Friday, 27 July 2012
: Todd Pletcher has confirmed Gemologist will have his first start since his Kentucky Derby failiure in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Sunday.
"He is going to run. He's definite," said Pletcher from Saratoga.
"He has been training extremely well and we are very pleased with how he is coming into the race."
Javier Castellano, the only rider to have been aboard the son of Tiznow in all six of his starts, will partner him again.
Gemologist went into the Kentucky Derby with an unblemished 5-for-5 record that included wins in the G1 Wood Memorial in April and the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club as a two-year-old.
He finished a disappointing 16th as one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby but it was discovered that he had bruised his foot.
In his last two works at Saratoga he has fired bullets and his drill last Sunday morning was particularly impressive when his five furlongs in 58.4 under Castellano was the fastest of 43 horses to work over the distance.
"I thought he breezed as well as he's ever breezed and he's always been a good work horse," Pletcher said.
Pletcher won back-to-back editions of the Haskell in 2006-07 with Blue Grass Cat and Any Given Saturday.
In other Haskell news Handsome Mike arrived from California on Tuesday night and the Doug O'Neill
charge was out on the track on Wednesday.
Dullahan arrived in trainer Dale Romans' barn on Monday night.
The other confirmed starters for the Haskell are Paynter, Nonios and Stealcase.
Paynter, trained by five-time Haskell winning trainer Bob Baffert, and Nonios, conditioned by 1989 Haskell winner Jerry Hollendorfer, were scheduled to share a flight from California on Thursday.
Stealcase, who will give trainer Mark Casse his first entry in the Haskell, will be vanned from Saratoga.
Ruled out of the Haskell is last season's champion 2YO male Hansen, who will go to the $750,000 West Virginia Derby on August 4 at Mountaineer Park.
He will be ridden by Mike Smith, replacing regular rider Ramon Dominguez who has chosen to honor previous commitments on the day.
Trained by Mike Maker, Hansen romped wire-to-wire by 10 lengths in the Iowa Derby on June 30 in his first start since running ninth in the Kentucky Derby.