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Jul 26, 2013

Verrazano and Oxbow head Haskell


Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Wood Memorial winner Verrazano and Preakness Stakes champ Oxbow headline a field of seven 3-year-olds in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

The top two colts will be separated by one post in the starting gate for the 1 1/8-mile race and are even closer in the morning-line. Verrazano is the 9-5 top pick with Oxbow right behind at 2-1. Power Broker is the 3-1 third pick.

Verrazano will start from the far outside post with John Velazquez riding, while Oxbow will again have the other Hall of Fame jockey in the field, Gary Stevens, in the saddle and break from post 5.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Verrazano won the Pegasus at Monmouth on June 16 by 9 1/4 lengths in his first start since finishing 14th in the Kentucky Derby.

"He'll continue to train up at Saratoga and ship down race day," co-owner Bryan Sullivan said.

The colt has earned $951,300 in six career starts winning five, including the Tampa Bay Derby.

Oxbow, owned by Calmuet Farm, won the second leg of the Triple Crown after finishing sixth behind Orb in the Kentucky Derby and subsequently came in second to Palace Malice in the Belmont Stakes.

Earlier this year, he won the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds and was fourth in the track's Risen Star Stakes. Shipping to Oaklawn Park, he was second in the Rebel Stakes and fifth in the Arkansas Derby.

The colt has won three of 12 lifetime starts for $1,183,500.

Oxbow's trainer, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, won the 1995 Haskell with Serena's Song with Stevens riding. The jockey also won the race in 2001 with Point Given.

Power Broker comes from the barn of Hall -of-Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Haskell six times, including the last three. The chestnut colt will start from post 4 with Rosie Napravnik getting her third ride on the horse.

"This horse the way he's been training deserves a chance," Baffert noted.

Most recently, Power Broker won the Easy Goer Stakes at Belmont Park last month and has captured his last two starts, both with Napravnik in the saddle. In his first start of 2013, the colt was fifth to Goldencents in the Santa Anita Derby.

Power Broker has found the winner's circle three times in eight career starts for $378,800.

Here is the full field for the Haskell in post position order: .Vyjack, Paco Lopez, 12-1; Pick of the Litter, Jesus Castanon, 15-1; Golden Soul, Robby Albarado, 8-1; Power Broker, Rosie Napravnik, 3-1; Oxbow, Gary Stevens, 2-1; Micromanage, Joe Bravo, 6-1 and Verrazano, John Velazquez, 9-5.

The Haskell has an estimated post-time of 6:20 p.m. (ET).

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