Nearly always an exceptional race, this year’s Grade I, $1 million Haskell Invitational got a boost on Wednesday when trainer Keith Desormeaux announced that Preakness winner Exaggerator would ship to Monmouth Park to run instead of staying at Saratoga to run in the Grade II, $600,000 Jim Dandy. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the race eight times and five times in the last six years, including last year with American Pharoah. Used to being the favorite, this year he’s the third choice behind the Kentucky Derby and Belmont winners. Exaggerator’s appearance means that the top three finishers in this year’s Kentucky Derby face off again: Nyquist, Exaggerator, and Gun Runner respectively. Exaggerator
When chaos is standard operating procedure, expect chaos, so that, when there’s a horse race involving many hundreds of thousands of dollars in stakes and many more millions in Triple-Crown-quality horses, we can be sure that we’ll see changes. On cue, then, Gun Runner’s trainer Steve Asmussen shipped his mount from Saratoga to Monmouth yesterday, to run in this weekend’s Grade I Haskell Invitational – as opposed to staying in Saratoga for this weekend’s Grade II Jim Dandy. Not least, a few hours ago, the Desormeaux brothers decided to move Preakness winner Exaggerator from the Jim Dandy to the Haskell as well, causing some delay in the NYRA’s announcement of the Jim Dandy post positions and latest odds, which are below.