Haskell 2023 betting guide with expert predictions, past performances, analysis
OCEANPORT — The stories are set, with some strong around Saturday’s $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park. And in the wide open 3-year-old division, what happens on the track late Saturday afternoon goes a long way toward the year-end championship.
A year ago, it was trainer Brad Cox who won the second Haskell in a row, when Cyberknife rallied on the rail to top Taiba in a stunning finish, denying trainer Bob Baffert his 10th victory over Haskell.
But Baffert is back with morning favorite Arabian Knight, and Kentucky Derby winner Mage and Triple Crown track veteran Tapit Trice, trained by three-time Haskell winner Todd Pletcher, are expected to be in the mix.
Who will be looking to hit the wire first at the end of the 1 1/8-mile trial?
Here are the picks from our USA TODAY Network/Northeast Region staff, with picks from more experts to follow, including top finishers at the NTRA/Horseplayers National Championship and Horseplayers World Series. So check back for more analysis:
More: Haskell Stakes 2023: Post positions, odds, analysis, with favorite Arabian Knight Baffert
HASKELL Stakes 2023 FIELD
PP Horse (Jockey) Morning line opportunity
1. Geaux Rocket Ride (Mike Smith) 9/2
2. Awesome Strong (Jose Batista) 30-1
3. Salute the Stars (Joel Rosario) 8-1
4. Mage (Javier Castellano) 3-1
5. Tapit Trice (Luis Saez) 3-1
6. Howgreatisnate (Paco Lopez) 20-1
7. Extra Anejo (Tyler Gaffalione) 5-1
8. Arabian Knight (John Velazquez) 5/2
Bob Jordan, Asbury Park Press sports editor
5. Tapit Trice he was too far back in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes but has enough early to travel closer to the lead, where he can get the jump on Mage (who is using the Haskell as a “prep run,” according to his trainer) for the first run on the expected pacesetters.
1. Geaux Rocket Ridge he could be a speed contender but he may not be able to punch the ticket that way. He has no experience handling kickbacks from races behind the leaders but if it’s not a problem that sounds like a better plan, fix it right away. He will get a big piece of this while Mike Smith promises to take the shortest route.
8. Arab Knight they had no trouble breaking from post six to take control of the Southwest Stakes but post eight here is going to be a problem.
3. Salute the stars undefeated in two dirt starts including a win on the local course.
Steve Edelson, Asbury Park Press racing writer
4. Mag’s The last three races have been very good, losing by a length to Forte, who is still considered the class of the division, a length in the Florida Derby, winning the Kentucky Derby and running third in the Preakness. He’s talented, he’s fresh and he has the best Beyer in the field at 105.
1. Geaux Rocket Ride gets the rail and runs out of the gate according to trainer Richard Mandella. Big Money Mike Smith may have gone wire-to-wire with Authentic in 2020, and Haskell has three wins.
8. Arab Knight it will come off six months, and it will break from the outside. That’s a lot to overcome against some experienced opponents for a colt with just two career starts. If he breaks well and reaches the front, it could be a repeat of Authentic in 2020, going wire-to-wire. But that is asking a lot.
5. Tapit Trice he’s talented, but at nine furlongs he needs to stay closer to the pace.
Steven Falk, Asbury Park Press sports writer
8. Arab Knight matches the horse won by Bob Baffert Haskell because he is a long distance. Monmouth Park is usually a speedway on Haskell Day and Uncle Mo’s son is the fastest of them all. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez is at his best with fast horses. He and Baffert are a deadly combination. Never worry about horses coming off layoffs with Baffert
7. Extra Anejo he has great potential. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen is extremely confident in his abilities. He should get a very good stalking ride and get the first run at Arabian Knight. This is his first time around two turns, but Haskell’s 2007 runner-up Hard Spun is on the dam’s breeding side.
4. Maggie he has to be honored because he is a Kentucky Derby winner. However, the words of his connections that this is a prep for the Travers August 26 at Saratoga raises some alarm bells. In addition, he was entered by the National Treasure in the Preakness, trained by Baffert, and Arabian Knight is more talented than National Treasure.
1. Geaux Rocket Ride iinteresting for several reasons. He is talented. There is a distance and it will be sent from the railway post. Also, Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella doesn’t go East often. When it does, it deserves a serious look.
Sarah Bloom, Asbury Park Press reporter
7. Extra Anejo described as “confident, big-bodied” surrounded by trainer Steve Asmussen, Hall of Famer – good enough for me. Fun fact: Anejo tequila is aged three years to get to a premium sippin’ style tequila. Open that barrel.
4. Maggie: Ramiro Restrepo won me over at Wednesday’s press conference above all else. Mage showed in big races like Kentucky Derby winner, how can you not go for this guy? I like the hands-on vibe and the no-fear-of-lost attitude.
6. How big: All I know is that I’m an Elizabeth Dobles fan and I like athletes who work hard, period. I ran into her mid-morning on the track last week as she was working out three of her horses. They call horse sense and woman touch for a reason.
8. Arab Knight: Bob Baffert’s description of this big “lazy” horse screams Seabiscut-level emotion, minus all the undertones. Baffert doesn’t like the 8-spot. So much of this is down to Baffert going to Max to get a hot dog on race day.
5. Tapit Trice: Todd Pletcher has a bunch of All-Star 3 year olds and he picked this one to race here. That must mean something.
This article originally appeared on the Asbury Park Press: Haskell 2023 betting guide with expert picks, past performances