By Tom Lucci — Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, Preakness winner Rombauer and the runners-up from all three Triple Crown races top the list of 16 nominations to the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes on July 17 at Monmouth Park, racing secretary John Heims and stakes coordinator Dove Ward announced Wednesday.
The Grade 1 Haskell Stakes is a “Win And You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, has not raced since winning the Kentucky Derby on May 1. Baffert has won the Haskell a record nine times. Baffert has indicated that the Haskell may come “too soon” for Medina Spirit.
Rombauer finished third in the Belmont Stakes after pulling off a mild surprise in the Preakness by winning at odds of 11-1. Michael McCarthy trains the Kentucky-bred son of Twirling Candy.
The connections of Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun, Preakness runner-up Midnight Bourbon and Belmont Stakes runner-up Hot Rod Charlie have all indicated they are strongly considering the Haskell Stakes, as are the connections of Rombauer, according to Heims.
Mandaloun prepped for Monmouth Park’s showcase event by winning the TVG.com Pegasus Stakes at the track on June 13.
Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie, third in the Kentucky Derby, waged an epic stretch battle with Essential Quality in the Belmont Stakes before grudgingly giving way late and finishing second.
The Haskell Stakes, at a mile and an eighth, headlines a card that includes the Grade 1 United Nations at a mile and three-eighths on the grass. The United Nations closed with 22 nominations.
There are three other graded stakes races on the Haskell undercard.
The full list of nominations to the 54th TVG.com Haskell Stakes:
- Brooklyn Strong
- Dr Jack
- Dynamic One
- Following Sea
- Hot Rod Charlie
- Medina Spirit
- Midnight Bourbon
- Pickin’ Time