Breaking Down The 2023 Haskell Stakes Field To Determine Picks For New Jersey’s Biggest Race

Written By Fairway Jay on July 21, 2023
horses leave starting gate at 2015 haskell stakes

There are plenty of storylines ahead of the Haskell Stakes on Saturday. The biggest day in New Jersey horse racing at Monmouth Park along the Jersey Shore includes five graded stakes on the 14-race card headlined by the $1 million Haskell, which has been a race for top 3-year-olds since 2006.

The winner of the 1 ⅛-mile Haskell also earns an automatic fees-paid entry into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

Recent Haskell winners that went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic include Bayern (2014), Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (2015) and Authentic (2020).

The horses will load the gate by 5:45 p.m. ET for the $1 million Haskell Stakes. Track announcer Larry Collmus will call the race for the 23rd time. Live race coverage on NBC Sports is from 5-6 p.m. as part of NBC Sports’ “Road to the Breeders’ Cup” series. The Haskell Stakes will also be streamed on Peacock.

We’ve added some NJ horse betting picks and insight for the big race, along with opening parimutuel odds following Wednesday’s post position draw.

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2023 Haskell Stakes odds/preview

This year’s field has two runners from the 2023 Kentucky Derby including winner Mage, the co-second favorite at 3/1 odds, according to FanDuel Racing NJ, with the Derby’s seventhth-place finisher and third-place Belmont Stakes runner Tapit Trice (3/1).

Three-time Haskell-winning Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher conditions Tapit Trice and jockey Luis Saez rides. Mage makes his first start since finishing third in the Preakness Stakes in mid-May, and Derby-winning jockey Javier Castellano rides again.

The tepid favorite is lightly-raced Arabian Knight (5/2), who looks like the controlling early speed of the race that lacks pace. And over a track that favors forwardly placed horses. He’s 2-for-2 winning by a combined 13 lengths.

Arabian Knight was a $2.3 million purchase as a 2-year-old, and he’s been training for controversial HOF trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita. Arabian Knight hasn’t raced since winning the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn in January and then taken out of training. Baffert has won the Haskell Stakes a record nine times. His other five Haskell starters finished second, including Taiba last year. Hall-of-Fame jockey John Velazquez rides him a third straight time.

Post PositionHorseTrainerJockeyMorning Line
1Geaux Rocket RideRichard MandellaMike Smith9/2
2Awesome StrongJorge DelgadoJose Batista30/1
3Salute the StarsBrad CoxJoel Rosario8/1
4MageGustavo DelgadoJavier Castellano3/1
5Tapit TriceTodd PletcherLuis Saez3/1
6HowgreatisnateElizabeth DoblesPaco Lopez20/1
7Extra AnejoSteve AsmussenTyler Gaffilione5/1
8Arabian KnightBob BaffertJohn Velazquez5/2

Looking at the rest of the Haskell Stakes field

Geaux Rocket Ride (9/2) was unraced as a 2-year-old but showed great speed in his first two races this year to win. He then finished second as the favorite in the Grade 2 San Felipe. Hall-of-Fame trainer Richard Mandella has not had a Haskell starter since winning it in 2000. And he ships this horse in for his first race outside of California against his strongest field to date.

Steve Asmusson is the other Hall-of-Fame trainer with a runner looking to cash in. Extra Anejo (5/1) makes his stakes debut in his fourth start. This Into Mischief colt was a $1.35 million yearling purchase, and the last two Haskell winners were sired by Into Mischief.

Trainer Brad Cox shoots for a third straight Haskell win with talented Salute the Stars (8/1). He won his stakes debut over this Monmouth course last month just ahead of Kentucky Derby runner Kingsbarns. The projected lack of pace is the race works against him.

Only three of the seven Kentucky Derby winners that have run in the Haskell have won the race. Mage is a son of 2018 Haskell winner Good Magic. And he’s posted the highest Beyer Speed Figure of any of this year’s Haskell runners. Tapit Trice has the other triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure when winning the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes this spring.

2023 Haskell Stakes picks and props: Best bets for Monmouth Park

The Haskell Stakes has been won by the post-time race favorite 27 times as fans ready for the 56th running of the Haskell at the Jersey Shore.

While underdog and value horses are preferred, and Cyberknife (7/1) was able to pull off the upset in last year’s Haskell over the two favorites, this pace and race favors Arabian Knight if he’s fit and ready off a layoff.

When looking at how to spend $50 on the Haskell Stakes, these picks jump out:

  • $20 on Arabian Knight to Win
  • $5 to Win and $10 to Place on Tapit Trice
  • $5 Exacta Arabian Knight / Tapit Trice, Mage, Salute the Stars

An Exacta is picking the first and second place horses in the correct order. Trifecta is 1-2-3 in correct order and Superfecta 1-2-3-4. The late Pick 4 and Pick 5 are popular exotic bets that are won if you correctly pick the winner of four or five consecutive races. .

Know that additional wagering with big prize pools on Haskell Day includes the special $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 and $250,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 5 that includes the Haskell and Grade 1 United Nations on the turf.

Photo by Mel Evans / AP Photo
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FairwayJay is a leading national sports and betting analyst. He reports, researches and writes on industry news and events providing insight and information you can bet on to engage and assist the avid fan. FairwayJay's tee-to-green coverage and contributions are provided throughout the PlayUSA network. Follow on Twitter: @FairwayJay

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