Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I), will carry highweight of 123 pounds in the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I), Monmouth Park's signature event for 3-year-olds, on Aug. 3.
Mike Dempsey, Monmouth Park's racing secretary and handicapper, weighted 25 invited horses for the 1 1/8-mile Haskell. If there are any further invitations, Dempsey will assign weights when the horses are named.
Funny Cide, trained by Barclay Tagg, is expected to be the starting highweight in the 36th running of the Haskell, which is the richest invitational race run in North America.
Juddmonte Farms' Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Empire Maker, trained by Bobby Frankel, drew co-highweight of 123 pounds, but the colt is expected to run in Saratoga's Jim Dandy Stakes (gr .II) the same day as the Haskell.
The weights are one pound less that carried by the last two highweights for the Haskell. Both dual classic winners War Emblem and Point Given carried 124 pounds to victory as heavy favorites in 2002 and 2001 respectively for The Thoroughbred Corp. and trainer Bob Baffert. The 2000 highweight was Belmont winner Commendable, who finished eighth to Dixie Union.
Funny Cide has had only two published works since finishing third in the Belmont, but turned in a sensational five-furlong drill in :58 3/5 earlier this week.
Edmund A. Gann's Peace Rules, another Frankel charge, is expected to pick up his Haskell assignment of 121 pounds. The colt won the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in the spring before running third in the Kentucky Derby.
John C. Oxley's Sky Mesa, one of the top 2-year-olds of 2002 who was injured before the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), was assigned 118 pounds for the Haskell. Trainer John Ward Jr. trains Sky Mesa, who returned to action on July 6 when he ran third in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont. Ward was awaiting the assignment to make a decision on whether to run in the Haskell or the Jim Dandy. In the allowance conditions of the Jim Dandy, Sky Mesa would carry four pounds less than Empire Maker.
Also at 118 is Mr. and Mrs. David Randal's Wild and Wicked. The Wild Again colt is unbeaten in three career starts and last out won the Ohio Derby (gr. III) at Thistledown.
In addition to Funny Cide, Peace Rules, Sky Mesa and Wild and Wicked, the Haskell is expected to attract several other 3-year-olds, including Ty and Leroy Leatherman's Excessivepleasure, 117; Gustav Schickedanz's Mobil, 117; Tom Durant's Kool Humor, and Bee Bee Stables & Jacqueline Tortora's Supah Blitz, 115.
The complete list of Haskell weights follows:
Funny Cide, 123
Peace Rules, 121
Ten Most Wanted, 119
Trust N Luck, 119
Sky Mesa, 118
Wild and Wicked, 118
Eye of the Tiger, 117
Midway Road, 117
Strong Hope, 117
Best Minister, 116
Christine's Outlaw, 115
El Ruller, 115
Kool Humor, 115
Max Forever, 115
Supah Blitz, 115