2021 Haskell Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By J. Keeler Johnson (TwinSpires.com)

1. Following Sea (3-1) – Talk about a wildcard! Following Sea is clearly one of the most talented horses in the Haskell field-just check out his 6 1/2-length win against older rivals in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance at Belmont, where Following Sea earned a flashy 108 Brisnet Speed rating. But can the son of Runhappy vie for victory while simultaneously stepping up against Grade 1 company and stretching out around two turns? That’s a difficult question.

2. Antigravity (30-1) – It’s tough to get a read on Antigravity. The dark bay colt lost his first 10 starts on tougher circuits, but has gone 2-for-2 since arriving at Monmouth Park, winning maiden and allowance races with sharp rallies. Should we attribute his turnaround to facing easier competition, or is he a true “horse for the course” specialist with any affinity for the Monmouth main track? A combination of both might be the answer, but regardless, Antigravity seems like the type who can settle off the pace before rallying late to snatch a spot in the Haskell superfecta.

3. Mandaloun (2-1) – Winner of the Risen Star S. (G2)… runner-up in the Kentucky Derby (G1)… third with a troubled journey in the Lecomte S. (G3)… Mandaloun has stamped his credentials as an elite member of this three-year-old crop. Normally a pace-tracking type, Mandaloun showed a new dimension in the Pegasus S. at Monmouth last month, overcoming a troubled start and a slow pace to rally and win by a neck. With a better setup in the Haskell, the son of Into Mischief can be a logical win threat for high-percentage trainer Brad Cox.

4. Hot Rod Charlie (6-5) – Just how strong an effort did Hot Rod Charlie produce when finishing second behind champion juvenile Essential Quality in the Belmont S. (G1)? Well, the son of Oxbow earned Brisnet E1, E2, and Late Pace ratings of 105, 107, and 108, alongside a powerful 110 Brisnet Speed rating. Any way you slice it, this was a massive performance, suggesting Hot Rod Charlie is still on the rise with plenty to offer during the second half of the season. The Louisiana Derby (G2) winner seems best when racing forwardly and is expected to vie for the lead again in the Haskell, setting the stage for a breakthrough Grade 1 victory.

5. Pickin’ Time (20-1) – Last year’s Nashua S. (G3) winner is a force to reckon with on his best day, but he’s been out of form since December, losing three straight races by double-digit margins. He disappointed when returning from a layoff in the May 28 Jersey Derby at Monmouth, fading to finish last of seven, so he’ll need a turnaround to factor in the Haskell. On the bright side, Pickin’ Time has thrown down three straight bullet workouts at Monmouth, hinting a bounce back might well be in the offing.

6. Midnight Bourbon (9-2) – By virtue of a runner-up effort in the Preakness S. (G1), Midnight Bourbon ranks among the most accomplished runners in the Haskell field. The consistent son of Tiznow has cracked the trifecta in half a dozen graded stakes, most notably defeating Mandaloun in the Lecomte S. (G3), but he’s lost both his matchups with Hot Rod Charlie and may need a step forward to take down the Haskell favorite.

7. Basso (30-1) – Four of Basso’s five starts have come at Monmouth Park, so it’s safe to say he has experience over the local course. But his lone victory came in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden sprint, and he’s already been defeated by Pickin’ Time in the Smoke Glacken S. and by Antigravity in a Monmouth allowance. With a career-best 85 Brisnet Speed rating to his credit, Basso has some form to find against this caliber of competition.