“He is going to run. He’s definite,” said trainer Todd Pletcher in a release. “He has been training extremely well and we are very pleased with how he is coming into the race.”
Javier Castellano, the only rider to have been aboard the son of Tiznow in his six starts, will partner with him again in the Haskell.
WinStar Farms’ Gemologist went into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with an unblemished 5-for-5 record that includes a win in the World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (gr. I) in April and a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) as a 2-year-old.
Although he finished a disappointing 16th as one of the favorites in the first leg of the Triple Crown, it was discovered that he had bruised his foot. Consequently, he was sidelined for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I) and this will be his first race since the first Saturday in May.
Gemologist is giving his connections every indication he is ready. In his last two works at Saratoga, he fired bullets and his drill July 22 morning was particularly impressive. Working in company with 2011 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) winner Dominus , he traveled five furlongs in :58 2/5 under Castellano, the fastest of 43 horses at the same distance.
“I thought he breezed as well that morning as he’s ever breezed and he’s always been a good work horse,” Pletcher said afterward. “But he was exceptionally good that morning.”
In related Haskell news, J. Paul Reddam’s Handsome Mike arrived on a flight from California the night of July 24 and the Doug O’Neill charge was out on the track for a one-mile gallop the following morning. The same day, Donegal Racing’s Dullahan, who arrived in trainer Dale Romans’ barn the night of July 23, galloped 1 1/2 miles under his regular exercise rider.
The other confirmed starters for the Haskell are Paynter, Nonios, and Stealcase. Paynter, trained by five-time Haskell winning trainer Bob Baffert, and Nonios, conditioned by 1989 Haskell winner Jerry Hollendorfer, are scheduled to share a flight from Southern California and be on the backside July 26. Stealcase, who will give trainer Mark Casse his first entry in the Haskell, will be vanned from Saratoga.