The 2019 Haskell Invitational will not only be run on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, but it will also come at least a week earlier than usual.
Monmouth Park's racing calendar for this year reveals the Haskell will be run on Saturday, July 20, instead of the traditional Sunday date later in July or in early August. The decision was made to ensure the race will be televised on NBC in the coming years.
But Stephen Edelson of the Asbury Park Press raises the a legitimate question about the move: Will the earlier date deter 3-year-olds coming off the grueling Triple Crown trail from entering the race?
“Consider this. With one week less to rest, and then prepare, after winning the Triple Crown, it's hard to imagine trainer Bob Baffert having American Pharoah ready to ship to Monmouth Park in 2015, for what became an historic moment in the track's history,” writes Edelson.
Monmouth Park's Dennis Drazen tells the newspaper: “I think that moving it up a little gives a horse that runs in the Haskell a little bit of an extra rest before the Travers. But then the flip side of that coin is it doesn't give horses that competed on the Triple Crown trail as much time to get their rest and come back to being 100 percent ready to run in the Haskell, and the possibility is that it could cost you a horse.”
The new date also puts the Haskell in competition with what will likely be opening weekend at Saratoga. Saratoga's Jim Dandy Stakes is expected to be scheduled for a week later.
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