Jersey-Bred Golden Brown Will Test Deep Waters in Sunday’s Haskell Invitational

From the Media Team at Monmouth Park:

The betfair.com Haskell Invitational added a little more Jersey flavor to Sunday’s 51st edition of Monmouth Park’s signature race, with Grade 3 winner Golden Brown being the latest addition to field, which will number seven 3-year-olds.

Trained by Pat McBurney, Golden Brown comes in off an upset victory in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at nine furlongs on the grass at Delaware Park on July 14.

The Jersey-bred son of Offlee Wild-Suzee Sunrise is based at Monmouth Park and has raced four times at the track – three in dirt sprints and once long on the grass. He was a fast-closing second in the Dan Horn Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf at Monmouth Park on June 17.

Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic, Preakness runner-up Bravazo, Ohio Derby winner Core Beliefs, Lone Sailor, Navy Commander and Roaming Union comprise the rest of the field for the Grade 1, mile and an eighth Haskell Invitational, which headlines a stakes-filled 14-race card on Sunday.

“He has performed so well on the grass that the only way I’d consider trying him on the dirt again right now is in this race. Monmouth Park is home and it’s the Haskell,” said McBurney. “If you’re going to try long on the dirt for the first time this would be the race. That being said, he has actually performed well on the dirt and though they’ve been in sprint races, his sheet numbers are equally as good as what he has run on the turf.

“I always thought he would be better going two turns. Paco Lopez rode him his first two races and loved him. He always said he wanted a distance of ground. He has certainly shown that on the turf.”

Golden Brown shows three wins and three seconds from seven career starts, with lifetime earnings of $209,500.

This will be McBurney’s third Haskell starter. Just Call Kenny was sixth in 2014 and Cable Boy was fifth in 2007.

So he fully understands the magnitude of the test for his colt.

“It’s a very tough test,” he said. “These are the best 3-year-olds in the country that are racing now and it’s a distance of ground on the dirt, which we’re an unknown quantity at. But it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Haskell is just for 3-year-olds, so this is his one chance. I feel like the stars are aligned for him right now. He’s going into this in fantastic shape, so we’ll see what happens.”

First race post for Sunday’s card is noon, with gates opening at 7:30 a.m. and the parking lots opening at 6:30 a.m.

The Haskell is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series, with the race winner receiving an automatic spot with fees paid for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.

NBC-TV will carry the race live from 5-6 p.m., with the Haskell having an estimated post time of 5:47 p.m.

There was concern down the backside when he took off like that. I was worried about him. Mike (Smith) let him run a little bit but he said he (Justify) saw something in the infield and he sort of spooked. He said I might want to put a little more bit on him to control him, and I told Mike he better start working out between now and then (Kentucky Derby May 5) to hold him down.“It was very exciting. Those are two really tough horses. I figure that race for Bolt d’Oro probably took a little bit out of him with McKinzie (in the San  Felipe on March 10), but they’re two really good horses. I think the whole field is really tough.“But Justify is just a natural and he’s just learning how to run. He has that big, beautiful stride . . . he reminds you a lot of Point Given, just a big, red train type of horse. He’s quick and he’s light on his feet. It’s just good that he showed up, he did what we thought and were hoping he was going to do. I just feel fortunate to have him. It takes a lot of the sting out of what happened to McKinzie. It’s a tough business but we’ve just got to keep going.”

Bob Baffert, Who conditions Justify - Justtify ran the Santa Anita Derby
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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