Baffert said he is not looking ahead that far. "We're just taking it one race at a time," he said.A small field is expected for the Haskell, which will be headed by Preakness and Belmont (both grade I) winner Afleet Alex, who will be making his first start since the Belmont and will carry top weight of 123 pounds. Also scheduled to run is Park Avenue Ball, impressive winner of the Long Branch Stakes (gr. III), Monmouth Park's prep for the Haskell. Park Avenue Ball, who had previously finished second to Scrappy T in the Withers Stakes (gr. III), is trained by Jim Ryerson and is stabled at Monmouth.The Monmouth racing office expects another three or four horses to show up for the nine-furlong race.
Fog City Stable's Roman Ruler, winner of the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) in his last start, worked seven furlongs in 1:24 at Del Mar Tuesday in preparation for the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 7. Trainer Bob Baffert caught the son of Fusaichi Pegasus galloping out the mile in 1:36 4/5.Roman Ruler, whose quarter crack problems appear to be behind him, worked in bar shoes for protection, as he does in all his works. Baffert will put racing plates on the morning of the Haskell. He said the colt will ship to Monmouth on Aug. 5. After the Haskell, a decision will be made whether to shorten him up in the seven-furlong King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) or possibly stretch him out in the 10-furlong Travers Stakes (gr. I) the same day.