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5 Key Takeaways from Haskell Stakes Weekend

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Tom Pedulla presents 5 key takeaways from the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park, the $500,000 ,Grade 1 Teaching Membership American Oaks on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, and different main developments this weekend.

RIGHT TIME: Corridor of Fame coach Richard Mandella ventured from his West Coast base to win the Haskell with Dixie Union in 2000. He then waited 23 years earlier than returning to the centerpiece of Monmouth Park’s summer season meet with Geaux Rocket Trip. “I used to be ready for the suitable horse,” Mandella defined. “We predict that is the suitable horse for the suitable race on the proper time.” And, sure, he was proper. Geaux Rocket Trip, cooly ridden by Mike Smith, secured an automated, fees-paid berth within the Nov. 4 Longines Breeders’ Cup Traditional at Santa Anita Park when he repelled Kentucky Derby offered by Woodford Reserve winner Mage by 1 ¾ lengths within the Haskell in solely his fourth profession begin.

SUPER COMEBACK: Nest, a star 3-year-old filly, could also be much more particular at 4. The three-time Grade 1 winner and Belmont Stakes runner-up was most spectacular in coming back from an eight-month layoff and dispatching completed 5-year-old mare Clairiere by 2 ¼ lengths within the $200,000 Shuvee Stakes on Sunday at Saratoga. “I’m tremendous happy with the filly,” coach Todd Pletcher mentioned. “She’s all class and it’s good to see her come again and get again on monitor. We bought a little bit of a delayed begin, however she confirmed she’s nonetheless in top-class type.” Nest is taken into account possible for the Aug. 25 Private Ensign Stakes at Saratoga, the place she is 3-for-3.

SAGE ADVICE: Coach Brad Cox is cautious to not give too many directions to completed rider Flavien Prat. He did share one essential thought, although, earlier than giving the veteran a leg up on Moist Paint for the Teaching Membership American Oaks. “Trip her like a turf horse,” the coach mentioned. In different phrases, Prat wanted to be exceedingly affected person with the late-running 3-year-old filly. If allowed to do issues her manner, her historical past says she is going to come charging. “That is her factor with reference to simply form of flopping out of the gate and discovering her manner and ending up,” mentioned Cox. Prat’s willingness to abide by Moist Paint’s needs contributed to her first Grade 1 triumph within the Teaching Membership American Oaks.

BLINKERS ON: Corridor of Fame coach Todd Pletcher will make a key change by including blinkers when Forte competes within the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes subsequent Saturday at Saratoga. The Belmont Stakes Offered by NYRA Bets runner-up labored within the new tools this previous Saturday, protecting 4 furlongs in :50 as he drilled in firm with stablemate Emmanuel. Pletcher had contemplated the change for a while. “Within the Florida Derby, he misplaced focus a bit of bit across the far flip and luckily sufficient he was in a position to rally and rise up in time. He type of did the identical factor within the Belmont,” the coach famous. “We thought in his breeze final week he was form of extra centered on what the horse subsequent to him is doing somewhat than what he must be doing.”

CHANGING SCENE: The distinguished Aug. 26 Travers Stakes added one seemingly starter and nearly certainly misplaced one other primarily based on the outcomes of Friday’s Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Scotland, making his two-turn and stakes debut for Corridor of Fame coach Invoice Mott, was extraordinarily spectacular in controlling the $135,000 Curlin from begin to end. “Clearly the Travers is a unique race and completely different competitors,” Mott mentioned. “I’m certain we’ll have that debate with the racing managers and the house owners, however I’m certain the Travers could be up on the checklist.” Blazing Sevens, who narrowly missed catching Nationwide Treasure within the Preakness, wound up a disappointing third. “He definitely didn’t run effectively sufficient to go on to the massive race,” mentioned Chad Brown, his coach.

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