Although Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Red Bullet is showing signs of improvement from a virus, trainer Joe Orseno said the colt will bypass the $1-million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 6 and instead will be sent to Saratoga for the Aug. 26 $1-million Travers Stakes.
Orseno said ulcers and a virus were detected in the 3-year-old son of Unbridled following his third-place finish in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II). The colt began treatment for the virus on Monday and Orseno said there was a noticeable improvement in his condition. “He seems to be back to himself,” Orseno said. “He could have made the Haskell and he probably would run well. But he would not be 100% and I would not run him if he wasn’t 100%. It’s a close call.”
With the likely defection of Red Bullet, the 123-pound highweight for the race, Belmont Stakes winner Commendable will be the starting highweight in the Haskell, with 122 pounds. On Tuesday, Commendable worked four furlongs in :47.84 at Saratoga’s Oklahoma training center, the fastest time of the day for 39 horses working the distance.