Trainer Larry Jones, who has been winning Monmouth Park stakes on a regular basis the past two years, said May 24 that the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 2 is the main objective this summer for Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm’s Friesan Fire .
“That’s the number one target, the Haskell,” said Jones, who saddled Hard Spun to a runner-up performance in the 2007 Haskell. “You’ll be seeing a lot of us at Monmouth this summer.”
A 3-year-old colt by A.P. Indy, Friesan Fire started the favorite in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but grabbed a quarter at the break and never ran his race. In the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), he again had trouble at the start and failed to fire.
Jones, whose stable is based at Delaware, will again be a frequent Monmouth visitor this season. Last year, he won the Philip H. Iselin Stakes (gr. III) with Honest Man and the Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) with Maren's Meadow. This season so far, Jones has shipped in On the Menu to take the Just Smashing Stakes, and Solar Flare to win the Frisk Me Now Stakes.
He said Maren’s Meadow will be pointed for the Aug. 30 Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) at Monmouth, and that either Honest Man or Solar Flare will be pointed for the Aug. 22 Iselin Stakes. He said there was a chance both could go in that 1 1/8-mile event.