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Aug 10, 2007

Any Given Saturday gets Sunday Haskell win


Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Any Given Saturday, ridden by Garrett Gomez, gave trainer Todd Pletcher his second consecutive victory in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Last year Bluegrass Cat gave Pletcher the win with John Velazquez in the saddle.

The 1 1/8 mile race for three-year-olds was expected to be a showdown between Preakness winner Curlin and Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun. Curlin was sent off as the 4-5 favorite, while Hard Spun was the 9-2 third choice behind the eventual victor who was 9-5.

Local runner Cable Boy took the lead at the start followed by Hard Spun, Any Given Saturday and Xchanger in the seven horse field. Curlin and jockey Robby Albarado settled off the pace by about six lengths.

Cable Boy, with Jose Velez, Jr., took the field up the backstretch and into the far turn. On the turn Hard Spun, reunited with Mario Pino, assumed the lead with Curlin on the outside. Any Given Saturday was running in third.

Coming off the turn Hard Spun was in front with Curlin still to the outside. Any Given Saturday split the two colts and took the lead at the top of the stretch.

Any Given Saturday continued on to post a 4 1/2 length win over Hard Spun with Curlin finishing third. Imawildandcrazyguy was fourth followed by Cable Boy, Xchanger and Reata's Shadow. Stormello was scratched with a case of colic.

The time for the 40th running of the Haskell was 1:48.35 on a fast track.

The victory was worth $600,000 to move the colt to just under $1 million in his career. Owned by WinStar Farm and Padua Stable, Any Given Saturday has won five of eight career starts, including the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park early last month. WinStar Farm owned last year's winner Bluegrass Cat.

"The main reason that we felt like this was the right spot for Any Given Saturday is that it's a great race," Pletcher said about coming to Monmouth, "and we felt that was the most important thing. As far as deciding between the Jim Dandy versus the Haskell, you know, you're sort of splitting hairs when you're running against a horse like Street Sense or Curlin. You know you're going against the best three-year-olds in the crop. That part we felt like was a wash. The fact that the Haskell is a $1 million race and a grade one was sort of a tiebreaker."

Any Given Saturday was a little snake bit this year on the way to the Run for the Roses. He lost by a nose to Street Sense in the Tampa Bay Derby and was third in the Wood Memorial to Nobiz Like Shobiz. He finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby.

"This is a very different horse than the one that ran in the Wood Memorial and the Kentucky Derby," Pletcher said. "He's gained weight, become stronger. He's very focused in his training. I thought the Dwyer was a breakthrough performance for him."

Any Given Saturday returned $5.60, $4.00 and $2.10. Hard Spun paid $5.00 and $2.10, and Curlin paid $2.10 to show.

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