Monmouth Park’s biggest annual event, the Grade I, $1 million Haskell Invitational, takes place this Saturday. The 1 1/8-mile stakes for three-year-olds drew a field of seven led by the one-two finishers in the Pegasus Stakes (the local prep), KING FOR A DAY and MAXIMUM SECURITY. Post time for the Haskell, Race 12 of 14 on the day, is 5:47 p.m. ET.
The late-blooming #1 KING FOR A DAY (5-2) will be the top pick. He was disrespected on the morning-line after beating race favorite MAXIMUM SECURITY fair-and-square in the Pegasus Stakes. He was even slotted behind California’s MUCHO GUSTO, who seems a cut below in terms of class and speed figures. Joe Bravo gave a great ride on KING FOR A DAY last time out, never affording MAXIMUM SECURITY a chance to relax up front before wearing him down in the lane. The son of Uncle Mo, who is 3-for-3 in routes on a fast track, should appreciate the extra 1/16th he gets in the Haskell. John Velazquez will pick up the mount today; look for him to get into stalking position as quickly as possible on the Todd Pletcher trainee.
#7 MAXIMUM SECURITY (8-5, morning-line favorite) is the logical selection for second in the Haskell. Luis Saez’s mission is clear; get to the lead and try to wire the field. He’ll have to work hard to clear Belmont Stakes pacesetter JOEVIA, longshot BETHLEHEM ROAD and MUCHO GUSTO though. MAXIMUM SECURITY has great speed figures but is likely to get caught again as he picks up a 1/16th today.
#6 EVERFAST (10-1) is capable of landing a share in the event of a pace meltdown. He made up a ton of ground to be second in the Preakness before finding 1 1/2-miles too far in the Belmont. A patient rider like Julien Leparoux fits EVERFAST like a glove. Look for the Dale Romans trainee to pick up the pieces in the lane.
The play: $5 trifecta 1/7/6, $3 trifecta 7/1/6, $1 trifecta 1,7/6/1,7 ($10)
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