Up the Backstretch: Haskell Day could become Lady's Day
07/16/2014 11:05 AM
07/16/2014 11:10 AM
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - It was confirmed Monday that leading 3-year-old filly Untapable will go after the colts and geldings in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
If this sounds familiar, it happened five years ago when Rachel Alexandra went to the North Jersey shore track, faced a pretty good field of six guys in the 1 1/8-mile stakes and romped to a six-length win over Belmont Stakes champ Summer Bird.
The similarities don't stop with the Haskell. Both Untapable and Rachel are and were trained by Steve Asmussen and both fillies won the Kentucky Oaks by wide margins.
Untapable won her Oaks this year by nearly five lengths and Rachel performed like Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes by destroying her competition in the 1 1/8-mile race by 20 1/4 lengths.
There was no doubt in 2009 that Rachel Alexandra was not just the best 3-year- old filly of the year, but the top 3-year-old of any sex. She had come into the Haskell with a victory against the boys in the Preakness, already.
Untapable has posted striking wins in addition to the Kentucky Oaks. Just as Rachel did five years ago, Untapable won the Mother Goose Stakes with daylight separating her rivals. This year's Mother Goose was won by 9 1/4 lengths, 10 lengths less than Rachel's victory.
Returning from injury will be jockey Rosie Napravnik who suffered a fracture in May at Churchill Downs. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez substituted in the Mother Goose.
Untapable is working out at Saratoga, having posted a five furlong work in her next to last breeze before the Haskell 13 days before the big race.
"I was very pleased with her, she breezed extremely well," said Asmussen, who trains Untapable for owner Ron Winchell. "Weather permitting, we'll breeze her again next Monday and then plan to ship her to Monmouth either Wednesday or Thursday of race week."
Another interesting aspect of running in the Haskell is the fact that the race is a Breeders' Cup "Win And You're In" stakes allowing the victor to secure a place in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. Zenyatta became the only female to win the Classic the same year Rachel edged her for Horse of the Year. Unfortunately, the two ladies never faced each other on the racetrack leaving for speculation the outcome.
For Untapable, her probable opponents in the Haskell will not include Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome. The colt is back at Los Alamitos where he is training for an undisclosed race. However, the field should include Preakness third-place horse Social Inclusion, Florida Derby runner-up Wildcat Red, Pegasus Stakes winner Albano and Long Branch champ Irish You Well.
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