first_imgOCEANPORT — With just three days left before Monmouth’s biggest program of the year, racing secretary Mike Dempsey has 10 horses on his possibles list for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on Sunday. In order of weights, Dempsey lists Lion Heart (121), Rock Hard Ten (120), Courageous Act (117), Royal Assault (117), My Snookie’s Boy (116) and Wimplestiltskin (116). Listed as possible for the $1 million event are Eddington, Tap Day, Courageous Act, Pollard’s Vision and Swingforthefences. The Haskell lost a pair of expected starters in the last two weeks. First, Boomzeeboom, trained by Vladimir Cerin, broke down during training hours at Del Mar and was euthanized. Wood Memorial (G1) winner Tapit, who was on target to make the Haskell Invitational Sunday, will not start in the Grade 1 race either. “He worked super this morning, but he needs minor throat surgery,” said Michael Dickinson, who conditions the colt by Pulpit for Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC. “He’ll walk for a week after the surgery, so the Haskell is out.” A winner of three of five lifetime starts, Tapit has earned $549,800 for his connections. With Saturday’s defection of Tapit, trainer Nick Zito may be enticed to start another of his charges, Pie’s Prospect or Sir Shackleton in the million-dollar Haskell. Lion Heart, trained by Patrick Biancone at Saratoga, has not breezed since he won the Long Branch Breeders’ Cup Stakes here July 17. Monmouth’s leading jockey, Joe Bravo, was aboard for the Long Branch. Rock Hard Ten drilled five furlongs on July 25 in 1:02 1/5 at Del Mar for trainer Jason Orman. The Kris S. colt, winner of the Grade 1 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park last out, was scheduled to breeze again Sunday at the Southern California track. Courageous Act, second in the July 2 Iowa Derby for trainer Bob Baffert, has been training at Churchill Downs. In his most recent drill, the son of Exploit breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 July 24. Royal Assault, who’s with the Nick Zito string at Saratoga, and My Snookie’s Boy, trained by Allen Iwinski, have not breezed since running third and second, respectively, in the Long Branch. Wimplestiltskin had a sharp five-furlong breeze last week at Del Mar, getting the distance in :59 flat. The Petionville colt, third behind Boomzeeboom in the June 19 Affirmed Stakes, is trained by Marcelo Polanco. Haskell Day is Monmouth’s biggest program of the year. The 14-race card will include seven stakes races, topped by the Haskell. The other graded events scheduled for Aug. 8 are the Matchmaker Stakes and Oceanport Handicap, both Grade 3. Four overnight stakes will also be run — the Regret, Ocean Place Resort, Lady’s Secret and Teddy Drone. All carry purses of $100,000. My Snookie’s Boy the home horse in Haskell My Snookie’s Boy, who ran himself into the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) with a monster effort in the Long Branch Breeders’ Cup Stakes, has the distinction of being the only Haskell horse stabled on the grounds at Monmouth. The Crafty Friend colt, owned by Preferred Pals Stable, is part of trainer Allen Iwinski’s local division, and he’s had two starts over the track, and gallops over it every day. But he won’t have a breeze before the mile and an eighth Haskell Aug. 8. “He’s doing great,” Iwinski said. “I’m just going to gallop him up to the Haskell. He doesn’t need to breeze before the race because he’s fit enough right now. “He had a pretty tough race last time, so galloping him up to the race should be enough.” My Snookie’s Boy won an allowance race here by seven and a half lengths on June 27 in his first Monmouth start. In the Long Branch on July 17, he gave favored Lion Heart all he wanted before falling just a head short at the wire. Stewart Elliott, who was aboard in the Long Branch, has the mount for the Haskell. Lion Heart will be the starting highweight in the Haskell at 121 pounds. The son of Tale of the Cat, stabled at Saratoga with Patrick Biancone’s string, got his final tune-up for the race on Friday morning, working five furlongs in :58 2/5, the fastest work of the morning. Biancone said the Kentucky Derby runner-up will gallop up to the race before shipping to Monmouth on Haskell Day. Royal Assault, who was third in the Long Branch, is also at the Spa. The Nick Zito-trained colt also will be vanned down day of the race. Two Haskell prospects — Rock Hard Ten and Wimplestilskin — are based in California and are scheduled to arrive the middle of the week. “He’ll ship out on Wednesday for the flight there,” said Rock Hard Ten’s trainer Jason Orman, who conditions the colt for Mercedes Stables LLC and Madeline Paulson. “I’m running a horse here (Del Mar) on Wednesday so I’ve got a late night flight out of here and should be there Thursday morning.” The son of Kris S. from the Mr. Prospector mare Tersa had his final work for the race on Saturday morning at Del Mar. “He worked great, :58 and two,” said Orman. “Everything is going great with him. He’s ready to go.” Rock Hard Ten debuted on Feb. 7 of this year, breaking his maiden by just over a length at Santa Anita. He followed that up with an allowance score by nearly two lengths on March 3 over the same course. On April 3, he finished second in the Santa Anita Derby, beaten a head by Castledale, only to be disqualified and placed third for interference in the stretch. That disqualification cost the colt enough earnings to earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby; however he did start in the Preakness, finishing second to Smarty Jones, and the Belmont Stakes, fifth, beaten by 12 lengths. His last start was an impressive score in the Swaps Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood, drawing off to nearly a four length score under Corey Nakatani, who has the return call in the Grade 1 Haskell. This year’s 37th renewal of the Haskell will mark the jockeys fourth mount in the race. He finished fifth in 2001 with Jamaican Rum, second in 2000 with Captain Steve and sixth in 1992 aboard Binalong. Rock Hard Ten will carry second highweight of 120 pounds. Wimplestiltskin, third in Hollywood’s Affirmed Stakes last out, is training at Del Mar with Marcelo Polanco’s stable.last_img

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