Top three-year-old filly Untapable breezed an easy half-mile in :50 1/5 over Saratoga's fast Oklahoma training track on Monday, completing her major preparations for her tilt versus males in Sunday's Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth. Exercise rider Mike Callaham was aboard the Steve Asmussen trainee.
"So far everything is good. She cooled out good," assistant trainer Darren Fleming said. "She's on schedule to ship in on Thursday morning."
A homebred campaigned by Ron Winchell, Untapable is undefeated from four starts in 2014 by a combined margin of 31 lengths. When she takes on a contentious field in the Haskell, it will be the filly's first try against males, but Asmussen is no stranger to crossing that line.
In 2009, he sent Kentucky Oaks and Preakness Stakes winner Rachel Alexandra to Monmouth Park for the Haskell and she cruised to a six-length victory on her way to Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old filly honors. Now Untapable will try to become only the third filly to win the Haskell and join Hall of Fame member Serena's Song (1995) in the record books.
"It worked out pretty well for Rachel. There are no compunctions about sending her to the Haskell," Fleming said.
Untapable, an earner of $1,304,725 from an overall record of 8-6-0-1, spent the winter at Asmussen's base at the Fair Grounds, where she took the Rachel Alexandra and the Fair Grounds Oaks. Relocating to Churchill Downs in the spring, she drew off by 4 1/2 lengths in the Kentucky Oaks. Traveling to Belmont Park for the June 28 Mother Goose proved no problem last time out, and she coasted to a 9 1/4-length decision.
"We hope she settles in good. She did when she shipped to New York," Fleming said.
Untapable is by Tapit and out of Fun House, another Winchell homebred who incidentally was bred back to North America's leading sire Tapit on the morning of the Kentucky Oaks.
Fun House, termed a "superstar broodmare" by her owner, has a well-earned reputation for being all business. Like mother, like daughter.
"Untapable likes to be by herself and doesn't like a lot of attention from people. She can be warm and fuzzy, but only when it's her idea," Fleming said.
Regular rider Rosie Napravnik, who was replaced in the irons for the Mother Goose by John Velazquez while she was sidelined with a shoulder injury, will be back aboard for the Haskell. She aims to make history as the first female jockey to win Monmouth's signature race. In 2013, Napravnik finished second on Power Broker in the Haskell and won the Molly Pitcher on Joyful Victory and the Matchmaker on Starstruck on the undercard.
Bayern worked at Del Mar Monday for Bob Baffert, the Haskell's all-time leading trainer (Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos) Likely to face the filly Untapable in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell are Albano, a 6 1/2-length winner of the June 15 Pegasus at Monmouth; Bayern, who exits a smashing conquest of the June 7 Woody Stephens on Belmont Day; Irish You Well, Just Call Kenny and Encryption, the respective trifecta from the final local prep, the July 5 Long Branch; Medal Count, last seen finishing third in the Belmont Stakes; Gulfstream track record-setter Social Inclusion, subsequently third in the Wood Memorial, Preakness and Woody Stephens; and Fountain of Youth winner Wildcat Red, a 10 1/4-length romper in the June 28 Quality Road at Gulfstream.
Bayern posted his final serious drill at Del Mar on Monday, covering five-eighths over the Polytrack in :59 4/5. His Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert already owns the record with six career Haskell victories.
The field for this year's 47th renewal of the Haskell will be drawn at noon (EDT) on Thursday.
The Haskell will be televised live on NBC and is part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Series, with the victor getting an automatic berth to the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 1.
A limited number of reserved Haskell seats remain available and can be purchased by calling (732) 571-5563, or by visiting the reserved seat booth (second floor of the Grandstand) on any live racing day. In addition, fans can pre-purchase Haskell seats directly through monmouthpark.com.