By some accounts, Monmouth Park was working to get Triple Crown champion Justify to Oceanport for this year's $1 million Grade 1 showcase. Yet the horse's ailments were such that he's been retired from racing and will go to stud.
That leaves Good Magic as Sunday's headliner, where the winner gets not only a handsome payday but also an entry into the 2018 running of the Breeders' Cup Classic Championship in November.
|NJ Horseplayer states a case for|
Lone Sailor to win the 2018 Haskell
Beyond that is where I have some concerns, and explain why I'm looking elsewhere for a winner.
Perhaps against better judgement, my selection to win the 2018 Haskell Invitational is Lone Sailor, and I'm going to play him above Bravazo, Core Beliefs and Good Magic in "exotic" wagers -- exacta, trifecta and superfecta.
However, after a brief rundown on each horse, I'll provide some ideas for how to put your bankroll to work, as a few people have asked for suggestions on this race. Personally, I'll have a hard time pulling the trigger on a win bet on horses that will pay $6-$10 at best, though on a scale of one to 10 my conviction in Lone Sailor is probably a four or five.
With that said, here's the field for the 2018 Haskell Invitational.
#1, Lone Sailor (5-1): I typically wouldn't scoff at a horse that'll pay about $12 to win on a $2 mutuel, but there are two sides to this horse's equation. Handicappers probably will either love or hate this one, and rightly so. Lone Sailor has banked almost $500,000 already, all while winning only once in 11 tries, beating eight others by 11 lengths at Saratoga last September in his second-ever start.
#2, Navy Commander (12-1): I just don't see it. Two races back, this Robert Reid trainee won an extremely low-level race at PARX when the jockey on a horse about to pass him fell off the horse in the late-stretch when bumped hard. Navy Commander came back the next time to win the $100,000 Long Branch Stakes on July 7 at Monmouth, but that's worlds from facing a Justify. Jockey Angel Arroyo's going to place this one forwardly, but I can't see him being in the thick of things for anything beyond three-quarters of a mile. Pass.
- You can bet this as a $1 "exacta box" for a $2 outlay
- You'd win half the posted $2 payout if the order of finish is 1-5 or 5-1.
- A bit of a hedge in the event that Lone Sailor again gets "second-itis"
- You can bet this as a $1 trifecta for a $2 outlay
- For $18, you can also play this as a $1 "trifecta key box" using 1, 4, 5 and 6; you'd win if any of these three finish first, second and third. Ask a teller if it's available as a 50-cent base wager, in which case it's only a $9 outlay.
- Another hedge if Lone Sailor is the runner-up