Untapable installed as favorite in Haskell - NBC Sports

Untapable installed as favorite in Haskell
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July 25, 2014, 6:30 pm

Untapable will make her first start against males in Sunday's Grade 1, $1 millionHaskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and the star three-year-old filly is listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite in a nine-horse field that includes last-out stakes winners Bayern, Wildcat Red, Albano and Irish You Well as well as classic-placed sophomores Medal Count and Social Inclusion.

She will attempt to become only the third filly to win the 1 1/8-mile Haskell, joining Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and Hall of Famer Serena's Song, and the stalker drew well in post No. 7 in the speed-laden field.

"I think it's an excellent draw considering the field," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "With the performance she gave in the Kentucky Oaks and how she's trained since we felt that this was the right time to give the Haskell a chance."

Untapable has dominated her own division in spectacular fashion. She's captured all four starts this year by a combined 31 lengths, with the smallest winning margin being 4 1/2 lengths as she's garnered a pair of Grade 1s, a Grade 2 and a Grade 3 stakes, and the bay lass earned career-best 108 BRIS Speed rating in her lone attempt at Sunday's distance, the May 2 Kentucky Oaks.

Rosie Napravnik missed her last outing, a facile 9 1/4-length triumph in the June 28 Mother Goose, due to an injury, but she'll be back aboard the daughter of Tapit.

"We've had a great year with her so far," Asmussen added. "We're very pleased that she could continue to give more of the same as far as just being a nice talented filly that's doing extremely well."

Bob Baffert, who has trained a record six Haskell winners, will send out Bayern, an impressive 7 1/2-length romper in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The Offlee Wild colt will be stretching back out in distance, earning a 108 Speed figure at seven furlongs last time, but he recorded a 15-length allowance win going two turns earlier this season and also finished third in the Arkansas Derby.

"The Haskell is basically an addition to the Classics," Baffert said. "It's so important to win, and it's very exciting. I really enjoy when I have a horse that's good enough to run in the Haskell."

Martin Garcia replaces Gary Stevens aboard the improving front-runner and Bayern is the early 5-2 second choice. Exercise

Albano enters on the upswing for conditioner Larry Jones, registering a smashing 6 1/2-length victory in the June 15 Pegasus at Monmouth. That marked the first start since March for the son of Istan, who recorded a nose second in the Risen Star earlier this season, and Albano will look to carry his momentum forward with regular rider Kerwin Clark. He's the 6-1 third choice on the morning line.

Belmont third-placer Medal Count and Preakness third-placer Social Inclusion both come next at 8-1. Medal Count captured the Transylvania and finished second in the Blue Grass at Keeneland before a troubled eighth in the Kentucky Derby, and the Dale Romans-trained colt showed he could handle dirt when finishing only a length back of Tonalist in the final leg of the Triple Crown. Robby Albarado rides. Social Inclusion stretches back out to a route following a third in the Woody Stephens and brings plenty of speed to the Haskell equation. Edgar Prado picks up the assignment.

Wildcat Red also possesses an abundance of speed and the Grade 2-winning colt rebounded nicely from an 18th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, posting a 10-length tally in the June 28 Quality Road at Gulfstream Park. Luis Saez sticks with the Jose Garoffalo charge and Wildcat Red is listed at 10-1 along with stakes victor Just Call Kenny, who exits a close second in the July 5 Long Branch at Monmouth.

Long Branch winner Irish You Well has captured two straight starts locally and the early 12-1 eighth choice picks up a new jockey in Jose Lezcano. Pegasus runner-up and Long Branch third Encryption, an outsider at 20-1 on the morning line, rounds out the field.

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