Brent Sedo | Sat 29/07/2017 - 06:13 EDT

Haskell Invitational 2017

Haskell Invitational Picks and Preview

In what is shaping up to be an excellent betting race, seven colts are expected to go to the gate on Sunday, with six of those having previously met in the Kentucky Derby.

Following the draw for post position, Irish War Cry was installed as morning line favorite at odds of 5-2. To say the Graham Motion trainee has been having an erratic three-year-old season would be putting it mildly. When he wins, as he did in the (G2) Wood Memorial or (G2) Holy Bull Stakes, he does so with authority. When he loses, as he did when he was one of the favorites in Kentucky but simply stopped running at the top of the stretch, he loses badly.

      Win or lose, however, he does always show enough early speed to get into a good forward position early in the race, which is always a positive in horse racing. He caught a bit of a bad break in drawing the #1 post position down on the rail, but with little other early speed in the race he should still be forward placed early. He comes into this off a good effort in the Belmont Stakes where he ran second, and needs to be considered in the exotic bets. As the favorite, however, it makes sense to try and beat him for the win.

      Second choice in the ML goes to the one horse in the field that didn't run the Kentucky Derby, and that's Timeline (3-1). Another with good early speed, he has yet to be beaten in four career starts, the last two of those at the graded-stakes level, and the most recent coming in the (G3) Pegasus Stakes on the Monmouth dirt - a previous win at the track and on the same surface is always a key handicapping consideration. There is some question as to the level of competition he has been facing (consider the second-place finisher in the Pegasus was 13 lengths ahead of the rest of the field) but if he can repeat his previous efforts against this better class of horses, he should be right in the mix.

      One that is looking to re-establish himself at the top of the three-year-old heap is McCraken (5-1) for trainer Ian Wilkes. After reeling off four straight wins in his first four races, he was a very dull third in his final prep before the Kentucky Derby. He then had some injury issues that set back his training, and may have cost him a better result in that race. He returned in mid-June to run very well in taking the (G3) Matt Winn Stakes, overcoming a bad stumble at the start. While this is a much better field, a return to the form he showed early in the year might just be enough for him to steal a big win here at what should be pretty good odds. 

      Rounding out the top contenders in a very evenly matched field, Practical Joke (4-1) has done little wrong in his eight-race career, finishing in-the-money in seven of those, with four wins. The chink in his armor is that he seems to have a mental block in races going over a mile, whereby he gets into position to win, but then just doesn't seem to be able to find an extra gear in deep stretch.

      As the featured race of the week in Bovada's racebook, you can bet the Haskell Invitational on Sunday through the Today's Tracks link on the Bovada racebook site, or with any other top-rated online racebook.

      Post time for the Haskell is 5:47 PM Eastern.

      Entries w/ ML Odds

      1) Irish War Cry (5-2)

      2) Battle Of Midway (5-1)

      3) Timeline (3-1)

      4) Practical Joke (5-1)

      5) McCraken (9-2)

      6) Hence (12-1)

      7) Girvin (6-1)

      OSB Picks

      #1 - McCraken

      #2 - Timeline

      #3 - Irish War Cry

      #4 - Practical Joke

      Category : Sports Betting News

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