'Matured' Hot Rod Charlie Could Run Without Blinkers In Haskell - Horse Racing News

Third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes, Hot Rod Charlie has been confirmed for the G1 Haskell Invitational on July 17 after a six-furlong work in 1:11.60 this Friday, reports bloodhorse.com. The 3-year-old son of Oxbow will breeze at Santa Anita again on July 9, then fly east the following day.

Trainer Doug O’Neill was extremely pleased with the colt’s penultimate breeze, for which jockey Flavien Prat was aboard. Hot Rod Charlie went without blinkers, as he has several times this year, and O’Neill is strongly considering removing the equipment for the Haskell.

“It’s one of those deals where the blinkers helped him focus and become the racehorse he’s become, but as he has matured, Flavien says he seems very happy without them,” O’Neill told bloodhorse.com. “We’re hoping that obviously with some of these stretch duels that racing without them will tip us over onto the winning end of a stretch duel. We just wanted to try it in the mornings. So far, it’s been a good experience. As it stands right now, more than likely ‘Charlie’ will run without blinkers in the Haskell.”

The Haskell is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic this fall at Del Mar. Other top 3-year-olds under consideration for the nine-furlong contest include Mandaloun and Rombauer.

Read more at bloodhorse.com.

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