Monmouth Park president Bob Kulina told app.com that he is “cautiously optimistic” that Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist would be making the trip east for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 31. The sophomore son of Uncle Mo hasn't run since finishing third in the Preakness, after which he came down with a fever and was forced to skip the Belmont Stakes. Following the colt's first work since the illness on Friday, in which he covered a half-mile in :48.60 at Santa Anita, trainer Doug O'Neill told the Daily Racing Form that there were three races on the team's radar for Nyquist's next start. Those were: the Haskell, the G2 San Diego Handicap (July 23, Del Mar), or the G2 Jim Dandy (July 30, Saratoga).
“If he (Nyquist) comes east, I believe he'll run here,” said Kulina. “I think that's their (owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill's) biggest decision, if they come east or they don't.”
A final decision is expected from O'Neill in two weeks' time.
If Nyquist does come to New Jersey for the $1 million Haskell, he can expect to face Steve Asmussen's Gun Runner, the easy winner of the G3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday evening. Also expected are Bob Baffert's Sir Barton Stakes winner American Freedom, and either Cherry Wine or Brody's Cause from Dale Romans' barn. Todd Pletcher is also likely to enter a horse in the race; his charge Donegal Moon won the Haskell's traditional prep race, the G3 Pegasus Stakes, on Sunday afternoon at Monmouth.
Final invitations to the Haskell are set to be mailed out this week, said Kulina.
Read more at app.com.
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