Santos Welcomes Speed Horses in Sunday's Haskell

Santos Welcomes Speed Horses in Sunday's Haskell
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Jockey Jose Santos, addressing the media during this year's Triple Crown run, rides Funny Cide in Sunday's Haskell.
Jose Santos, the rider of Funny Cide, feels the presence of several speed horses in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational will favor the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

Santos said on a national teleconference Tuesday that Funny Cide is most effective following horses. "The speed horses can only help him," Santos said. "If he can lay third or fourth, we'll be in very good shape. He has excellent natural speed and he'll place himself in good position. Robin (assistant trainer Smullen) said he's getting smarter and is relaxing more. Everytime he's next to horses now, he'll back off the horse, so he's learning something new. I think the speed in the Haskell can only be good for him.

Among the prospective Haskell starters who have an abundance of early speed are Peace Rules, Max Forever, Excessivepleasure, and Kool Humor. Sky Mesa is another who seems to like to run fairly close to the pace.

"He worked really well last week," Santos said of Funny Cide, "and I'm very confident going into the race. Barclay said he's about 95%, and it's not too much more to get to 100%.

Santos has won the Haskell twice, with Skip Away and Kissin Kris. "I've been very lucky at Monmouth, and it's usually a fair course," he said. "I'll have five or six other mounts on the card, so I'll be able to see how the track is playing."

In other Haskell news, undefeated Ohio Derby winner Wild and Wicked worked a half Tuesday in :48 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. Trainer Kenny McPeek said the colt will ship to Monmouth on Friday and train over the track Saturday. Funny Cide, on the other hand, is not expected to van down from Saratoga until the morning of the race.

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