The Brock Talk

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Haskell Purse Up To $1.25 Million In Effort To Attract Mine That Bird

In an effort to attract a full field and possibly Kentucky Derby presented by Yum Brands winner Mine That Bird, Monmouth Park has increased the purse of the grade 1 Haskell Invitational by $250,000 to $1.25 million.

Currently expected for the Aug. 2 Haskell are Blackberty Preakenss (gr. 1) winner Rachel Alexandra, Arkansas Derby (gr. 2) winner Papa Clem, Tom Fool Stakes (gr. 2) winner Munnings, Longbranch Stakes winner Atomic Rain. Iowa Derby winner Duke of Mischief is also a current possibility.

However, Mine That Bird trainer Chip Woolley Jr. said Thursday morning that he will be placing the Derby winner on a van Friday headed for Mountaineer Park and the grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby to be run Aug. 1.

The new purse distribution will pay $700,000 to the Haskell winner, $250,000 to the runner-up, $125,000 to third, $85,000 to fourth, $50,000 to fifth, and $20,000 to sixth through last. Typically purse money in Thoroughbred races is paid down to fifth and possibly sixth place only.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club reported a record crowd of 44,907 for the July 22 season opener. That figure exceeded the previous all-time record crowd of 44,181 set in 1996 when Dare and Go upset Cigar in the Pacific Classic (gr. I). Attendance for last year’s Del Mar first day was 43,459.

Jay Privman reported on Thursday that injured jockey Rafael Bejarano may be back in action as early as two or three weeks. Bejarano suffered multiple fractures in his cheek and jaw when is mount Mi Rey broke down in the third race at Del Mar Wednesday and had surgery to repair the injury at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Ca.

Bejarano's jaw was not as badly damaged as first feared. He did not need to have it wired shut, according to the post. "He'll have rubber bands holding it, so he'll be able to open his mouth and at least have soft foods, not be confined to just liquids," his agent Joe Ferrer said to Privman. "His face looked like he went 15 rounds with Mike Tyson."

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