Hot Rod Charlie favored in $1 million Haskell at Monmouth

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In this image provided by EQUI-PHOTO, Hot Rod Charlie, with exercise rider Johnny Garcia up, gallops on the track at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Wednesday morning July 14, 2021. Hot Rod Charlie is the morning line favorite for Saturday’s Haskell Stakes horse race. (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO via AP)

Belmont Stakes runner-up Hot Rod Charlie has been installed as the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park.

For the first time in the history of the Grade I stakes at the Jersey Shore racetrack, the race drew all three second-place finishers in the recent Triple Crown events for 3-year-olds.

Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun was made the 2-1 second choice in Wednesday’s draw for the 1 1/8-mile race. Preakness second-place finisher Midnight Bourbon is the 9-2 fourth choice.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s Following Sea drew the inside No. 1 post position and was made the 3-1 third choice in the field of seven colts. The son of Runhappy is coming off an impressive six-plus length win in an allowance race at Belmont Park last month.

Also entered were longshots Antigravity, Pickin’ Time and Basso.

Hot Rod Charlie, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby, has not raced since finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind Essential Quality in the Belmont on June 5. Flavien Prat is listed to ride the 6-5 favorite, whose only win in four starts this year was in the Louisiana Derby. The colt drew the No. 4 post position.

Mandaloun, who is in line to be named the winner of the Kentucky Derby if first-place finisher Medina Spirit is disqualified for testing positive for the presence of an anti-inflammatory steroid after the race, will be making his second start at Monmouth. The colt overcame a slow start last month and rallied to win the Pegasus by a neck. Florent Geroux has the mount on the Juddmonte Farms colt, who drew the No. 3 post position.

Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Midnight Bourbon will be making his first start since finishing behind Rombauer in the Preakness on May 15. The colt will break from post No. 6 for jockey Paco Lopez.

Antigravity, who has won both of his races at Monmouth Park, drew the No.2 post for jockey David Cohen. Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer trains the son of First Samurai, who is 30-1 in the early odds.

Pickin’ Time is looking to become the second New Jersey-bred to win the Haskell. Nik Juarez is listed to ride the 20-1 shot, breaking from post No. 5.

The only other Jersey bred to win the Haskell was Thanks to Tony in 1980.

Basso, whose only win was in a maiden special weights race last year, has the outside No. 7 post position. The 30-1 shot has Isaac Castillo listed to ride in looking for his second win in six career starts.

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