Monmouth Park, Race 13, 6:18 pm ET
The G1 Haskell Invitational Stakes, 3-year-olds, 1 and 1/8 Miles, Dirt
Like so many editions of the Haskell, this one is fascinating because of its potential to give us answers to questions that were never answered satisfactorily during the Triple Crown chase. For example: Did Vyjack disappoint in the Derby and Belmont because he was compromised by biases and race shapes, or was he simply overmatched? Is Golden Soul the horse we saw in the Derby, or is he the horse his backers wish they had never seen in the Belmont? And best of all: What is one to make of Verrazano, who promised so much in the winter and spring, only to disappoint so many on the first Saturday in May?
We have no such questions about Oxbow. Oxbow is Oxbow, a horse who followed up on his Preakness upset by running a gallant race in the Belmont and now cuts back to nine furlongs after receiving a short rest every second of which he richly deserved.
According to the TimeformUS Pace Projector, Verrazano projects to get a clear early lead in this race. Moreover, the race is projected to be run in a manner that is conducive to the chances of frontrunners. For a horse sporting three speed figures of 114 (numbers his competition has not matched), that is a hearty combination. Combine this with Todd Pletcher’s TimeformUS trainer ratings in the relevant categories and there is quite a bit to like here. Unfortunately, his likely odds are not quite so likeable, but Verrazano is our selection.