Top Field Coming Together with Exaggerator Entry in $1 Million Haskell July 31
A jam-packed schedule of weekend racing has more big news as Preakness winner Exaggerator has joined Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in the field for Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Graded stakes winner and third-place Derby finisher Gun Runner is also ready to run in the Haskell.
Exaggerator was being pointed towards Saturday’s Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga, but Matt Bryan of Big Chief Racing, which co-owns Exaggerator, said they had a change of heart and decided to target the $1 million Haskell going 1 1/8 miles.
“I do believe that is the way we are going,” Bryan said. “That is the plan that we’re going to the Haskell. We’ve just come to the conclusion that if we’re going to try and be the 3-year-old of the year we have to run against the best. So, we have to run against Nyquist there and hopefully in the Travers.”
Exaggerator ran second to Nyquist in the Derby, then handed Nyquist his only loss in the Preakness. Exaggerator finished 11th in the Belmont Stakes in his most recent start.
Working in Exaggerators favor could be the weather, with a 60 percent chance of rain in the forecast for the Haskell. Two of his biggest wins in the Santa Anita Derby and Preakness Stakes came on an off track.
Along with Exaggerator, Nyquist and Gun Runner, other Haskell entries include Brody’s Cause, Sunny Ridge, American Freedom and Awesome Slew.
Exaggerator has won five of 12 starts and has $2,971,120 in career earnings. He’ll be looking for another big score in a most anticipated Haskell Invitational Sunday.
“Bob Kulina has really wanted us to come over there,” Bryan said of the Monmouth Park president. “We thought it was a good opportunity. It sets up to be a very good race.”
With a scheduled post time of 5:49 p.m. EDT, the Haskell will be telecast live on NBC. The race is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” event for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).