When last we saw Preakness winner Oxbow, he and Gary Stevens were finishing second to Palace Malice in the Belmont Stakes, a race that capped a very strong three-race performance in the 2013 Triple Crown. And while Oxbow's sixth place finish in the Derby seems like the "poorest" race of the three, the extremely fast pace of that race combined with Oxbow's ability to hold on to a top six finish, is further proof of this colt's abilities.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas gave Oxbow a quick breather following the Belmont and opted to return the Preakness winner in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 28th. Post time for the Haskell is 6:18 p.m. Eastern Time.
Joining Oxbow in Sunday's Haskell are:
- Vyjack: Winner of the G3-Gotham and G2-Jerome before tough trips in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont.
- Pick of the Litter: A Kitten's Joy colt that finished 3rd in the Lexington.
- Golden Soul: Runner-up to Orb in the Derby.
- Power Broker: Fifth in the Santa Anita Derby before winning an allowance and an ungraded stakes race in his last two starts.
- Micromanage: Winner of the Long Branch at Monmouth on July 7th, and
- Wood Memorial and runaway G3-Pegasus winner Verrazano, the 9/5 morning line favorite.
Perhaps the most intriguing story of this year's Haskell is the potential speed duel between Power Broker, Oxbow and Verrazano; all three colts prefer to be up on the lead but any kind of insane pace situation could set things up nicely for late runners like Vyjack, Mircomanage and Golden Soul. With his outside post position, Verrazano and Johnny V. should have a slight tactical advantage over their rivals to the inside. And, along those same lines, I think it's going to be tough to get Power Broker to relax with both of his early speed rivals drawn to his outside.
Below are the entries, post positions and morning line odds for the 2013 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park:
|1||Vyjack||P. Lopez||R. Rodriguez||12/1|
|2||Pick of the Litter||J. Castanon||D. Romans||15/1|
|3||Golden Soul||R. Albarado||D. Stewart||8/1|
|4||Power Broker||R. Napravnik||B. Baffert||3/1|
|5||Oxbow||G. Stevens||D.W. Lukas||2/1|
|6||Micromanage||J. Bravo||T. Pletcher||6/1|
|7||Verrazano||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher||9/5|