Big Brown 1-2 on morning line for Haskell
OCEANPORT, N.J. -- Big Brown will break from post 4, right in the middle, in his comeback Sunday in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is the 1-2 favorite on Monmouth oddsmaker Brad Thomas's morning line in the seven-horse field for the 1 1/8-mile race.
As usual, Kent Desormeaux will be aboard as Big Brown makes his first start since being pulled up in the Belmont Stakes.
"We're not supposed to get beat by the post position," said co-owner Michael Iavarone. "In this situation, Kent is likely to put the horse right up on the pace. Whether you draw the rail or the 7, it would be the same basic trip."
Magical Forest, winner of the Grade 3 Barbaro Stakes at Delaware Park last time out, has the rail with Jorge Chavez aboard for trainer Joe DeMola. Cool Coal Man, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth winner, breaks from the 2 hole as the 4-1 second choice with Eddie Castro riding.
"I think it's good," said trainer Nick Zito. "I like being inside there and hopefully we'll save some ground. He ran well over the track last time. He's a very nice horse starting to come into his own."
Cool Coal Man captured the Spend a Buck Stakes here on June 14.
Zito and owner Robert LaPenta also have Coal Play in the race. He breaks from post 6 with Joe Bravo set to ride.
Coal Play ran freakishly well in his Monmouth debut in late May, winning an allowance race by 9 1/4 lengths while earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.
He regressed in his next start here, finishing third in a second-level allowance with a wide trip in which he pressed the pace.
The two horses will race uncoupled in the wagering.
Alaazo has post 3. To Big Brown's outside, Nistle's Crunch has the 5. Then comes Coal Play and Atoned, the only Monmouth-based horse, in the outside slot for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the last two Haskells with Bluegrass Cat in 2006 and Any Given Saturday last year.