Monmouth Park in New Jersey will host their premier race of the summer, the G1 Haskell Invitational. Run at 1-1/8 miles around 2 turns on the dirt, the Haskell will feature seven 3yr olds competing for a $1,000,000 purse. The race was created in 1968 and is currently a Breeder’s Cup win-and-you’re-in event for the $6m Breeder’s Cup Classic.
The class of the race is 6/5 morning line favorite and 2yr old Eclipse Award winner Good Magic. Trained by Chad Brown, this colt chased the recently retired Justify around the track in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, accumulating a $2.4m bankroll in the process.
There looks to be plenty of pace in the Haskell. Good Magic is capable of being up front, along with longshots Navy Commander, Roaming Union, and Golden Brown. The biggest question will be how close to the front Good Magic chooses to be. Trainer Chad Brown notes that Good Magic was too close to Justify in the Preakness and he would prefer his horse to be off of the inside as well.
With the classic stalking running style and enough cheap speed in front of him, Good Magic has the ability to make his own trip. Good magic finished a length behind Justify in the Preakness and 2-1/2 back in the Derby. While the Brisnet speed figures in those races were not as historic as one might think, they show his ability to get the distance even while being tested near the front end.
But let’s look more closely at those speed figures. Good Magic has only broken the 100 mark once in 7 career starts, and that was in the BC Juvenile in November 2017. There are two contenders in the Haskell who have cracked 100 multiple times. Lone Sailor has done it twice, including the Ohio Derby last month. And Core Beliefs, winner of the Ohio Derby, has also cracked 100 twice.
However, I will not be backing either of these horses. Core Beliefs has put together two perfect 3-race form cycles in 6 lifetime starts, so I expect him to regress off of his winning Ohio Derby effort. Lone Sailor, with only a single maiden win to his credit, has the look of a 1-run horse who needs a perfect pace setup.
The horse I landed on this week is the 3-1 morning line Bravazo. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Luis Saez, Bravazo has a stalking style and enough speed to stay in the mix early. He was close to a quick early pace and faded to 6th in the Belmont Stakes yet still posted the highest Brisnet speed figure of his career (a 101). He has shown he can win off of a layoff, and was a mere ½ length behind Justify in the Preakness.