Dixie Union swept by Captain Steve, Thistyranthasclass, and More Than Ready inside the final furlong, and held off the late run of Milwaukee Brew to win the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) Sunday at Monmouth Park. Captain Steve finished 3/4 lengths back in second, a head in front of Milwaukee Brew. The winner completed the 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:50 under jockey Alex Solis. The win marks the third in a graded stakes for Solis over the weekend. Just prior to the Haskell, he won the Eatontown Stakes (gr. IIIT) aboard Reciclada after winning Saturday's San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) at Del Mar aboard Uncharted Haven.
"I told Alex (Solis) to get him out of there and stay close to the pace," said winning trainer Richard Mandella. "When I saw him drop back, I said 'uh-oh' because when he did that in the Breeders' Cup, he didn't come back. But Alex had him in the right spot and it worked out."
More Than Ready came home fourth, followed by Thistyranthasclass, Impeachment, Mercaldo, Commendable, and Kiss a Native.
Dixie Union won four of six races as a juvenile, completing his year with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). He came out of that race with a chipped knee which required surgery. He returned in May, winning a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race at Hollywood Park. He finished second in his next two races, the seven-furlong Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes and the Affirmed Handicap (gr. III). 3-year-old Dixie Union (Dixieland Band--She's Tops, by Capote) was bred by Herman Sarkowsky and is owned by Diamond A Racing and Sarkowsky. The colt earned $600,000 for the win, his sixth in 10 starts.
Dixie Union returned $11.40 for the win. The winning exacta combination paid $41.60. (Chart, Equibase