As much as trainer Peter Eurton would have liked to have found a softer spot as the next start for Ohio Derby winner Core Beliefs, owner Gary Broad had other ideas. So Eurton announced today that the colt is heading East for the betfair.com Haskell Invitational on July 29 at Monmouth Park, joining a field that is headlined by Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic and Preakness runner-up Bravazo.
“My owner wants to come. He says it’s the chance of a lifetime,” said the California-based Eurton. “He wants to take on Good Magic and the rest.”
In addition to Good Magic and Bravazo, Navy Commander, Roaming Union and Reride are the other likely starters, with a couple more possible from a group that includes Lone Sailor, Mr Freeze, Promises Fulfilled and Flameaway.
The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, which carries a $1 million purse, will be televised live on NBC-TV from 5-6 p.m.
Third in the Santa Anita Derby behind Triple Crown winner Justify, Core Beliefs was second in the Grade 3 Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 12 after stumbling at the start.
The son of Quality Road-Tejati then seemed to put it all together in winning the Grade 3 Ohio Derby by a nose over Lone Sailor.
“He kind of did,” said Eurton. “When he broke his maiden it was his first experience going to turns. Then his first start against winners he gets Justify. He stumbled badly in the Peter Pan and was in an elongated sprint for a mile and an eighth and got nailed. That was a really good effort. So was the Ohio Derby. He seems to be coming into is own.”
Ohio Derby Replay
The mile and an eighth distance, Eurton said, suits his horse perfectly. His last three races have been at that distance.
“I like the distance because it gives him a chance to get into the race and to be tactical,” Eurton said.
Core Beliefs is scheduled to fly East from California on Tuesday, with Eurton joining him on race day after taking a red eye flight.
The horse will have 36 days between races.
“You don’t know what is really perfect,” said Eurton. “All you can do is go by how your horse is doing. His works up to this, especially Saturday, have been very good. That will give him eight days to recover from the work. I’m pretty confident he is going into the Haskell as good as we could possibly hope.”
Unraced at 2, Core Beliefs shows a 2-1-3 line from six career starts, with lifetime earnings of $535,360.
Bravazo taking Haskell-Travers Route
Calumet Farm’s Bravazo put in his final work leading up to next Sunday’s Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, clocking 48.77 seconds for a half-mile over the Oklahoma training track listed as good. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the work was just what his colt needed.
“What we’re trying to do is just put him on his toes for the Haskell,” Lukas said. “A shake-the-trees type work. Just a good solid work. I put a nice little 2-year-old in there [Derby Day] to see if he can run a little bit. They work well those two.”
The Haskell will be the first start since the son of Awesome Again finished sixth in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. Lukas, who has 14 victories among the three Triple Crown races, said the Kentucky-bred was a victim of the pace scenario.
“I was very disappointed, but the Belmont, the way it unfolded and everything, compromised his chances completely,” Lukas said. “We wanted to get up in those fractions going down the backside, we wanted to get up and put some pressure on Justify and see if we can run with him the last quarter. He got the first run away, [and] we couldn’t get out; we were pinned there. I said with five-eighths left to go that we weren’t going to beat anybody. We wasted ourselves.”
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With the Haskell only a week away, Lukas is already planning for Bravazo to start in the Grade 1 Travers.
“I tell you most of these horses after the Triple Crown are either tired, used up and need a little rest because that’s a hard series,” he said. “Some of them will flourish and get stronger and fill up, and he’s one of them. He’s a very tough horse. Our schedule right now is the Haskell and the Travers. I think he’s one of the horses that can handle that.
“He had a complete physical after the Belmont. Seventy something X-rays, a complete, Grade A bill of health.”
Bravazo’s lone graded stakes victory came in the Grade 2 Risen Star on February 17 at Fair Grounds. His Belmont start followed a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a runner-up finish in the Preakness, respectively.
Last year’s Grade 1 Hopeful winner Sporting Chance is on target for the July 28 Grade 2 Jim Dandy, and could also be on target for the Travers, Lukas said. The rambunctious son of Tiznow will make his first start since his sixth-place finish in the Preakness. The 82-year-old Lukas has his hands full with his Kentucky-bred.
“Mentally, his gene pool kicked in. His sire was very difficult to train,” Lukas said. “Tiznow spent a lot of days going out to the racetrack, and never made it to the racetrack. A lot of people don’t know that. He would lock up on the track and refuse to train.
“This one has got some quirks about him. If he shows up with his best race, and I think he likes this racetrack, if he shows up he’ll be very tough in the Jim Dandy, but he’s got to bring his ‘A’ game.”
Breen Hoping Roaming Union Finds His Best Stride In Haskell
Trainer Kelly Breen hasn’t yet been able to coax the best out of Roaming Union but he’s hoping that changes during the 3-year-old colt’s next start. That will be in the $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational, with the 51st edition of Monmouth Park’s showcase race set for Sunday, July 29.
Second by a neck in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth on June 17, Roaming Union will face his stiffest test yet in the Grade 1 Haskell.
Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic, Preakness runner-up Bravazo, Navy Commander and late invitee Reride, third in the UAE Derby, are the other likely starters, with two or three more possible from a group that includes Lone Sailor, Mr Freeze, Promises Fulfilled, Core Beliefs and Flameaway.
The nine-furlong Haskell Invitational will be televised live on NBC-TV from 5-6 p.m.
Roaming Union, with a 1-3-2 line from 11 lifetime starts, faltered in his first try to compete with top 3-year-olds in the winter, but Breen is hoping the son of Union Rags-Double Gelato, owned by George Hall, is finally coming into his own.
“I was hoping he would get bigger and stronger in his frame at the start of the year but he never really did,” said Breen, currently third in the Monmouth Park trainer standings. “Maybe he’s a late bloomer. That’s my hope.”
Breen was encouraged by the horse’s second-place finish in the Pegasus, as well as a work on July 17 of :59.60 handily for five furlongs.
“No question in my mind that the horse to beat is Good Magic,” said Breen. “I don’t know if we’re going to be a target for Good Magic or not but I’d like to be forwardly placed and hopefully he will turn in the type of effort I think he is capable of.”
Breen has had his share of success from his four previous Haskell starters, with Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice finishing third in 2011 and Praying For Cash getting second to Bluegrass Cat.
“It’s the Haskell, it’s my home track and we have a 3-year-old who is ready to run,” said Breen. “I’m all in.”