OCEANPORT, N.J. — As a fast-rising star in the 3-year-old ranks, King for a Day has earned a shot at proving himself on a bigger stage, trainer Todd Pletcher said.
That stage appears as if it will be the July 20 TVG.com Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, which would set up a second showdown with Maximum Security. It was a one-length victory over Maximum Security in the TVG.com Pegasus Stakes on June 16 at Monmouth that helped King for a Day insert himself as a late-comer to watch in a muddled year for 3-year-olds.
“He’s doing excellent,” Pletcher said of King for a Day, who is based in New York. “He’s training very well. I’m pleased with where he is right now.
“Coming off the win in the Pegasus Stakes the Haskell is definitely at the top of our list. I think we’ll make a final decision after his next breeze, which will be Friday.”
In addition to Maximum Security, the first horse to be disqualified after winning the Kentucky Derby, and King for a Day, the list of likely starters for the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational includes Joevia, Mucho Gusto, Chilly in Charge and Spun to Run.
Trainer Bret Calhoun said he would make a decision on Mr. Money on Monday.
The list of possible starters includes Everfast, Harvey Wallbanger, Laughing Fox, Math Wizard, Tax and Lexitonian.
Owned by Red Oak Stable, King for a Day has blossomed in his sophomore year, winning the Sir Barton Stakes in his 2019 debut. He followed that up with his victory in the Pegasus Stakes over Florida Derby winner Maximum Security, who was sent off at 1-20 odds that race.
“I can’t say it surprised me,” Pletcher said of the Pegasus upset. “We felt like he was doing well. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re running against a horse that crossed the finish line first in the Kentucky Derby but we always felt like this colt was one of our top 3-year-olds for sure.”
King for a Day, a son of Uncle Mo-Ubetwereven by French Deputy, had a win and a third in three starts at 2 before opening this year with victories in both starts.
“Red Oaks is a very patient owner,” said Pletcher. “He’s a colt that we thought had a lot of talent as a 2-year-old. He showed hints of that and they wanted to be patient with him and give him a little time.
“He ran great in the Sir Barton and even better in the Pegasus. This is a horse that when (Red Oaks Stable’s racing and operations manager) Rick Sacco sent him to us they thought he was a very talented colt. Hopefully he will continue to progress.”
The Haskell Invitational headlines a Saturday, July 20, card that includes the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup, the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes, the Grade 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes, the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes and the Wolf Hill Stakes.
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