Haskell lures respected trio of Paynter, Dullahan & Gemologist
Baffert's previous Haskell winners are Coil (2011), Lookin at Lucky (2010), Roman Ruler (2005), War Emblem (2002) and Point Given (2001).
Dullahan captured both the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity last fall and the Grade 1 Blue Grass this spring on Polytrack, but the Dale Romans-trained colt distinguished himself on dirt when recording a fast-finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, overcoming an extremely wide trip to miss by only 1 1/4 lengths on the wire. The chestnut half-brother to 2009 Derby hero Mine That Bird turned in a disappointing seventh as a favorite last time in the Belmont Stakes, but Dullahan appears to be training forwardly for the Haskell, recording a five-furlong work in :59 4/5 last week at Churchill Downs. Kent Desormeaux regains the mount on the late runner.
Gemologist entered the Kentucky Derby with a perfect ledger, posting notable wins in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, and was bet down as the 8-1 third choice among 20 rivals. The bay son of Tiznow was in perfect position to challenge before inexplicably fading to 16th in the stretch, and it turned out that he had bruised a foot during the race. Gemologist will look to make amends off the freshening for Todd Pletcher and shows a pair of swift works at Saratoga in preparation. He figures to be up close tracking the pace with Javier Castellano.
Nonios is an up-and-coming colt who has run well in his first two stakes performances. He rallied to a half-length decision in the Grade 3 Affirmed two back, comfortably holding Grade 1 winner Liaison in second that afternoon, but could not overcome a tedious pace in the Swaps last time, finishing less than a length back of the front-running Blueskiesnrainbows. Corey Nakatani takes over the reins aboard the stalker.
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