Owner John C. Oxley’s yellow and blue silks will be represented in the 45th running of the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on July 29. What remains a question mark is which of his two top 3-year-olds will carry the colors.
Both Prospective, a multiple graded stakes winner who took both the Ohio Derby (gr. IIII) and Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), and Stealcase are under consideration for the Monmouth Park race, trainer Mark Casse said.
“We still haven’t decided,” said Casse when reached at Saratoga Race Course. “Mr. Oxley is here and we will talk it over later this afternoon to decide which one will run.”
Prospective, by Malibu Moon out of the Awesome Again mare Spirited Away, was bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm and was purchased at the Fasig-Tipton 2010 Saratoga yearling sale for $250,000. The dark bay colt has won six of 11 starts and is coming off consecutive wins in the Victoria Park Stakes at Woodbine and the Ohio Derby.
Oxley signed the ticket on Stealcase, by Lawyer Ron out of the Cat Thief mare Steal the Show, for $320,000 when he came through the ring as a 2-year-old at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March 2011. Last out, Stealcase was second in the Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs on June 16 despite a troubled trip.
Prospective worked at Woodbine June 20, breezing five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 on the all weather track. Stealcase’s last work was at Saratoga one week ago when he breezed the same distance in 1:01.76 on the dirt.
In other Haskell news, Dullahan, who is a definite starter, blazed over the Churchill Downs strip July 21 with a bullet work of :59 4/5 for five furlongs.
Trainer Bob Baffert said that Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter will arrive on the Monmouth grounds from Southern California “a few days” before the race. Baffert, who has won the Haskell a record five times (including the 2010 and 2011 editions), remains undecided if Blueskiesnrainbows will join Paynter in the Haskell starting gate.