Hot Rod Charlie Favored From Gate Four in Haskell


Hot Rod Charlie | Equi-Photo

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), third in the GI Kentucky Derby and runner-up to Essential Quality (Tapit) when last seen in the GI Belmont S. June 5, was installed the 6-5 morning-line favorite and was assigned gate four in a field of seven sophomores for Saturday's $1-million GI Haskell S. at Monmouth Park. Flavien Prat has the call for trainer Doug O'Neill.

“I think it sets up perfectly for us,” Greg Hahn, whose Roadrunner Racing campaigns Hot Rod Charlier in partnership with Boat Racing LLC, William Strauss and Gainesway Stable, told a national media teleconference Wednesday. “We have a speed horse to the inside of us, we're right there in the middle of the gate. 'Charlie' is a pretty versatile runner. The last couple of races we went out strong, but I would imagine a similar race to his last couple. Flavien knows him really, really well. I think it will all come down to how Hot Rod Charlie breaks and he'll adjust accordingly. I have total confidence in him, we couldn't be luckier to have a rider like him.”

'TDN Rising Star' Mandaloun (Into Mischief) finished one spot ahead of Hot Rod Charlie in the Run for the Roses before taking this track's Pegasus S. June 13. The Juddmonte homebred is pegged as the 2-1 second favorite for trainer Brad Cox and Florent Geroux.

“I think there's going to be some speed in there,” said trainer Brad Cox, who will also saddle Arklow (Arch) in the GI United Nations S. and Juliet Foxtrot (GB) (Dansili {GB}) in the GIII Matchmaker S. “Ultimately we're going to play the break. He was obviously ahead of Hot Rod Charlie in the Kentucky Derby, but we'll play the break. I like the way it looks based off the posts.”

Spendthrift Farm's 'TDN Rising Star' Following Sea (Runhappy) looks for his third straight win as he tries a route of ground for the first time in his career. A 5 3/4-length maiden winner at Oaklawn in April to earn the Rising Star designation and in his first start for the Todd Pletcher barn, Following Sea followed with a 6 1/2-length allowance success at Belmont Park June 3. Joel Rosario is likely to ride from speed from the rail.

The field for Saturday's GI Haskell S.

1 Following Sea (Runhappy), Pletcher, Rosario, 3-1
2Antigravity (First Samurai), Hollendorfer, Cohen, 30-1
3 Mandaloun (Into Mischief), Cox, Geroux, 2-1
4 Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), O'Neill, Prat, 6-5
5 Pickin' Time (Stay Thirsty), Breen, Juarez, 20-1
6 Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow), Asmussen, Lopez, 9-2
7 Basso (Cairo Prince), Sacco, Castillo, 30-1


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