10.44 Monmouth Park
William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (grade 1) (3YO only) Winner $630,000 – 9 run
Advice: 2 pts win Untapable (11/8 Coral), 1 pt each/way Medal Count (10/1 general)
Encryption: Had all four of his starts here and going the right way but looks to have a tough task on his hands based on nature of defeats to Albano here two starts back and then Irish You Well latest; Others make more appeal here.
Bayern: Big early vibes surrounded him at the start of this year but well beaten off by Danza in the Arkansas Derby and then, after winning Derby trial, a big disappointment in the Preakness; Seemed to relish the drop back to 7 furlongs when romping the Woody Stephens Stakes last time, so slightly strange to see him back at this trip but trainer has won this 6 times so respected even if something to prove.
Albano: Held his own on the Derby trail earlier this season, albeit well beaten by Vicar’s In Trouble who has done nothing for the form since; Can’t fail to like the way that he strode out to beat Encryption here latest in style of improving horse although it has been done since by Irish You Well and Just Call Kenny; Still, not impossible that he can make a step up and considered.
Irish You Well: Made it 2-2 here when beating Just Call Kenny in the Long Branch Stakes, with Albano just in behind; Looks to be improving since moving here and previous third to Tonalist shows plenty of potential, so not to be discounted here with more potentially to come.
Just Call Kenny: Return from injury in the Long Branch Stakes was a fine one considering that he gave a large amount of weight to winner that day Irish You Well (ahead of Encryption) and returned from that with an impressive post race workout; That form gives him a good line through the local contenders here and not to be underestimated.
Social Inclusion: Well and truly thumped by Bayern last time but this a totally different task back to 9 furlongs; Looked a star earlier in season and Wood Memorial third has stood up well to scrutiny but seems to need a lead of his own to produce his best and found going too tough in Preakness when off the lead and that scenario looks likely here.
Untapable: Ended juvenile season weakly but has been the star of the female classic season, winning her four Graded stakes including Kentucky Oaks by 31 lengths; Hasn’t beaten much at all in those successes but can’t fault the manner in which she did so and well worth stepping up in grade to take on the best here and will take the beating.
Wildcat Red: Real trailblazer who had plenty of success on Derby trail in Florida, just losing out in Florida Derby, but found the competition for the pace too hot when nearer last than first in the main event; Easy win in the Quality Road proved nothing with no competition upfront and today he’s likely to be taken on from all angles, so the call is to oppose.
Medal Count: Hadn’t looked a goer on dirt so no surprise to see such a big price about him in the Kentucky Derby but badly cut up when looking set to finish much better than eighth and backed that up with Belmont third which was boosted by Tonalist and Wicked Strong finishing clear yesterday, and should get plenty of pace to run at today; Major player.
VERDICT: The addition of the outstanding 3yo filly this season, a good representation from the Derby trail, and some interesting local contenders makes for a fine race in prospect, and UNTAPABLE can justify connections move to step their filly up against males and join a very select group of horses including the same trainer’s Rachel Alexandra. This is a far harder task than the Kentucky Oaks or the Mother Goose, but many of her main rivals here could set up to give her a good trail into the race – Bayern, Wildcat Red, and Social Inclusion to name just three – and her achievement look to be well upto matching the rest of the field. The likely pace scenario could fall right into the hands of MEDAL COUNT, who ran a fine race in the Belmont after getting no run in the Kentucky Derby the time before, and he looks to have been too easily ignored by the market given such circumstances; Of the local performers, Just Call Kenny, significantly better off with Irish You Well from their last meeting, might be the best of them.