July 23 TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) may end with six starters, but it will be of good quality when four class 1 winners appear set to take the top slot on May 20. 7 for a $1 million test for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.
Coach Saffie Joseph Jr. announced to Monmouth officials that he will be transporting the winner of the Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Ranch at Xalapa (G1) White Abarrio from Florida to New Jersey with a 1 1 1/8 mile bet, increasing the number of top tier winners in the field that can happen.
Owned by C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable, Race Day’s son also won Holy Bull Stakes (G3) earlier this year. Since the Florida Curlin Derby, he finished 16th in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) and then finished second behind Port of Tawny at the Ohio Derby on June 25 (G3).
The gray pony drilled five feathers in 1:01.62 July 18 at Gulfstream Park and is expected to board a truck to Monmouth on July 19 and arrive the next day.
Joseph talks about the foal bred by Spendthrift Farm. “I spoke to the owner and they wanted to give it a try, so we’ll give it a try.”
The School for Haskell also takes into account the inclusion of high school winners Jack Christopher , Taiba and Cyberknife as Howl time and Benevego. All five of them enjoy running on or near the lead, which could make for a great setup for White Abarrio, who rose from fifth in the Florida Curlin Derby.
We who WinStar Farm-owned Bobby Flay, CMNWLTH and Siena Farm, have also been considered a possibility for Haskell, but WinStar CEO, president and racing director Elliott Walden said July 18 that con son of Structure will be attending the $500,000 West Virginia (G3) Derby on August 6 for 3-year-olds at Mountaineer Casino Resort & Racetrack.
“We feel the West Virginia Derby is the best venue for him, and we’ll be aiming for the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) after that,” Walden said.
We the People, coached by Rodolphe Brisset, was the winner against 10 1/4 the length of Peter Pan Stakes (G3) on a good, closed track at Belmont Park, but then set the pace and tire of finishing fourth in the Belmont Bets presented by NYRA Bets (G1) at a mile and a half. The possibility of a fast-paced, contested Haskell also played a role in the selection of the West Virginia Derby.
“The biggest concern for Haskell is how he can get into it at all speed,” says Walden. “He’s a pony that hasn’t raced a lot and we wanted to help him progress and build his résumé.”