Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie Expected Frontrunners At 2021 Haskell Stakes

Written By Dave Bontempo on July 9, 2021 - Last Updated on July 11, 2021
haskell stakes field

The $1 million Haskell Stakes, to the delight of horse-racing bettors, is shaping up to be a Kentucky Derby rematch. Less than a week out, the Haskell Stakes field is shaping up nicely.

Top graduates from the Run for the Roses, including Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie, are expected to compete in this 1 1–8-mile July 17 showcase at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.  Post time is approximately 5:45 p.m.

A talent-heavy field

Mandaloun, second in the run for the Roses, arrived on the grounds July 6. He was scheduled to work out over the track one week before the event.

Hot Rod Charlie, a close Derby third to Mandaloun and subsequent runner-up to Essential Quality in the Belmont Stakes, was expected to fly in Saturday, July 10, Monmouth Park officials told TheLines.

Midnight Bourbon, sixth in the Derby, is considered likely to run. Monmouth Park officials are awaiting his arrival from Saratoga.

Rombauer, who captured the Preakness and was a distant third in the Belmont Stakes, was scheduled to have a final weekend workout to determine if he will run in the Haskell. He has been considered 50-50 for the last couple of weeks.

The Haskell Stakes field will be finalized with the draw July 14 and betting odds will be established.

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Baffert: Medina Spirit not entered

One notable absentee will be Medina Spirit.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who owns a record nine Haskell triumphs, will not enter the Kentucky Derby winner.  Baffert has indicated the race came up too quickly for Medina Spirit, who ran a spent third in the Preakness behind Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon.

Medina Spirit’s failed post-Kentucky Derby drug test may eventually invalidate his victory, giving it to Mandaloun. Baffert is involved in litigation with the state of New York, which has banned him from entering horses at its tracks. He was also suspended by Churchill Downs in Kentucky.

But Baffert remains welcome in New Jersey and is highly-regarded at Monmouth Park.

Dennis Drazin, the chairman of Monmouth Park, told TheLines that Baffert has been denied due process in those states.

Baffert is responsible for the largest attendance in Monmouth Park history, 60,983, for the 2015 Haskell won by American Pharoah. Baffert’s horse was making his first appearance since capturing racing’s first Triple Crown in 37 years.

Haskell pedigree

The Haskell, first run in 1968, routinely attracts the nation’s top 3-year-olds.

Besides the purse, the race awards the winner entry into the Breeders Cup Classic Nov. 6 at Del Mar in California.

Recent Haskell winners include 2020 champion Authentic, who later captured the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security, the 2019 Derby winner who had been disqualified for alleged interference. and American Pharoah, the Triple Crown champion from 2015.

Following recent industry tradition, Monmouth Park surrounds the major event with strong earlier races, trying to garner a day-long gambling audience.

The Haskell undercard includes the Grade I United Nations, the Grade III WinStar Matchmaker, the Grade III Monmouth Cup and Grade III Molly Pitcher.

First post is at noon on July 17.

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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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