Mandaloun Put Up In Haskell, Hot Rod Charlie DQd

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Mandaloun (inside) & Hot Rod Charlie | Sarah Andrew

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After a heart-stopping incident in the stretch, and heated battle to the wire between Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) and 'TDN Rising Star' Mandaloun (Into Mischief) in Saturday's whip-free GI Haskell Invitational S. at Monmouth, the former crossed the line a nose to the good, only to be taken all the way down to last and Juddmonte's Mandaloun crowned the official winner. With the win, Mandaloun earned an automatic berth to the GI Breeders' Cup Classic later this year.

Stretching-out 'Rising Star' Following Sea (Runhappy) seized the early lead entering the first turn as Hot Rod Charlie pressed in second with Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow) glued to his outside. Mandaloun saved ground just in behind. The field spread out down the backside, with Hot Rod Charlie showing a bit more rateability than he had when second in the GI Belmont S. to drop back and relax in third as Midnight Bourbon took over prompting duties. Mandaloun began to pick up the bit and travel strongly after a :47.32 half, and pilot Florent Geroux still had his mount under a tight hold as Midnight Bourbon struck the front following six panels in 1:10.64. Hot Rod Charlie quickly swarmed the new lead, and Mandaloun came off the fence to pass the tiring Following Sea. It was clear by midstretch that Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun were going to decide the outcome, but as they came together to begin their tussle, Midnight Bourbon was squeezed out from in between them and nearly went down, flinging rider Paco Lopez to the ground. The top two continued their battle to the end, with Midnight Bourbon picking himself up and galloping out apparently uninjured. Following Sea was more than 18 lengths back in third, but benefitted from the DQ himself, as he almost certainly would've finished fourth in a cleanly run race.

Lopez, removed from the track on a stretcher, escaped with just a soft tissue injury to his knee and ankle.

“I had my sights on Hot Rod Charlie,” said Geroux. “When Hot Rod Charlie tipped out, I decided to go inside. It was a very hard battle. Hot Rod Charlie was going to win by a neck and right at the end my horse came back and made it really close. Unfortunately for Hot Rod Charlie he came in and Midnight Bourbon clipped his heels and he got disqualified. I feel bad for the connections of Hot Rod Charlie because he ran a hard race and [jockey] Flavien Prat is a good friend of mine. I kind of feel bad for him. Honestly, I didn't know what happened until I came back and looked at the TV. It is not the best way to win, but Mandaloun ran a winning race and deserves this.”

Prat, who issued an apology to Lopez, said, “I am really proud of [Hot Road Charlie's] effort. He just clipped my heels. That's it.”

Saturday, Monmouth Park
TVG.COM HASKELL S.-GI, $1,005,000, Monmouth, 7-17, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:47.38, ft.
1–MANDALOUN, 119, c, 3, by Into Mischief
                1st Dam: Brooch (MGSW-Ire, $217,059), by Empire Maker
                2nd Dam: Daring Diva (GB), by Dansili (GB)
                3rd Dam: Aspiring Diva, by Distant View
1ST GRADE I WIN. 'TDN Rising Star'. O-Juddmonte;
B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Florent Geroux.
$600,000. Lifetime Record: 8-5-1-1, $1,651,252. Click for
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++.
*Triple Plus*.
2–Following Sea, 119, c, 3, Runhappy–Quick Flip, by
Speightstown. 'TDN Rising Star'. O/B-Spendthrift Farm LLC
(KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $200,000.
3–Antigravity, 119, c, 3, First Samurai–Port Charlotte, by Blame.
($4,000 Ylg '19 FTKOCT). O-Hollendorfer, LLC & Dennis
January;  B-Glen Oak Farm & Two Stamps Stables (KY); T-Jerry
Hollendorfer. $100,000.
Margins: 18 1/4, 4HF, 13 1/4. Odds: 3.10, 3.60, 56.50.
Also Ran: Pickin' Time, Basso, Midnight Bourbon, Hot Rod Charlie. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

This was Mandaloun's first official Grade I victory, but he may earn a second–via a different kind of DQ–if current GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico) is ultimately stripped of his title due to a betamethasone positive.

