Heatwave pressure cancels horse races, delays $1M Haskell to 8 pm

Ruben Hill
July 21, 2019

After a 4 1/2-hour delay because of extreme heat and concern for the horses, Monmouth Park resumed its biggest card of the year, paving the way for the $1 million Haskell Invitational with Maximum Security to be run just before sunset.

The Bay colt appeared to make contact with King for a Day (who upset Maximum Security in last month's Pegasus Stakes) around the final turn and was pressed down the stretch by Mucho Gusto before taking the lead for good with approximately 3/8 to go. The horses were hosed down on the track after the races. The Jason Servis-trained Maximum Security covered the distance in 1:47.56 and paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.20. The only question was whether King for a Day committed a foul or King for a Day ran out of room as he tried to charge up the rail.

As they sped around the turn, Mucho Gusto and Maximum Security blew right by King for a Day and dueled it out to the toward the top of the stretch. "Racing is scheduled at Yonkers Raceway and the Meadowlands Racetrack on Saturday".

West, who is still fighting the Derby disqualification in federal court in Kentucky, is certain he has the best colt in the land.

When the speedy Joevia was scratched earlier in the day, it left a field of six and Maximum Security, the pacesetter in all but one of his races, figured to be the one to catch.

Into the backstretch, Bethlehem Road quickly faded, giving way to both Maximum Security and Mucho Gusto who moved up to join King for a Day.

Some protesters were seen outside the race track, calling on the organizers to cancel the races. Mucho Gusto brought back $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show, while Spun to Run paid $5.60 to show.

"Our priority will be the safety of the horses, jockeys and our fans", said Dennis Drazin, the chairman and chief executive of Darby Development LLC, operators of track on the New Jersey shore. Spun to Run finished third with Everfast in fourth followed by King for a Day and Bethlehem Road.

Monmouth Park says Sunday's races are off because of the heat.

Servis said that will ship Maximum Security to Saratoga in the coming days to prep for the Travers, but issued the caveat that it would only be 69 days between three tough races in the Pegasus Stakes, the Haskell and the Travers.

With racing under pressure because of many horse deaths horses in California, most East coast tracks on Friday canceled their Saturday cards, including Saratoga Race Course.

A mock cheer could be heard as Frank Mirahmadi called out the entrants for the race and the Monmouth Park track announcer quipped, "We appreciate this enthusiastic crowd for making some noise down there".

"It was unfortunate timing, " said Sacco, who didn't rule out conditioning his Belmont Stakes third-place finisher for next month's Travers if he can make a quick recovery. "The Haskell Invitational will now have a post time of 8:05 p.m".

In other stakes, Just Howard edged Divisidero by a head in the $150,000 Oceanport; Justaholic ($5) won the $75,000 Wolf Hill; War Story ($16) took the $200,000 Monmouth Cup and I'm So Fancy ($5.80) captured the $150,000 WinStar Matchmaker.

Midnight Bisou won her fifth straight stakes this year, capturing the $150,000 Molly Pitcher with Mike Smith riding. With exclusive media rights to the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and the Breeders' Cup Classic, viewers can watch the best contenders compete across the country between June and November.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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