Haskell Heavyweights Due to Arrive at Monmouth

(from Monmouth notes)
A field of seven 3-year-olds is expected for Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, topped by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.

Funny Cide, Sky Mesa and Peace Rules, three of the favorites Sunday, will arrive at the New Jersey track this weekend.

Kool Humor is on the grounds after shipping from Texas. Local hope Max Forever galloped Wednesday.

EXCESSIVEPLEASURE - The Doug O'Neill-trained colt was due to arrive at Monmouth Wednesday afternoon after shipping from California. Owned by Ty and Leroy Leatherman, Excessivepleasure won the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in his last start on July 5. Jon Court, who rode the son of In Excess in Iowa, has the mount Sunday.

FUNNY CIDE - Sackatoga Stable's famous New York-bred gelding is expected to arrive at Monmouth early Sunday morning. The Barclay Tagg-trained Funny Cide had his final breeze for the Haskell at Saratoga last Sunday, going six furlongs in 1:12 2/5. He galloped once around the Spa oval Wednesday morning, Tagg said. Jose Santos, aboard in Funny Cide's Triple Crown races, rides Sunday.

KOOL HUMOR - The gelded son of Distorted Humor has returned to home ground for the first time since he made his career debut at Monmouth last July. A New Jersey-bred, Kool Humor has been racing at Lone Star Park, with his most recent score coming in the Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 5. Kool Humor and trainer Jack Bruner arrived at Monmouth Tuesday afternoon after shipping from Dallas. The 3-year-old, owned by Tom Durant, got his first feel of the Monmouth track Wednesday morning.

"He jogged this morning," Bruner said. "I wasn't going to take him to the track today, but I couldn't keep him on the ground."

Bruner said the schedule called for Kool Humor to gallop Thursday and jog again Friday.

"I don't know yet what he'll do Saturday," Bruner said. "We'll wait and see what he needs."

Eddie Martin Jr., who has been aboard in Kool Humor's last two wins, has the mount Sunday.

MAX FOREVER - The local hope galloped a mile and a half around the Monmouth oval Wednesday morning. Raymond and Dorothy Dweck's colt won the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) in his last start to earn an invitation to the Haskell.

"He'll gallop to the race," trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said. "He breezed last week (five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 on Friday), so he's pretty ready to go."

Jose Ferrer, who has been aboard in Max Forever's last three starts, has the mount again Sunday.

PEACE RULES - Edmund A. Gann's colt, who is stabled at Saratoga with the rest of trainer Bobby Frankel's string, is expected to arrive at Monmouth early Sunday morning after a van ride from the Spa. Peace Rules won the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) in April, then finished third in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness Stakes, his last start on May 17. Edgar Prado, who was aboard Peace Rules in his Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass victories, has the mount in the Haskell.

SKY MESA - The John A. Ward Jr.-trained colt is slated to arrive at Monmouth Saturday from Saratoga.

"He'll gallop up to the race," Ward said Wednesday. "He had his last work the other day (five furlongs in :59 4/5 on Saturday). We'll be at Monmouth sometime this Saturday."

John C. Oxley's colt was unbeaten as a 2-year-old and would have been the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) had not an injury forced him to the sidelines just days before that race. Sky Mesa did not return to the races until July 6, when he ran third in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont, his first career loss. Robby Albarado will ride the Pulpit colt for the first time in the Haskell.

WILD AND WICKED - Mr. and Mrs. R. David Randal's unbeaten colt is scheduled to arrive at Monmouth Saturday morning after vanning from Saratoga. Ken McPeek trains the Wild Again colt, who won the Ohio Derby at Thistledown in his last start on June 21. Shane Sellers, who has been aboard in all three Wild and Wicked victories, has the mount again.