Horse racing's summer season is underway with three-year-old stakes action in Saratoga Springs, New York and Oceanport, New Jersey. That's a far cry from Louisville, Kentucky, but many of the horses running in this weekend's featured stakes races at Saratoga Race Course in New York and Monmouth Park in New Jersey became household names the first week in May when all eyes centered on Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.
We'll have to wait to see Kentucky Derby winner Orb make his summer return. After a freshening at Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center in Maryland, he's begun working toward a run in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes (Saratoga Aug. 24).
The Preakness winner and sixth-place Kentucky Derby finisher, Oxbow, will go after the Grade 1 William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday. Palace Malice, who set a blazing pace early in the Kentucky Derby only to finish 12th, but redeemed himself and his sire, Curlin, when he won the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes in June, will attempt the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday. An analysis of the Haskell follows. Click here for Jim Dandy analysis.
Installed as the second choice on the morning-line at 2-1 in the seven-horse field for Sunday's Grade 1 $1,000,000 William Hill Haskell is D. Wayne Lukas's Preakness winner, Oxbow. The recently un-retired jockey Gary Stevens and Oxbow took the Preakness in wire-to-wire fashion and had the lead in the Belmont until overtaken by Palace Malice midway through the race. Although he won’t have to worry about Palace Malice,who will be running in the Jim Dandy a day earlier, Oxbow will likely find his greatest challenge in fellow Kentucky Derby contenders Golden Soul and Verrazano.