Here are photos from Haskell Press Conference Day.
5-2 Morning line favorite and Preakness winner, Shackleford, in his Monmouth stall late this morning after eating his lunch. Trainer Dale Romans said, "We’ll just let him run, and if he goes to the lead fine, and if somebody wants to gun, we’ll just sit right off of them."
That's my post position draw sheet filled out with Brad Thomas' morning line odds. Bob Baffert's Coil is the second choice at 3-1. Baffert is 4 for 4 with his Haskell entrants since winning with Point Given in 2001. He gave Coil the following evaluation, "He's trained really well, I think he's going to run a big race, and we're going to find out how good he is. Does he want to go a mile and an eighth or is it too far for him?"
I got to eat lunch with Ray Kerrison, the veteran racing reporter for the NY Post, and his wife. We talked about Monmouth and Saratoga and I asked him who is his favorite horse of all time? Kerrison said that it is 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew because he had a unique spirit and energy.
Who is going to get the $600,000 winner's share of the purse and the Haskell trophy? There is a lot of speed in the race and that should set up for a closer, but Shackleford turned away all challenges in the Preakness. Monmouth is a track he should like and he is well rested. However, it is hard to go against Baffert in the Haskell. Pants On Fire has home field advantage and could offer good betting value if near his 4-1 ML odds.
Best of all, I already got my Haskell Hat, actually I got two of them. Is there anything to the resemblance between the hat logo and the silks of last year's winner Lookin At Lucky and this year's Mike Pegram owned Coil? Hmmm.
All in all it was a great day at the track for AndyScoggin.