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2014 Haskell Invitational

2014 William Hill Haskell at Monmouth

UntapableThis Sunday, July 27th, we have the Grade 1 $1,000,000 William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth. The Haskell will be the 12th race on the card Sunday and will showcase a field of 9 three year olds traveling 1 1/8 mile. In last year’s Haskell, Verrazano come off of the pace and smoked the field by a 9 ¾ length victory as the favorite. This year’s morning line favorite at 2 to 1 is Untapable, the only filly in the field. Untapable is another one who likes to come just off of the pace and has the speed to back it up. The question is whether or not she can beat the boys as this will be her first start in mixed company. She has won 6 of her 8 starts so far including four Grade 1 wins, so there is no doubt she belongs with this group and she will be the one to beat. It’ll be a tough task in my opinion, but since I don’t care for backing the chalk, let’s see who can give the girl a run for it here.

BayernNext in the morning line at 5/2 is Bayern. Bayern likes to have the early lead and certainly has some speed, but his biggest question will be the distance. The longest distance he has won at is at the mile mark. He held on for third at 1 1/8 mile in the Arkansas Derby, but missed the win by 5 ¼ lengths. He followed that up with a nose win in the Derby Trial at 1 mile, and then ran a disappointing 9th in the Preakness at 1 3/16 mile, 21 lengths out of it. He redeemed himself in his last outing by winning the Woody Stephens by 7 ½ lengths in the 7 furlongs race. So the question remains- can he get the distance? He certainly improved between the Preakness and the Woody Stephens, and he may be maturing at the right time, but I think he is better suited at the mile. Social InclusionSocial Inclusion is another speed-burner to consider, but like Bayern he will more than likely go to the lead early. He really hasn’t shown us that super uncanny speed we would like from him since that allowance win at Gulfstream back in March. He is a fighter, though and in his 5 starts he has never finished worse than 3rd. He has to be considered as a contender. Then there’s Wildcat Red. Throw out his Derby effort and he looks nearly perfect on paper. His problem- he’ll be going straight for the lead just like Social Inclusion and Bayern. It’s getting a little too crowded on the front end early for my tastes. Throw in Encryption, Albano and possibly Irish You Well and we will definitely have some fast early fractions that will take a toll! This type of race is going to set up perfectly for Untapable…

Medal CountUnless she gets sucked into that giant speed war, which is a possibility. That only leaves us with my 2 value plays. The first value play without question in my opinion is Medal Count at 8 to 1. He has shown that he runs best at about mid-pack before making his big move in the stretch, a play that will be necessary here for the win. His third place finish in the Belmont where he missed the win by a length showed his stamina and closing kick, so I can’t help but see him performing well in the Haskell and quite possibly pulling off a big upset. My second choice for value is Just Call Kenny at 10 to 1 on the morning line. He ran 2nd in his last outing in the Long Branch, just missing the win by ½ of a length and was closing ground. Considering he had been off for 6 months, I’d say that was pretty impressive and he is likely to have a very big run in the Haskell. Good luck everybody!

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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