How to bet with, and against, Arabian Knight in the Haskell Stakes

July 20th, 2023

An octet of leading three-year-olds will go postward in the lucrative $1 million Haskell S. (G1) at Monmouth Park on Saturday. The 1 1/8-mile contest is led by morning-line favorite #8 Arabian Knight (5-2), who has yet to be headed from a pair of lifetime tries in advance of Saturday.

Trained by Bob Baffert who has already sent out nine winners of the event, Arabian Knight was unveiled on November 5 at Keeneland and left little doubt when smashing maiden special weight foes by more than seven lengths. The $2.3 million juvenile purchase stretched out to a mile and tackled graded foes in his second assignment, and the result was mostly the same as he led in gate-to-wire fashion, ultimately crossing the wire 5 1/2 lengths in front under moderate urging.

The bay colt has flashed brilliance, the ability to rate on the lead, as well as a powerful closing kick, to this stage of his development. He smoked a bullet six furlongs at Santa Anita in his latest morning move and will be sent from the break with regular rider John Velazquez in the silks.

Kentucky Derby (G1) winner #4 Mage (3-1) will make his return following a third-place result in the Preakness S. (G1) in his latest endeavor. Trained by Gustavo Delgado, the son of Good Magic possesses a big turn of foot and I fully expect him to thrive on the local surface on Saturday. The chestnut colt lands in a field with ample early pace to set his late run up in the lane, unlike the scenario that he encountered at Pimlico. Javier Castellano retains the ride atop the classic-winning Kentucky bred.

#1 Geaux Rocket Ride (9-2) has a lot of appeal as a talented horse with a versatile running style, as well as an advantageous rail post. The Richard Mandella pupil is still lightly raced with room to move forward, and his easy prep score in the Affirmed S. last time out will have him ready for his toughest test to date. I envision the bay tracking the early action from third while saving all the ground to the turn for home with Mike Smith picking up the mount.

I have a lot of respect for Blue Grass S. (G1) winner #5 Tapit Trice (3-1) in general, but this surface and field could pose major problems for the Pletcher pupil. The talented son of Tapit is among the top horses in his crop, but the Monmouth strip has long been unkind to deep closing types and this grinder might be up against it from well off of the early pace under Luis Saez. I will still include the colt in some of my wagers, just not in the top slot.

Arabian Knight – With

  • $15 trifecta: key 8 with 1,4 ($30)
  • $1 superfecta: key 8 with 1,4 with 1,3,4,5,7 with 1,3,4,5,7 ($24)

Arabian Knight – Against

  • $30 win: #4 Mage ($30)
  • $1 trifecta: 1,4 with 1,4,8 with all ($24)