Contenders Gearing Up For Haskell
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Pants On Fire is scheduled to work Sunday at Monmouth Park.

The locally-based duo of Pants On Fire and Ruler On Ice will have their final respective works for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) between races Sunday, July 24 at Monmouth Park.

The pair will breeze a half-mile in company for trainer Kelly Breen following Sunday’s fifth race, the Tyro Stakes. Jockeys Elvis Trujillo (Pants On Fire) and Jose Valdivia Jr. (Ruler On Ice) will be aboard for the works.
 “When we worked Pants On Fire between races (June 10), even though he went a little faster than we expected, we were able to work over an ideally-conditioned racetrack,” Breen said. “It was perfect racing conditions. The amount of water of the track was almost identical to what it is on race day.”
Both horses are owned by local residents George and Lori Hall.
Pants On Fire is exiting a win in Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) on June 18. Ruler On Ice hasn’t raced since upsetting the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
In other Haskell news, Michael Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge’s Preakness (gr. I) winner Shackleford   is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs on Sunday before vanning up to Monmouth on Tuesday, July 26 trainer Dale Romans said.
Sunday’s breeze will be the final serious work for the 3-year-old Forestry   colt, who will gallop up to the July 31 Haskell.
“He really seems to have held his flesh very well following the Triple Crown,” Romans said. “He’s been training great recently and everything is a go for the Haskell. We’re very happy with how he is doing.
“I think the cutback in distance (from the 1 1/2-mile Belmont) will help him. Monmouth is a track that can sometimes be conducive to speed, but he doesn’t have to be on the lead. He’s shown the ability to sit just off the pace in the past.”
Last year, Romans saddled his first Haskell starter when Preakness runner-up First Dude finished third in Monmouth’s premier event.
Others expected for the Haskell are third-place finisher Astrology  , Affirmed (gr. III) winner Coil  , Pegasus runner-up Concealed Identity, and Bay Shore (gr. III) winner J J's Lucky Train.

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