Point Given Draws Outside Post in Haskell

Point Given Draws Outside Post in Haskell
Photo: Associated Press/Bill Denver
Excercise rider Larry Dumars, left, holds Point Given while groom Roberto Luna gives the colt a bath following a gallop Friday morning.
Favorite Point Given drew the outside post for the $1.5 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Sunday. The Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner faces five other challengers including Hero's Tribute, Burning Roma, Touch Tone, This Fleet is Due, and Jamaican Rum.

Trainer Bob Baffert said the Triple Crown didn't take as much of a toll on Point Given as it did in his other contenders Silver Charm and Real Quiet, and he's fit and ready for Sunday.

"Physically he is still the Big Red Train," Baffert said. "Mentally, I think he has mellowed out a little bit. I was sort of worried about his quietness, so I schooled him a little bit at Del Mar. We took him into the paddock, and he looked awesome. When we got back to the barn, he was a maniac. He wanted to do something."

Jockey Gary Stevens said his strategy will be allowing Point Given to place himself where he is comfortable.

"I'll just be patient and let him do his thing the last three-eighths of a mile," Stevens said.

John Ward, trainer of second choice Hero's Tribute, said he has been pointing toward the Haskell for some time because he felt Monmouth Park's speed bias would work in his favor.

"It is a good spot to see what he is made of," Ward said.

The a tape-delay telecast of the Haskell Invitational will be aired on ESPN2 from 6-7 p.m.

Post positions and morning lines for the field are as follows:

1 Hero's Tribute, Jorge Chavez , 4-1
2 Burning Roma, Rick Wilson, 5-1
3 Touch Tone, Robbie Albarado, 6-1
4 This Fleet Is Due, Pat Day, 10-1
5 Jamaican Rum, Corey Nakatani, 15-1
6 Point Given, Gary Stevens, 3-5

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