Hot Rod Charlie:
Who came close in the Kentucky Derby and closer in the Belmont Stakes, moves into the favorite’s role when he heads a field of seven for the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.
Sent off as the second betting choice in the Derby on May 1, the popular 3-year-old colt finished third behind Medina Spirit and Mandaloun. In the Belmont on June 5, he again was the second choice and ran second behind Essential Quality.
This time, the Doug O’Neill-trained son of Oxbow is the 6-5 morning-line betting choice over fellow Triple Crown race runners-up Mandaloun (Derby) and Bourbon (Preakness).
Mandaloun, who could wind up as the official Derby winner if Medina Spirit is disqualified for a post-race positive for a prohibitive medication, is the 2-1 second choice. Midnight Bourbon is 9-2.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, is a late-developing colt who won an allowance by 6 ½ lengths at Belmont on June 3 and is 2-for-3.
Hot Rod Charlie will be ridden by Flavien Prat from post 4, while Mandaloun, trained by Brad Cox, leaves from post 3 under Florent Geroux.
Mandaloun tuned up for the 1 1/8-mile Haskell with a win over the Monmouth track in the Pegasus Stakes on June 13.
Also entered on Wednesday were Antigravity, Pickin’ Time, and Basso.
Mandaloun worked 5 furlongs in 1:02 on Saturday (July 10) at Monmouth.
“An easy maintenance work,” said Blake Cox, the son of Brad Cox, who plans to arrive for the Haskell on race day. “He went the five-eighths in 1:02 and was out in about 1:13.3 and he galloped out very well.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has a record nine Haskell victories, including Authentic in 2020, does not have a horse in the race. He trains Medina Spirit.
The field, from the rail out, with trainers, jockeys, odds in parentheses:
- Following Sea (Todd Pletcher, Joel Rosario, 3-1)
- Antigravity (Jerry Hollendorfer, David Cohen, 30-1)
- Mandaloun (Brad Cox, Florent Geroux, 2-1)
- Hot Rod Charlie (Doug O’Neill, Flavien Prat, 6-5)
- Pickin’ Time (Kelly Breen, Nik Juarez, 20-1)
- Midnight Bourbon (Steve Asmussen, Paco Lopez, 9-2)
- Basso (Gregg Sacco, Isaac Castillo, 30-1)