Trainer Gary Stute said July 23 that he’s “95 percent sure” Bo Hirsch’s Papa Clem will make his next start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2.
“It’s almost definite we’re going,” Stute said from his Santa Anita base. “The only thing we’re not sure of right now is the jockey.”
Rafael Bejarano, who became Papa Clem’s regular rider last year and was aboard in the colt’s Arkansas Derby (gr. II) victory, was injured in a spill at Del Mar on July 22, suffering facial fractures.
“His agent (Joe Ferrer) told me that Rafael probably could ride in a couple of weeks wearing one of those cages that covers the face,” Stute said. “He didn’t have any other fractures, which is great. He’s such a good guy, I hope he recovers quickly.”
Stute said that he has heard from the agents of both Tyler Baze, who rode Papa Clem in his first two starts, and Elvis Trujillo, who was aboard in the Long Branch Stakes here, but has not yet made a decision.
Papa Clem, who has been stabled at Monmouth since the week before running third in the July 11 Long Branch, turned in a sharp breeze (six furlongs in 1:12.60) on July 20, and will likely work once more before the Haskell.
“I’ll breeze him one more time, probably next Monday,” Stute said, “and maybe blow him out right before the race.”