise, the Pegasus was the best race since winning the Grade 3 Holy Bull over Domestic Product and Fierceness on Feb. 3.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Haskell Stakes 2024: Who could run in $1 million Monmouth Park race?

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