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Aug 06, 2004

Lion Heart and Rock Hard Ten top Haskell field

By: Sports Network


Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Lion Heart and Rock Hard Ten, the

two horses that finished second to Smarty Jones in this year's Triple

Crown series, head the field in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational

at Monmouth Park.

The Haskell is Monmouth's signature race and has attracted nine

three-year- olds for the 1 1/8 mile test.

Coming in as the 9-5 morning-line favorite is the speedy Lion Heart, who

set the pace in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He finished

second in the Run for the Roses and fourth in the Preakness, but is

coming off a victory in the Long Branch Stakes, which serves as Monmouth's

prep race for the Haskell.

Lion Heart will start from post four with Joe Bravo in the saddle. This

year Lion Heart has just the one win and three second-place finishes for

$470,000. He is owned by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, and trained by

Patrick Biancone.

Bravo indicated that he might try a different tactic with Lion Heart. "We

can sit off the pace. We'll have to see what other pace these other horses

are going to be doing and we'll let him decide."

Starting next to Lion Heart in the five post will be Rock Hard Ten, who

captured the Swaps Stakes last time out. Previously, he was fifth in the

Belmont Stakes and second in both the Preakness and Santa Anita Derby,

though was disqualified to third at Santa Anita. Rock Hard Ten will be

ridden by Corey Nakatani for trainer Jason Orman and the Mercedes Stable.

The colt has earned $630,380 this year after not starting in 2003.

Orman likes post five for the often unruly colt. "That's a good spot for

him," said the trainer. "Corey can kind of figure out what the pace is

going to be, put him where he needs to be from there."

A surprise entrant in the Haskell is Illinois Derby winner Pollard's

Vision. The three-year-old is also entered in the West Virginia Derby

for Saturday and is the 9-5 favorite there. Pollard's Vision is 5-1 in

the morning-line at Monmouth Park with Eibar Coa set to ride. Trained by

Todd Pletcher, Pollard's Vision secured post eight. He took the Leonard

Richards Stakes at Delaware Park in mid-July.

"I know he's also named on Saturday," Coa said. "I don't have the answer

right now which one I'm going to be riding."

Completing the field for Haskell are My Snookie's Boy, Pies Prospect,

Royal Assault, Wimplestiltskin, Tap Day and Swingforthefences.



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