The Haskell – Grade I [BC]
1 1/8 Mile Dirt Stake Purse $1,000.000 Open 3 Year Olds.
Well the windy twisty road that is the three year old division took yet another turn in this race as we saw all the TC form thrown out of the window again and yet another couple of three year olds join the hopper for the top three year old of the year. Only four lengths covered them at the end which is sadly pretty normal at HRP so we are left once again with a first and a second but no real losers. Here is how the big bunch of horses crossed the line.
1st Jolly Rook Angelos Stable Bejarano R
First of all i must apologize to Angelos Stable for not giving this horse a winning chance in my preview. This 15 year trainer with over 3000 winners and 16 grade one wins goes about their business quietly but their game pedigree is there for all to see and i must congratulate them on a super win.
This horse has only run seven times and was claimed when beaten in an SA maiden at the start of the year. His maiden win came in a sprint turf maiden on the same track at the end of March, not the start a Haskell winner would normally make. After that maiden win the trainer quickly switched back to dirt where he ran a super race in the Colmore Lexington when beaten by Steak And Potatoes a horse that hasn’t won again but did run a good race in the Preakness. His next race saw him dead heat in the grade three Marine with a horse called Hollywood World who had only won one from eight prior to that and was a well beaten third in the grade three Affirmed last time out.
So i guess you can see why i wasn’t overly impressed by the form especially when you see KYD winners and Preakness winners in opposition but the three things i didn’t really give account to were his strong work times, not the best but strong, his good draw that allowed him an easy midpack trip and that good old HRP anomaly where anything can win given a set of circumstances.
In the end he won by a fairly comfortable three quarters of a length and became his seven year old sires first ever stakes winner. At only 15.2 hh and a strong confo he looks to have a long career ahead of him so who knows he may just become the best three year old in the game and go on to win the BC Classic.
2nd Black And Red Australia Wide Stein J
Another without the sort of form you would expect to be close up in a grade one he was beaten in a couple of races before a nose win in the TX Derby where he beat a one race winner that was seventh in the ungraded Kellys Landing in his next race. Like the winner i didn’t give him any chance of beating a KYD winner on that form but i did mention that the trainer has pulled off such ‘miracles’ before and sure enough that was one of three things which led to this horse being second that had nothing to do with prior performance. Apart from the trainer there was the draw of two which like the winner allowed him an easy trip just behind the pace setters. The next thing was his work times which were very strong despite just ordinary form put those with the trainer and he went into the hopper and came out in second.
How good he is remains to be seen but i have a feeling there may be more to come.
3rd Chai Morning Aer Stables Bridgmohan S X
In third place we find the Preakness winner who stalked a fast pace and that proved his undoing today.
4th Orion Nebula John Henry Centeno D E
In fourth we see the horse that set a fast pace and did really well to last and hold on to the last paying place. Beaten a long way in both the BEL and the KYD his trainer let the race engine do its thing today and was rewarded by a much better run. I have a feeling when this horse gets a decent draw we may just see the next ‘shock’ winner in the three year old division.