(Edited From Track Report)
Island Skipper, the Golden Age Stable's colt who shipped in from Florida for Sunday's Haskell Stakes (gr. I) was on his way out to the track to gallop Saturday morning when handlers noticed he had a problem with his left front foot. "He has an abscess," said Jose Delgadillo, who is taking care of the horse for trainer Fred Warren. "He had the rider up and was fine walking around the shedrow, but as soon as he stepped on the concrete, he had a problem with his foot. We pulled the shoe and we're soaking the foot to help the abscess come to a head." Warren said he will not make a decision to scratch until Sunday. He said he wants to give the abscess a chance to pop overnight. Island Skipper, a son of Skip Trial, winner of the 1985 Haskell, had suffered a stone bruise last Saturday while working at Calder Race Course. Elsewhere on the eve of the Haskell: WAR EMBLEM – The Thoroughbred Corporation's high weight and likely favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell was out later than usual Saturday morning, and had a good gallop with exercise rider Mick Jenner up. This was the first time War Emblem had on his own over the Monmouth track. Jim Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, supervised the exercise. "We waited until the track was in good condition," Barnes said. "He was out in about the six path and went along very nicely. He came back great." Baffert is getting married Saturday evening in San Diego, and plans to arrive at Monmouth prior to race time Sunday. Post time for the Haskell is set at 5:45 p.m (ET). War Emblem is attempting to become the first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner to take the Haskell in the 35-year history of the race. MAGIC WEISNER – Nancy Alberts, owner, breeder, trainer and exercise rider of the Ameri Valay gelding, took her charge out before the renovation break. "He galloped real easy," Alberts said, "about a mile and a quarter. That's all he needs. He's doing just fine." Magic Weisner raced last on July 20, when he won the Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Earlier in the spring, he was second to War Emblem in the Preakness (gr. I). PUCK – The gray colt owned by Classic Contenders was out at 9 a.m. and galloped 1 1/2 miles under Juan Duarte Arias, assistant to trainer Bill White. "He went along nice and smooth," Arias said. Puck has become the "local horse" for this Haskell because he has been stabled at Monmouth for the past three weeks. He shipped from Calder on July 11, and won the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 13. Trainer White was scheduled to arrive at Monmouth Saturday afternoon. LIKE A HERO – Columbine Stable's colt, who arrived from
California Thursday afternoon, went out on the track before the first break. Trainer C. Beau Greely was on hand to supervise the gallop. The Pleasant Colony colt was second to Came Home in the
Swaps Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park last out. MR. MELLON – The son of Red Ransom had his first look at Monmouth Park Saturday morning when he galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Eric Garca. Trainer Elliott Walden, who is at Saratoga, will be on hand Sunday to saddle the colt. Mr. Mellon is named for the late Paul Mellon, who bred and raced almost every horse in this colt's pedigree. Mr. Mellon is owned by Winstar Farm LLC and Thomas F. Van Meter. The other three Haskell entrants – Edmund Gann's Medaglia d'Oro, Diane and Guy B. Snowden's Peekskill and James Cassels and Bob Zollars' Easyfromthegitgo – are all stabled at Saratoga and are cross-entered in the Jim Dandy Stakes, to be run Sunday in upstate New York.