(Mage / Photos by Holly M. Smith)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team / Jim Gluckson:
Led by Mage, winner of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1, a field of eight horses has been entered in Saturday’s $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., for a free berth into the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), live on NBC and Peacock beginning at 5 p.m. ET.
The TVG.com Haskell Stakes, for 3-year-olds, headlines the first program this year in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” on NBC, CNBC, and Peacock from some of North America’s most iconic racetracks. The series leads to the 40th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on Nov. 3-4. The complete series TV schedule can be accessed here.
Saturday’s broadcast will also include the 1 3/8-mile, $600,000 United Nations Stakes (G1) on turf.
NBC’s coverage will feature commentary and discussion from host Britney Eurton, analysts Randy Moss, and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, a five-time winner in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic; reporter Nick Luck, Handicapper Michelle Yu, and race caller Larry Collmus.
Mage, owned OGMA Investments, LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing, LLC, and CMNWLTH, and trained by Gustavo Delgado, surged to the front in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the Kentucky Derby by a length. Two weeks later, he finished third in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on May 20. Listed as the 3-1 co-second choice, Mage will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post four.
“I believe the horse’s entire body of work and his entire career is what defines him. It’s not just one race,” said co-owner Restrepo. “It’s (the Haskell) the start of the second half of his 3-year-old year. We feel he’s good enough to compete and put forth a quality effort. Hopefully, that’s good enough to get the job done and put forth a great performance and keep it moving.”
Despite having made just one start this year, Zedan Racing Stable’s Arabian Knight is the 5-2 morning line favorite off a 5 ½-length win in the Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park on Jan. 28. A victory by Arabian Knight would give trainer Bob Baffert his record-extended 10th Haskell Stakes win. Undefeated in two starts, Arabian Knight will break from post eight under John Velazquez.
Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice, also listed at 3-1, comes into the Haskell off a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden from post five by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice has won three races this year, including the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, which he won prior to his seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
Coming in from the West Coast and making just his fourth career start is Pin Oak Stud’s Geaux Rocket Ride (9-2) for trainer Richard Mandella. Winner of the 1 1/16-mile Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita Park on June 4, Geaux Rocket Ride will be ridden by Mike Smith from post one.
Another runner making just his fourth start is Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Extra Anejo. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Extra Anejo won a 1-mile allowance optional claiming race by 6 ¼ lengths at Ellis Park in his last race on June 10. Tyler Gaffalione rides, breaking from post seven.
In the United Nations Stakes, Trinity Farm’s veteran Red Knight has won two of four starts this year including the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park on May 13 for trainer Mike Maker. Red Knight will look to improve on his fourth-place finish last time out in the Resorts World Casino Manhattan Stakes (G1), also at Belmont. Richard Mandella has brought in California shipper Planetario (BRZ), who won the 1 ¾-mile San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on June 18.