Do you want to relive the Kentucky Derby?

Just watch the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park July 17, when the eyes of the horse-racing world focus upon the Oceanport facility.

Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie, who ran second and third in the famed Run for the Roses on May 1, have been announced as confirmed by recent published reports and listed as “expected to run” on the Monmouth Park Facebook page late this week.

Monmouth Park announced Thursday that Mandaloun, who arrived on the grounds Tuesday, would work out Saturday if weather permitted.

New Jersey online gamblers can access the Haskell via 4 NJBETS, powered by TVG. The approximate post time is 5:45 p.m.

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Potential runners at 2021 Haskell Stakes

Midnight Bourbon, sixth in the Kentucky Derby, also is likely to run in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell. Rombauer, the Preakness Stakes winner and distant third-place Belmont Stakes participant, is considered 50/50 to run.

Lesser-known Pickin’ Time, guided by top Monmouth trainer Kelly Breen, joins Basso and Antigravity as potential entries. All three are stabled at Monmouth Park, making them logical considerations

The official draw has been announced for July 14, when the field will be finalized and initial Haskell betting odds established.

The Haskell routinely attracts the nation’s top 3-year-olds for this $1 million event.

Besides the purse, the race awards the winner entry into the Breeders Cup Classic Nov. 6 at Del Mar in California.

Haskell Day schedule, undercard races

Haskell Day 2021 will have 14 races with the Haskell scheduled as Race 12.

Monmouth Park follows recent industry tradition. It surrounds the major event with strong earlier races, trying to garner a day-long gambling audience.

The Haskell undercard includes the Grade I United Nations, the Grade III WinStar Matchmaker, the Grade III Monmouth Cup and Grade III Molly Pitcher.

Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie Could Balance the Betting Board

One would consider them relatively even after their gripping Kentucky Derby stretch battle. Mandaloun finished just behind victorious Medina Spirit and just ahead of a hard-charging Hot Rod Charlie in third.

What happened since then?

Hot Rod Charlie finished second at the Belmont Stakes in June. He was compromised by a wicked early pace duel with Rock Your World but held second to victorious Essential Quality.

In the eyes of many bettors, he gains endorsement from that.

Mandaloun followed the Derby with a victory at Monmouth Park at the Pegasus in June. A race over the host track is considered a strong edge by handicappers.

Not only did Mandaloun prevail on the Monmouth oval, but he survived a bad start. He was last in the five-horse field before steadily moving up and taking control. Mandaloun gained the lead in the stretch and held off Weyburn at the wire.

Mandaloun was a prohibitive 1-5 betting favorite and nearly beaten by an average field. But the Monmouth victory was coupled with a recent workout of 59.6 seconds for five furlongs, according to his trainer Brad Cox. The race and the workout put him in a good position.

The Haskell contenders will try to be forwardly placed early in the race, but not involved in a speed duel.

Medina Spirit and the Bob Baffert Saga

Mandaloun may yet be declared the Derby winner because of Medina Spirit’s failed post-race drug test and there is a legal mess involving the horse’s trainer Bob Baffert. Kentucky and New York tracks have banned Baffert from operating there and he has filed litigation to block the bans. Stay tuned.

But in New Jersey, where he’s nearly a rock star, Baffert has been welcomed with open arms at Monmouth Park.

Baffert trained the last two Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. He brought American Pharoah here in 2015, after the horse had just secured racing’s first Triple Crown in 37 years, and inspired a record Monmouth Park crowd of 60,983.

American Pharoah then won the Haskell.

Despite the invitation to compete here this year, Baffert will not enter Medina Spirit, saying it came up too quickly after the Preakness Stakes, in which Medina Spirit finished third to Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon.

Playing the training angle

For gamblers who endorse specific trainers, Mandaloun’s trainer Brad Cox has a group of contenders entered in the earlier Haskell Day races.

Arklow (Grade 1 United Nations), Juliet Foxtrot (Grade 3 WinStar Matchmaker), Night Ops (Grade 3 Monmouth Cup) and Vault (Grade 3 Molly Pitcher) accompanied Mandaloun on the van from Kentucky.

“Everyone shipped in very well,” said Blake Cox, the son of the trainer. “All of them galloped Wednesday and today (Thursday).”

“Mandaloun is doing very well. He’s ready to go,” he added.

ABOUT MONMOUTH PARK

The track conducts its live meet on Fridays through Sundays until September 26. There also is a Labor Day card Sept. 6.

Post time on Fridays is 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays have a 12:15 p.m. first post. Haskell Day has a noon first post.

The facility, located off Garden State Parkway exit 105, also has a William Hill sportsbook on its premises. It is located on the first floor of the Grandstand.

Customers can watch every big game over 100HDTVs and a 75-foot video wall. They can also bet on horses.

Hours:

Monday to Thursday: 10am-12am
Friday: 10am-1am
Saturday: 9am-1am
Sunday: 9am-12am

ABOUT THE HASKELL

First run in 1968, it is one of the industry’s most celebrated races.

Consider this group of recent winners:

  • 2020 – Authentic, who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby
  • 2019 – Maximum Security, the Kentucky Derby winner prior to a disqualification for alleged interference
  • 2018 – Good Magic, second to Justify in the Kentucky Derby
  • 2016 – Exaggerator, the Preakness Stakes winner
  • 2015 – American Pharoah, winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.