Up the Backstretch: Tough day at the track for Untapable
07/28/2014 12:40 PM
07/28/2014 12:49 PM
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - If everything had gone according to the script that had been written, 3-year-old filly Untapable would have won Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational and put herself squarely in the Horse of the Year conversation.
Well, someone forgot to tell Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Martin Garcia, because they went and screwed everything up by winning another of Monmouth Park's premier race.
Bayern wasn't supposed to have the staying power for 1 1/8 miles after showing little in his previous efforts at that distance. He had become a top sprinter by winning Belmont Park's Woody Stephens Stakes and even had his trainer looking at future sprints for the colt.
"Before this, I said we were going to the King's Bishop (7f at Saratoga), but I don't think I'll back him up after this," Baffert said from California after the Haskell.
Untapable apparently didn't get a good start even though it didn't look that way on television.
"She didn't get away well at all, and was never in position to win the race the way the track was playing today," Steve Asmussen noted about his filly's race.
Jockey Rosie Napravnik put the blame on Social Inclusion who was next to Untapable and acted up just before the start.
"The horse next to us (Social Inclusion) acted up in the gate, so she got a little fussy and didn't get away well. We had the widest trip of everybody; she ran a hell of a race and ran as hard as she could," Napravnik said.
Her fifth-place finish against a pretty good field of 3-year-old males should do nothing to downgrade people's opinion about Untapable. Before Sunday, the filly had won all four starts this year by a total of 31 lengths and is clearly on her way to winning the Eclipse Award as 2014 champion filly.
Bayern, owned by Kaleem Shah, ran a sharp race as Garcia recorded his third Haskell victory and gave Baffert his seventh. The colt covered the 1 1/8 miles in near record time of 1:47.82.
"It's so exciting," Baffert exclaimed. "I was hoping he'd be able to get the mile and an eighth. Gary Stevens, after he rode him last time, said 'you have to let him route again. He'll just keep going.'
"We tried to slow him down in the past, but now we know we just have to utilize his speed. I didn't think he'd do it as devastating as that. It looks like he has it all together now.
"The only concern is that he needs to break. There is no Plan B."
Bayern won the Haskell by 7 1/4 lengths, one year after Verrazano won by 9 3/4 lengths. The 3-year-old colt won the Woody Stephens by seven lengths and is now a millionaire after pocketing $600,000.
Even more disappointing than Untapable's race was the one Medal Count put in on Sunday. Trained by Dale Romans, Medal Count was given a lot of praise before the Haskell and was sent off at 9-2 on the toteboard. But came up last in the nine-horse field after showing nothing during the race.
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