OCEANPORT – Jockey Florent Geroux was the first to admit that there are better ways to win than how he and Mandaloun won the $ 1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park.
“It’s not the best way to win, but Mandaloun had a winning race and deserves it.” Geroux said after Mandaloun was placed first in the race when original winner Hot Rod Charlie was disqualified for interfering with Midnight Bourbon just past the eighth pole of the 1⅛ mile race.
Hot Rod Charlie, the finalist of the Belmont Stakes, crossed the line one nose in front of Mandaloun.
The stewards, after an investigation, decided that Hot Rod Charlie, led by jockey Flavien Prat, had come on Midnight Bourbon, dragging Midnight Bourbon throwing jockey Paco Lopez to the ground, then running away before the outriders caught him at the turn of the clubhouse.
Midnight Bourbon was racing between Hot Rod Charlie outside and Mandaloun inside when the incident happened.
Florent Geroux: “I feel a little bad for him”
“Unfortunately for Hot Rod Charlie, he came in and Midnight Bourbon cut his heels off and he was disqualified,” said Geroux. “I feel bad for Hot Rod Charlie’s relationships because he had a tough race and Flavien Prat is a good friend of mine. I feel a little bad for him. Honestly, I didn’t know what was going on. was past until I came back and watched TV. ”
Hot Rod Charlie, the 4-5 favorite, was last in the field of seven.
Owner Ron Winchell said after the race Midnight Bourbon was doing fine.
Lopez was put on a stretcher and then in an ambulance, but Monmouth Park medical director Dr Angelo Chinnici said Lopez had not been taken to hospital.
“(Paco) has a soft tissue injury to his knee and right ankle,” Chinnici said. “He was alert and oriented. He took the (the last two races off the 14-race map) as a precaution. He said he was very disappointed because he thought he had a ton of horsepower. ‘ ‘
Lopez said he was fine.
“I’m fine, man. I’m fine. I’m just going to freeze myself,” Lopez said.
Prat apologized to Lopez in the jockey’s room.
“It happens, man,” Lopez told Prat.
Prat made a very brief comment on the incident.
“He (Midnight Bourbon) just cut off my heels. That’s it,” Prat said.
Mandaloun coach Brad Cox said he did not see the incident live.
“Someone watching the race next to me said Hot Rod Charlie could come down,” Cox said. “I was so focused looking at Mandoloun that I didn’t see the horse fall. It looked like he had cut his heels off, but I wasn’t sure what had happened.
“I wasn’t sure if this horse (Midnight Bourbon) hid behind Hot Rod Charlie or if Hot Rod Charlie came over him. Once I saw the frontline and the rerun, I saw him It didn’t take long for them to change it and it was pretty obvious that they would make a change. ”
Hot Rod Charlie had made a three-wide swing in the far turn after Midnight Bourbon took the lead in the far turn. Mandaloun and Geroux cut the gap in the far turn
A three-way battle
Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon and Mandaloun were briefly three across the track in the upper stretch.
With jockeys not allowed to whip horses under New Jersey’s no-whipping rule instituted this year, Hot Rod Charlie arrived on Midnight Bourbon as he and Mandaloun began to distance themselves from Midnight Bourbon.
The crowd of 20,983 moaned as Midnight Bourbon fell.
Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun were 18 1/4 lengths ahead of Follow Sea, who crossed the line in third.
Manalaloun, the 3-1 second pick, paid $ 8.20 to win. After Sea, the first race leader, was placed second. Antigravity was third and Pickin ‘Time was fourth.
The exact 3-1 paid $ 35 for a bet of $ 2. The 3-1-2 trio paid $ 133.85 for a 50-cent bet and the 3-1-2-5 superfecta paid $ 198.96 for a 10-cent bet.
It was the first Grade 1 victory for Mandaloun.
Mandaloun could also be the winner of the Derby
In the coming days, Mandaloun could win another grade 1 race by disqualification.
