FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 28th, 2017
NBC PRESENTS LIVE COVERAGE OF BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE SERIES RACES FROM MONMOUTH PARK THIS SUNDAY AT 5 P.M. ET
Irish War Cry Leads Wide Open Betfair.Com Haskell Invitational in “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Win And You’re In – Presented By Lane’s End Farm And America’s Best Racing”
NEW YORK (July 28, 2017) – Led by Wood Memorial winner and Belmont Stakes runner-up Irish War Cry, a talented group of seven 3-year-olds are set for a shot at an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in the 1 1/8 mile, $1 million Betfair.com Haskell Invitational (G1) this Sunday, July 30 at 5 p.m. ET on the live NBC broadcast from Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. The one-hour program is a part of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing.
Sunday’s show is the third of 11 telecasts in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing,” on NBC and NBCSN, featuring 17 “Win And You’re In” races plus other major stakes on the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, November 3-4, at Del Mar outside San Diego, which will also be televised by the NBC Sports Group. Sunday’s show also will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app. Winners of these Challenge races, which combined offer more than $10 million in purses, automatically qualify for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup.
Laffit Pincay III hosts the Haskell broadcast, and will be joined by Hall of Fame jockey and analyst Jerry Bailey, analyst Randy Moss, reporter/handicapper Eddie Olczyk, and reporter Kenny Rice. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Bernier will also serve as a Handicapper.
Irish War Cry, the 5-2 morning line favorite, trained by Graham Motion is trying to become the second New Jersey-bred Haskell winner in half a century, and the first since Thanks to Tony in 1980. The “house horse” tag comes from the fact that he is owned by Mrs. Isabelle de Tomaso, who is a daughter of the late Amory L. Haskell, for whom the race is named.
A son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin, Irish War Cry became a big player on the Triple Crown trail with a convincing victory in the Wood Memorial in April. In the Kentucky Derby, however, the colt was involved in a multi-horse melee leaving the gate, recovered to move into contention turning into the stretch, and then retreated to finish 10th. Motion elected to skip the Preakness and pointed for the Belmont. Irish War Cry led for most of the mile and a half, but was passed by Tapwrit in the final 50 yards.
The second choice in the Haskell is Timeline (3-1), one of two Haskell entrants trained by Chad Brown. The son of Hard Spun ran his way into the Haskell with a brilliant score in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth on June 18. It was his fourth victory in four lifetime starts.
Practical Joke, third choice at 4-1, has won four of his eight lifetime starts, including a come from behind, two-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park in his last start. Practical Joke finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby after running second in the Blue Grass Stakes at nine furlongs.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who won the 1989 running of the Haskell with King Glorious, sends out the intriguing Battle of Midway on Sunday. The Smart Strike colt ran a huge race in the Derby and finished third at 40-1 behind Always Dreaming and Lookin at Lee. He warmed up for the Haskell by running away to a 4 ¼ length wire-to-wire win in the 1 1/16-mile Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita Park on June 24.
The Haskell field, with rider assignments, from the rail out is: Irish War Cry, Post 1, Rajiv Maragh; Don Alberto and WinStar Farm’s Battle of Midway, Post 2, Flavien Prat; Woodford Racing’s Timeline, Post 3, Javier Castellano; Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Practical Joke, Post 4, Joel Rosario; Whitham Thoroughbreds’ McCracken, Post 5, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Calumet Farm’s Hence, Post 6, Paco Lopez; and, Brad Grady’s Girvin, Post 7, Robby Albarado.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 Grade I races with purses and awards totaling more than $28 million, will be held November 3-4 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. The Breeders’ Cup culminates with the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which was rated No. 1 in the world in the final 2016 Longines World’s Best Horse Race rankings. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About NBC Sports Group
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, nine NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, Royal & Ancient, Churchill Downs, NYRA, Breeders’ Cup, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, Formula One, IndyCar and many more.
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