Saturday Preview: Brown Returnees Feature On Haskell Preview Day

Grade I winner Gina Romantica returns in the Eatontown | Coady


While the $150,000 Pegasus S. (more on that below) serves as the local feeder into next month's GI Haskell Invitational S., the graded events on Saturday's Haskell Preview Day at Monmouth Park are set to mark the seasonal debuts for a pair of Chad Brown-conditioned Grade I winners from last term as well as a 'TDN Rising Star' from the same shedrow looking to kick start what connections hope will be a productive 4-year-old campaign.

Peter Brant's Gina Romantica (Into Mischief) makes her first appearance since taking out the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland last fall. The $1.025-million KEESEP yearling flashed ample ability on dirt, winning twice from four starts, but was reinvented as a grass filly in the second half of 2022. Upset winner of the Riskaverse S. at Saratoga when making her turf debut last August, she was a pace-compromised second in the GIII Pebbles S. before accounting for stablemate McKulick (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the QE II. Florent Geroux replaces fellow Frenchman Flavien Prat in the boot.

Tribhuvan (Fr) (Toronado {Ire}) returns to the site of his victory in the 2021 GI United Nations S. and can give Brown a remarkable seventh consecutive victory in the GIII Monmouth S. The all-the-way winner of last year's GI Manhattan S. was a pacesetting fourth behind stable companion Adhamo (Ire) (Intello {Ger} in defense of his United Nations title and makes his first trip to the races since a weakening sixth in the GI Sword Dancer Invitational S. at Saratoga last August. Among the competition is Never Explain (Street Sense), who annexed the GIII Dinner Party S. at Old Hilltop May 18.

Sandwiched between those races is the GIII Salvator Mile S. Artorius (Arrogate), who carries the famed Juddmonte silks, progressed rapidly at three, winning his maiden and 'Rising Star' honors at second asking before streaking away to win the restricted Curlin S. at Saratoga last July. Allowed to take his chance in the GI Runhappy Travers S., he was a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time sixth to Epicenter (Not This Time) and was a latest fourth in the seven-furlong Perryville S. at Keeneland last fall.

Quality Over Quantity in Bed o' Roses

It would be easy to say the connections of the four others entered for Saturday's GII Bed O'Roses S. at Belmont Park were dismayed when champion Goodnight Olive (Ghostzapper) was entered Wednesday, but given the strength of the competition, the reverse might also be true.

Last year's GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint heroine was the victim of some race riding and was forced to settle for third in the GI Derby City Distaff S. at Churchill Downs May 6, so revenge will be on their mind, but it may not be straight-forward. Derby City runner-up Wicked Halo (Gun Runner) lines up a few doors down, while the in-form Beguine (Gun Runner) and GII Vagrancy S. victress Caramel Swirl (Union Rags) add to the intrigue.

Pegasus, Monomoy Girl Lure Big Names

The Pegasus has attracted a field of eight mostly exposed 3-year-olds, topped by a pair of shippers from the barn of Todd Pletcher. Kingsbarns (Uncle Mo) looks a standout and is unlikely to jump at anything close to his 8-5 morning line, having wired the field in the GII Louisiana Derby before wilting to 14th after attending the sizzling pace in the GI Kentucky Derby six weeks ago. Classic Catch (Classic Empire) was a wide-trip and creditable fifth in the GII Wood Memorial S. two back, and his fourth in the GIII Peter Pan S. looks considerably better given what Arcangelo (Arrogate) did around Big Sandy last weekend.

Saturday's relocated Monomoy Girl S. also looks a two-horse affair on paper. Wet Paint (Blame), who made a belated run to be fourth behind the commonly owned 'TDN Rising Star' Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) when favored in the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks May 5, squares off against Hoosier Philly (Into Mischief), who failed to make the Oaks cut but hinted at a return to form with a runner-up effort in the GII Black-Eyed Susan S. at Pimlico May 19.

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