Making Money Keying Hot Rod Charlie in the Haskell Stakes

Gambling
Fans pack Monmouth Park for the 2015 Haskell Stakes. (Eclipse Sportswire)

What’s at stake in Saturday’s TVG.com Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park? A lot more than the winner’s share of the $1 million purse, that’s for certain.

weekend Television schedule

Thursday, July 15: 12:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, July 16: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, July 17: 1 p.m.-2 p.m. on FS1; 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.-7 p.m. and 8 p.m.-10 p.m. on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. on NBC; 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FOX; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, July 18: 1 p.m.-1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. on FS2; 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on TVG

Held over 1 1/8 miles, the Haskell awards a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Nov. 6 Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar, which is worth somewhere in the vicinity of $100,000-$110,000 in paid entry and travel fees. Plus, the Haskell carries Grade 1 status, an enticing prize since none of the seven entrants have previously won at the sport’s highest level.

That’s not to say the Haskell runners haven’t proven their worth against tough competition. To the contrary, the three favorites are the runners-up from the three legs of the Triple Crown (the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, Grade 1 Preakness Stakes, and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets), so catching a lucrative consolation prize in the Haskell would be a satisfying accomplishment.

Certainly #6 Midnight Bourbon has been waiting patiently for an opportunity like the Haskell to come along. The consistent son of Tiznow has cracked the top three in eight of his nine starts, even while competing in seven consecutive graded stakes. His lone miss came when a troubled start and a wide trip left him sixth in the Kentucky Derby, but he bounced back nicely in the Preakness, pressing the early pace before settling for second place.

But Midnight Bourbon will have to be at his best to defeat #3 Mandaloun. The two colts have met on four occasions, with each getting the better of the other twice. Mandaloun defeated Midnight Bourbon fairly and squarely in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford during the winter at Fair Grounds, and also finished ahead of his rival when second by half a length in the Kentucky Derby. Furthermore, there were extenuating circumstances surrounding Mandaloun’s losses to Midnight Bourbon – he completely misfired when sixth in the Grade 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, and he suffered wide trip from behind a slow pace when third in the Grade 2 Lecomte Stakes.

Mandaloun enters the Haskell in winning form, having rallied successfully after a troubled start to win the 1 1/16-mile TVG Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. But this effort – though solid – can’t compare from a speed figure perspective to the massive performance turned in by #4 Hot Rod Charlie when runner-up in the Belmont Stakes.

Hot Rod Charlie (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

The Belmont Stakes marked a career-best effort from Hot Rod Charlie, who has been on a steady ascent ever since finishing second in the 2020 Grade 1 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Back in March, he conquered Midnight Bourbon and Mandaloun in the Louisiana Derby, drawing off down the stretch to win by two lengths. And while he couldn’t quite edge Mandaloun in the Kentucky Derby, finishing half a length behind his rival in third place, Hot Rod Charlie ran out of his skin five weeks later in the Belmont Stakes.

Returning to the front-running tactics he employed in the Louisiana Derby, Hot Rod Charlie set fast fractions in the Belmont, dueling for the lead while daring his rivals to catch up. Down the lane, he was as tenacious as could be while battling to finish second, just 1 ¼ lengths behind reigning champion 2-year-old Essential Quality. The third-place runner – Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer – finished a staggering 11 ¼ lengths behind Hot Rod Charlie.

This effort produced a strong 110 Brisnet Speed rating, the highest figure earned by any horse in the Haskell field. If Hot Rod Charlie repeats this performance – and given how strongly he’s been training, there’s no reason to think he won’t – his Haskell rivals might be running for second place. Hot jockey Flavien Prat retains the mount, and trainer Doug O’Neill is removing Hot Rod Charlie’s blinkers, both positive signs.

Since speed horses have the best record of success in the Haskell, I’m optimistic Hot Rod Charlie will assume a forward position – perhaps tracking the promising sprinter #1 Following Sea – before kicking on down the homestretch to defeat Mandaloun and Midnight Bourbon. I recommend playing the race accordingly, using exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagers (depending on your budget) to make the most of playing Hot Rod Charlie on top.

Longshot #2 Antigravity, who boasts a 2-for-2 record at Monmouth Park, can be added to the bottom of trifecta tickets.

Wagering Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 exacta: 4 with 3,6 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $5 exacta 4 with 3,6

Wagering Strategy on a $30 Budget

$5 exacta: 4 with 3,6 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $5 exacta 4 with 3,6

$5 trifecta: 4 with 3,6 with 3,6 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $5 trifecta 4 with 3,6 with 3,6

$2.50 trifecta: 4 with 3,6 with 1,2 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $2.50 trifecta 4 with 3,6 with 1,2

Wagering Strategy on a $50 Budget

$9 exacta: 4 with 3,6 ($18)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $9 exacta 4 with 3,6

$5 trifecta: 4 with 3,6 with 3,6 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $5 trifecta 4 with 3,6 with 3,6

$2.50 trifecta: 4 with 3,6 with 1,2 ($10)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $2.50 trifecta 4 with 3,6 with 1,2

$1 superfecta: 4 with 3,6 with 1,2,3,6 with 1,2,3,6 ($12)

What to say at the betting window: Monmouth Park, 12th race, $1 superfecta 4 with 3,6 with 1,2,3,6 with 1,2,3,6

Good luck, and enjoy the race!

2021 TVG.com Haskell S.
July 17th, 2021

Winning Time: 1:47.38
  • Purse: $1,005,000
  • Distance: 1 1/8 Miles
  • Age: 3 yo
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:47.38
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
3 Mandaloun
$8.20
$4.00
$3.20
  • Owner / Juddmonte
  • Breeder / Juddmonte Farms Inc
2nd
1 Following Sea
$5.00
$3.80
3rd
2 Antigravity
$7.80
4th
5 Pickin' Time
5th
7 Basso
  • Breeder / Arthur St George & Lee Mauberret
6th
6 Midnight Bourbon
Payoff
Pick 3
9-10-3
9-10-3
$122
Pick 4
6-9-10-3
6-9-10-3
$796
Daily Double
10-3
10-3
$10
Exacta
3-1
3-1
$18
Superfecta
3-1-2-5
3-1-2-5
$199
Trifecta
3-1-2
3-1-2
$134
Payoff
Pick 3
9-10-3
9-10-3
$122
Pick 4
6-9-10-3
6-9-10-3
$796
Daily Double
10-3
10-3
$10
Exacta
3-1
3-1
$18
Superfecta
3-1-2-5
3-1-2-5
$199
Trifecta
3-1-2
3-1-2
$134

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