On July 29th, Monmouth Park in New Jersey will host the Grade I Haskell Invitational Stakes. The race was expected to include five or six high-profile thoroughbreds that ran in Triple Crown races this past spring. Two of the favorites have now withdrawn, so the field, while still pretty good, isn’t going to have the shine that it promised just a couple of weeks ago.
Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags is being held out due to an injury and isn’t likely to race again until 2014. His injury was only apparent after inflammation was found after workouts, but wasn’t diagnosed as a tendon tear until an ultrasound revealed it. Another high profile three-year-old that won’t be taking part in the Haskell is Bodemeister. Bodemeister had a good spring, finishing second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, after winning the Arkansas Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert said a fever has been going around at the stables and that Bodemeister was affected, but it isn’t considered serious.
With Union Rags and Bodemeister out, two more high profile horses may very well see their way in to the field at Monmouth Park. Paynter, owned by Amad Zayat, was mentioned as a possibility by Zayat’s son Justin on his Twitter account. In an ESPN article, Hansen owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen, said that the two-year-old champion is being considered for the Haskell, even though he was previously thought to be headed to the West Virginia Derby before deciding on whether to run in the Travers Stakes in late August. Other notable horses expected to be in New Jersey on July 29th include Dullahan, My Adonis, and Gemologist.
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