Joseph LaCombe's Deputy Glitters is one of eight considered likely for this Sunday's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, and trainer Tom Albertrani is ready for Deputy Glitters to take his next step as he returns to grade I competition in the 1 1/8-mile event.
"He's on the improve and is doing great," said Albertrani, from his Saratoga headquarters. "He ran a big race in the Ohio Derby and he came out of that race great. He's been training well since. All along with him it just seems to be the track that makes all the difference. He seems to prefer a firmer track with some traction to it."
In 10 career starts, Deputy Glitters sports three career wins, all on a fast track."I didn't have him when he broke his maiden at Saratoga," Albertrani said. "His first start with me was the Champagne (gr. I) and he didn't handle the mud at all. This year he didn't handle the mud in the Wood (gr. I) either, so obviously that's not his game.
"But he's been running with the best horses all year and we've always been high on this horse and thought he has a lot of talent. It looked like we had a real improving horse when he ran second at Tampa (Sam F. Davis Stakes) and then when he came back and won the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). I even thought he ran a big race in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). We were a little farther back then we would have liked, but he came running on well."
A colt by Deputy Commander, Deputy Glitters finished eighth of 20 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands before skipping the Preakness and going on to the Belmont (gr. I), where he finished 11th of 12.
"I'm not sure what happened in the Belmont," said Albertrani. "He had a bit of skin disease just prior to the race, so he might not have been himself. That's the only thing I could think of, but he came back from that race and was doing well and ran a nice race in the Ohio Derby."
Deputy Glitters won the Ohio Derby by a neck after battling the entire length of the stretch with High Cotton. It was another length and a half back to Flashy Bull, another likely Haskell starter.
Albertrani confirmed that Rene Douglas, who was aboard for the Ohio Derby win, has the return call in the $1 million Haskell.
In addition to Deputy Glitters, others expected in the Haskell are Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up Bluegrass Cat and Dwyer winner Strong Contender -- the two likely favorites -- as well as Awfully Smart, Electrify, Flashy Bull, Praying for Cash and Seaside Retreat.