Plenty of value to be had in the Haskell

Monmouth’s biggest race of the year, the Grade I, $1 million Haskell Invitational, takes place this Sunday. Seven three-year-old colts, all of whom participated in the Triple Crown series, will fight it out over 1 1/8th-miles on the main course. The Haskell goes as Race 12 of 14, with an approximate post time of 5:47 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, feel free to give FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game a try!

#5 MCCRAKEN (9-2) gets the nod in a wide-open renewal of the Haskell. He steps up off a confidence-boosting victory in the Matt Winn at Churchill Downs, his favorite course. But MCCRAKEN has also run well at Tampa Bay this year, where his form was later validated by Tapwrit and Wild Shot. He deserves a pass for his Bluegrass flop, where he returned off a minor injury, as well as his Kentucky Derby, where he found 1 1/4 miles too far. Ian Wilkes has MCCRAKEN training well and Brian Hernandez Jr. sees fit to make the trip.

#2 BATTLE OF MIDWAY (5-1) was in cruise control in the four-horse Affirmed Stakes last time out but earned a career-best speed figure. He was a solid third in the Derby as well but would seem to prefer today’s 1 1/8-mile distance. BATTLE OF MIDWAY should be close to an honest but not blazing pace and stick around late under Flavien Prat.

#3 TIMELINE (3-1) and #4 PRACTICAL JOKE (4-1) give trainer Chad Brown a strong one-two punch in the Haskell. TIMELINE is somewhat untested but has run extremely fast in both the Pegasus and Peter Pan. He’ll have Javier Castellano aboard, as usual.

PRACTICAL JOKE demonstrated some distance limitations earlier this year which may resurface on Sunday. However, he was too impressive in the Dwyer at Belmont last time out to leave off the tickets entirely. Joel Rosario will ship in for the assignment.

#1 IRISH WAR CRY (5-2, morning-line favorite) is too unreliable to endorse in a field such as this. It would not be a surprise if he went to the lead and wired the field though, as his best race makes him the one to beat.

The play: $3 exacta box 2/5, $2 exacta 5/3,4, $1 exacta 2/3,4 ($12)

DFJ analysis: Javier Castellano should have a productive Sunday at Monmouth with nine total mounts. Four of his horses are favored, and all but one are below 4-1 in odds. His best stakes mounts include Money Multiplier in the Monmouth Stakes, Eskenformoney in the Molly Pitcher, Weekela in the Matchmaker and TIMELINE in the Haskell.

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