2012 Haskell Invitational Contenders
With the first half of the horse racing season and the Triple Crown series behind us, it’s time to take a look at the early contenders for the second half of the year at the 2012 Haskell Invitational!
It’s pretty safe to say that no one is looking forward to the second edition of the racing season more than Bob Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer has had a very rough year to say the least on and off the track.
Following a little bit of a health scare in Dubai, I’ll Have Another certainly tested Baffert’s heart, breaking it into a million pieces on two different occasions during the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Listed by most sportsbooks in the world as the betting favorite, Bodemeister could have easily made history, if it weren’t for the now-retired Kentucky Derby/Preakness Stakes winner.
Nevertheless, it appears that Baffert and his camp will have to settle for dominating the remainder of the horse racing season (three-year-olds) following his infamous consecutive runner-up finishes at the Derby and Preakness.
Bodemeister’s first chance at redemption will be at Monmouth Park, where he will likely be the betting favored by a landslide. The 45th edition of the Haskell Invitational is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 29th.
Baffert committed to the Monmouth Park race before the Preakness even took place, and why not. After all, Baffert loves this track, as he looks for his sixth Haskell victory and a three-peat.
The 2001 Belmont Stakes winner made the announcement that Bodemeister wouldn’t be participating in the final leg of the Triple Crown unless his horse had a chance to replace Affirmed in the history books. Baffert’s past winners include: Coil (2011), Lookin at Lucky (2010), Roman Ruler (2005), War Emblem (2002) and Point Given (2001).
So, who will challenge the great Bodemeister?
Well, that remains to be seen. But by the looks of it, we will likely have a stellar field of Grade I seasoned contenders looking to test Baffert’s heart one more time.
Here’s a look at the early 2012 Haskell Invitational contenders and would-be favorites:
- Bodemeister, who should have the odds in his favor, is listed as a go following consecutive second-place finishes at Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
- Mike Matz’s 2012 Belmont Stakes winner, Union Rags is currently listed as probable for this event, in which he would be the most likely candidate to upset Bodemeister.
- Dale Roman’s Dullahan is also listed as probable for this event. The son of Even The Score is coming off a seventh place finish at this year’s Belmont Stakes.
- Looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 16th place effort at the Derby is Todd Pletcher’s Gemologist, who’s presently listed as possible for the 2012 Haskell.
- Other Haskell Invitational 2012 “possible” contenders includes: Unstoppable U (6th place: 2012 Dwyer-G2) and Le Bernardin (1st place: 2012 Pegasus-G3).
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Check out Coil’s dramatic come-from-behind victory at Monmouth Park last year (Haskell Invitational 2011):