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Horse Racing

Early favorite, Good Magic, headlines the Haskell Invitational

Good Magic opened as a 6-5 favorite for the 51st running of The Haskell Invitational.

On Sunday the running of the 51st renewal of the betfair.com Haskell Invitational will take place at Monmouth Park. Before that, the draw for the annual race took place on Thursday. The draw is significant as it reveals what gate each horse will come out. In many cases, the starting gate could be a make or break proposition for the horse and its jockey.

This year’s race is in the middle of a resurgence for Monmouth Park. A Supreme Court ruling in May made sports gambling legal everywhere in the country. Upon that decision, the racetrack opened the Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill. Monmouth Park has seen their attendance improve, which is due to both the sports book along with the quality of racing at the park this season.

“Monmouth Park is now on a firm basis to go into the future for the next 100-plus years and stay here with some stability, with no further worries about not being able to open in subsequent years,” proclaimed Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin during the Haskell press conference.

The big name heading into this year’s race is Bravazo. The horse, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, ran in all three legs of the 2018 Triple Crown. The Dark Bay colt finished second in the Preakness behind eventual Triple Crown winner Justify. Bravazo is closely related to 2012 Haskell winner Paynter and 2013 Preakness winner Oxbow. In his 12 career stars, he has won nine races and placed second twice.

“I feel comfortable I’m going to get a good effort from him,” said Lukas, who is going into his 14th Haskell. He won with Serena’s Song in 1995.

“It’s not going to be easy, I know that. I really believe his best races are ahead of him.”

The local favorite may be Lone Sailor, guided by legendary New Jersey jockey Joe Bravo. The Eatontown resident has 5,000 career wins and will be participating in his 16th Haskell. He won in 2004 with Lion Heart in addition to his 12 other titles at Monmouth Park, a record. “Jersey Joe” could be a dark horse as the crowd may pull for the born and raised Jersey Boy.

Many of the trainers in this year’s race have Monmouth Park ties. However, three local trainers call the tri-state area their home. Robert “Butch” Reid Jr. (Navy Commander) was born in Camden while Kelly John Breen (Roaming Union) was born in Perth Amboy, just 20 miles from Monmouth Park.

“I’m Jersey-bred. As a kid, The Haskell was everything. This is where I first came to the track,” said Breen. “They have a dawn patrol here; I was doing it when I was 12 years old. It’s really tough to say anything else besides I love Monmouth Park.”

Here is the complete draw for the 51st renewal of the betfair.com Haskell Invitational, including the odds and the jockey for each horse.

Race Draw

1. Lone Sailor (Joe Bravo) 5-1

2. Navy Commander (Angel Arroyo) 12-1

3. Roaming Union (Albin Jimenez) 10-1

4. Core Beliefs (Flavien Prat) 4-1

5. Bravazo (Luis Saez) 3-1

6. Good Magic (Jose Ortiz) 6-5

7. Golden Brown (Jairo Rendon) 15-1

Haskell Day at Monmouth Park on Sunday will feature 14 races. The betfair.com Haskell Invitational being the 12th race of the day (post time 5:47 p.m.). Gates to Monmouth Park will open at 7:30 a.m. with the first race post time set from noon. For those not be able to attend, the Haskell Invitational race will be broadcast on NBC beginning at 5 p.m. The entire day of racing can be seen on TVG. For more information, check out the betfair.com Haskell Invitational website.

Stay with Double G Sports for complete coverage of the Haskell Invitational from Monmouth Park this Sunday.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for DoubleGSports.com as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow DoubleGSports.com writer Jason Cordner.
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