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

From the Media Team at Monmouth Park:

The 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.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • 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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