A winner of his first two tries, Mandaloun was third on the stretch out behind Midnight Bourbon in the GIII Lecomte S. at Fair Grounds in January before breakout win with blinkers added in the GII Risen Star S. a month later. He was a head-scratching sixth when Hot Rod Charlie invaded from California to take the GII Louisiana Derby Mar. 20, but belied nearly 27-1 odds to finish a half-length behind Medina Spirit–and ahead of Hot Rod Charlie by the same margin–in the Derby. Mandaloun prepped for the Haskell with a neck success in the June 13 Pegasus S.

“We got a really good trip,” Mandaloun's trainer Brad Cox said. “I thought it was a lot like our Kentucky Derby trip. He was saving ground. Florent did a good job of getting on the outside of Following Sea. Turning for home I thought we had a big shot at winning the race. I thought we ran a winning race. Didn't have our nose down at the wire, but all and all it worked out. I'm proud of the effort and the performance. He's always been a good colt, he has always been highly thought of. He deserves a Grade I victory. He's a Grade I horse and I'm glad it worked out today.”

As for the incident and subsequent DQ, last year's Eclipse-winning conditioner said, “Someone watching the race next to me said Hot Rod Charlie may come down. I was so focused watching Mandaloun, I didn't see the horse go down. It looked like he clipped heels, but I was not sure what happened. I was not sure if that horse ducked in behind Hot Rod Charlie or if Hot Rod Charlie came over on him. Once I saw the head-on and the replay, I saw it. It didn't take them long to change it and it was pretty obvious they would make a change.”

Cox also trains GI Belmont S. winner Essential Quality (Tapit), who is expected to make his next start in the GII Jim Dandy S. in two weeks.

“Both [Essential Quality and Mandaloun] have obviously been campaigned since last fall and all of 2021,” Cox said. “We're going to ship Mandaloun up to Saratoga and let him catch his breath. We'll catch our breath. Myself and Garrett [O'Rourke, manager of Juddmonte's U.S. division] will come up with a game plan in the near future. No need to make a decision now.”

O'Rourke said, “Ultimately I think Brad followed a very good plan. We got one over the track. He trained up here as well and we're sitting here today so we have to consider it a success.

“I know he's a genuine Grade I horse. There's no fluke to the way the horse runs. It's good that the horse justified how good a runner he is. He's a beautifully bred horse and he was extremely well prepared. We're extremely proud. It was an unusual race but we still feel like he ran a winning race and it tastes the same.”

Juddmonte founder Khalid Abdullah passed away this January at 84.

Pedigree Notes:

Mandaloun is the 10th Grade I winner for Into Mischief, who also has 98 stakes winners and 43 graded winners. The Spendthrift super sire had another stellar week in the sales ring as well–he was responsible for three of the four priciest yearlings at Fasig-Tipton July, including the $800,000 topper.

Former Juddmonte colorbearer Empire Maker has now produced the dams of seven Grade I winners, including three this year (Silver State {Hard Spun} and Rock Your World {Candy Ride [Arg]}).

Mandaloun is a fourth-generation homebred for his powerhouse operation. Juddmonte purchased his fourth dam Queen of Song (His Majesty) for $700,000 in foal to Seattle Slew at Keeneland November back in 1989. Mandaloun's dam Brooch was a two-time group winner in Europe and a half-sister to MSW & MGSP Caponata (Selkirk). He is her second foal and the 10-year-old mare has since produced a pair of colts by Into Mischief and a War Front colt this April. This is also the family of Irish Highweight Emulous (GB) (Dansili {GB}) and Group victor First Sitting (GB) (Dansili {GB}).

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