UPDATE #1: A reminder that today's Haskell Stakes will be broadcast by ABC beginning at 5pm EDT.
UPDATE #2: Uptowncharlybrown has scratched from the Haskell due to a fever.
Let's take a look at the contenders for the Haskell:
-I'm a bit surprised at the odds line for the Haskell as I kind of figured the Derby winner would have been pegged as the morning line favorite ahead of Lookin At Lucky. In the end, it's not much of a difference as 5/2 and 3/1 are close enough to deem the two colts as co-favorites.
-Speaking of Lookin At Lucky...hello rail draw once again. Sure, a rail draw in an eight horse field isn't anything like his rail draw in the 20-horse Derby, but I'm sure he'd like to be a bit further out in order to avoid any complications early on in the races. After all, this is a colt that has tended to get into a bit of trouble in his previous races.
-I think Ice Box is a very nice colt but I wonder if he's going to get the pace to run at in this spot. I think the pace will be honest but will it be fast enough to melt down the leaders.
-Trappe Shot has looked like a monster in his last four races, all of which were wins. This is the first attempt against graded stakes competition and he's chosen to show up in a field that is as deep as you can get with this year's crop of three year olds. Of course, it's up for debate as to how good this crop actually is. The wide post position should be an advantage as jockey Alan Garcia should be able to pick out exactly which horse he wants to track heading into the first turn and the backstretch.
You can't sleep on this colt as he's done nothing but impress during 2010.
-Our Dark Knight appears to be a colt that could provide a pace presence, if nothing else.
-Uptowncharlybrown just doesn't seem like a Grade 1 colt at this time and place. Perhaps he'll get there one day but right now I think this field is a bit over his talent level. It should be noted that this colt has not won a race since a listed stake at Tampa back in mid-January.
-Super Saver's Preakness effort was about as dull as you can get for a Derby winner, which begs the question: was he just a horse-for-course in the Derby? I think he's probably better than what he showed at Pimlico, but at the same time, it's tough to deny that he seems to run his best at Churchill Downs. If the track turns up wet today, then he becomes the clear #1 choice, in my opinion. On a fast track, he's still a top contender but a decision will have to be made as to how good he'll be in this spot.
-I suppose that First Dude will simply try and take this field the entire way around the Monmouth Park track, as that has been his most effective running style as of late. There's enough early speed in this race to cause me to have serious doubts about whether he'll be able to wire this field.
-Afleet Again‘s last four races have been steady, if unspectacular; he's won the Grade 3 Withers, placed in the Grade 3 Pegasus, and showed in the listed Spend A Buck. He's never lit the Monmouth main track on fire (3-0-1-1) and he appears to me to be just a step behind many of his rivals in this race. Afleet Again seems an unlikely winner.
The field isn't huge but it's really tough to separate many of these colts. Currently I'm a split between Super Saver and Trappe Shot. I think Super Saver is due for a nice rebound from that clunker in the Preakness but I'm very impressed with the current form of Trappe Shot, especially since I'm still not sold on the quality and depth of this year's three year old crop.
I'm going to play Trappe Shot for the win and then play a straight-up Tappe Shot / Super Saver exacta box and hope to hit it multiple times.