A pair of New Jersey-bred runners continue to march toward Sunday's Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park, with Park Avenue Ball getting his final work on Tuesday morning and Joey P. now confirmed for the race according to his trainer.
Trainer Patrick Biancone confirmed Monday that Chekhov, runner-up last out in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park, will return to the Jersey Shore Sunday for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I).
It is no surprise that the prospective field for the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 7 is growing by the day since Afleet Alex's defection, and could now draw as many as 13 starters.
As expected, the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) picture changed dramatically with the announcement Thursday that Afleet Alex would not run due to a condylar fracture. Within 24 hours, horses began coming out of the woodwork, all but assuring a large, competitive field.
Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the favorite for Saturday's Belmont Stakes, settled into his new barn without a problem. John Shirreffs, the affable trainer of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo, seemed nice and relaxed just one day before the rubber match at 1 1/2 miles.
Cash is King Stable's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex was installed the 6-5 morning-line favorite when 11 horses were entered for Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the third leg of the Visa Triple Crown.
Trainer Nick Zito says he'll probably start recent allowance winner Indy Storm in next Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), giving him three contenders for the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
Nick Zito's run of bad luck in this year's Triple Crown continued Monday when it was discovered My Meadowview Farm's Noble Causeway had entrapped his epiglottis in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and will undergo a myectomy to correct the problem.
Most Kentucky Derby (gr. I) works are pretty uneventful, but that certainly wasn't the case Thursday morning. You had Bobby Frankel calling a last-minute audible and working High Limit in company with Ghostzapper, and you had Greater Good and Greeley's Galaxy turn in two of the strangest Derby works in memory.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, impressive winner of his 3-year-old debut, worked five furlongs in :59 2/5 at Palm Meadows training center Saturday in preparation for the March 19 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III).
For Virginia Kraft Payson's Scipion, the long stretch at Fair Grounds beckons once again, as the Patrick Biancone-trained colt returns to New Orleans for the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) Saturday in an attempt to duplicate his stirring victory in the Feb. 12 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III).
A field of nine is expected for Saturday's Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds after grade I winner Proud Accolade was discovered to have a fever and withdrawn from consideration by trainer Todd Pletcher.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, third in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I), will make his 3-year-old debut in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 26.
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