He crossed the wire in second, beaten by half a length by the Medina Spirit coached by Bob Baffert in the Kentucky Derby. However, he could be placed first in this race in the coming days if the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission disqualifies Media Spirit after failing a drug test after the race.
The first part of the race went according to plan as Follow Sea, coached by Todd Pletcher, the third choice 7-2, escaping the rail, cut the pace at the start.
He led Midnight Bourbon and Hot Rod Charlie past the stands for the first time and through a first quarter in 23.82.
After Sea Still Midnight Bourbon for a half mile in 47.32 with Hot Rod Charlie third and Mandaloun saving ground on rail fourth
“We had a great trip,” Cox said. I thought it was a lot like our trip to the Kentucky Derby. He was saving land. Florent did a good job to get outside of Follow Sea. Coming home I thought we had a great chance to win the race. ”
After Sea was still leading through six stages in 1: 10.64 with Midnight Bourbon second, Mandaloun third and Hot Rod Charlie fourth.
Midnight Bourbon, the 5-1 fourth pick, took the first step over Follow Sea on the far turn and briefly took the lead as Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun both started their trades.
“I had my sights set on Hot Rod Charlie. When the Hot Rod Charlie came out, I decided to go inside, ”Geroux said.
After the fall of Midnight Bourbon, Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun then ran nose to nose with the yarn, Hot Rod Charlie took a nosedive first.
“It was a very difficult battle. Hot Rod Charlie was going to win by a neck and just at the end my horse came back and did it really close, said Geroux.
Mandaloun secured an automatic place for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 6 in Del Mar as part of the “Win and You’re In” challenge series.
The Haskell winners have enjoyed success in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in recent years. Bayern (2014), Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (2015) and Authentic (2020) all won the classic.
Authentic won the Kentucky Derby before winning the Classic. The Haskell was raced ahead of the Derby last year because the pandemic caused a change in the racing schedule.
These three Haskell-Breeders’ Cup Classic winners were coached by Hall of Famer Baffert, which has a record nine Haskell winners.
It was one of the few times in recent years that Baffert did not have a horse in the Haskell.
Cox, who also coaches the winner of the Belmont Stakes Essential Qualify, said no decision has been made on Mandaloun’s next destination.
“We’re going to ship Mandaloun to Saratoga and let him catch his breath,” Cox said. “We will catch our breath. Myself and Garrett (Juddmonte Farms General Manager Garrett O’Rourke) will come up with a game plan in the near future. No need to make a decision now.”
“I know he’s a real Class 1 horse,” said O’Rourke. “There is no coincidence in the way the horse runs. It is good that the horse has justified how good a runner he is. He is a beautifully bred horse and he was extremely well prepared. We are. extremely proud, it was an unusual race but we still feel like he had a winning race and it tastes the same.
Mandaloun achieved a career record 102 Beyer Speed Figure. His final time of 1: 47.38 was 15 hundredths of a second faster than the 1: 47.53 Dr Post recorded when he won the $ 300,000 Class 3 Monmouth Cup four races before the Haskell.
Haskell Day business card
Jockey Joel Rosario won three of the stakes on the undercard – two of them for Pletcher. and coach Chad Brown won two of the undercard stakes.
Rosario won the $ 150,000 Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes with a late rally aboard the Great Island driven by Brown; Monmouth Cup with Pletcher-trained Dr Post and the $ 250,000 Grade 3 Molly Pitcher aboard the Pletcher-trained Graceful Princess 14-1.
Brown and Prat teamed up for a end-to-end victory in the top spot of the $ 500,000 United Nations Stakes with Tribhuvan.
The Critical Way, the 1-20 favorite, took home the $ 75,000 from the Wolf Hill Stakes.
Lopez had three winners on the card.
Tribhuvan recorded a Beyer speed figure of 102. Dr. Post had a Beyer speed figure of 101. Graceful Princess had a 96 Beyer and Great Island a 92 Bey
The total amount of the handle on the card was $ 16,414,535. The track grip was $ 1,170,950.