Lookin at Lucky blazes to Haskell win | RecordCourier.com

Lookin at Lucky blazes to Haskell win

Associated Press

OCEANPORT, N.J. — As the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners surged to the lead around the far turn in the $1 million Haskell Invitational, more than 40,000 fans stood and cheered in anticipation of a thrilling stretch duel.

But just like that, with a shake of reigns, it was all over at the top of the stretch: Lookin At Lucky burst into the clear under Martin Garcia and cruised to a four-length victory over Trappe Shot in Monmouth Park’s showcase race.

“He’s been sitting on a really big race,” winning trainer Bob Baffert said of the colt’s first start since winning the Preakness. “He’s been training just unbelievably. It’s good to see him finally come out of his shell.”

The emphatic win Sunday confirmed Lookin At Lucky’s status as the best 3-year-old in the country, and it came against a star-

studded, seven-horse field considered the strongest in the 43-year-old history of the race. It was the first time the race featured the Derby and the Preakness winner.

A bay son of Smart Strike, Lookin At Lucky won for the third time in five starts this year, and the 2-year-old champion improved his career record to eight wins in 10 starts for earnings of $2.7 million for owners Mike Pegram (co-owner of the Carson Valley Inn and Bodine’s), Karl Watson; and Paul Weitman.

“He finally got to show off,” Pegram said. “Bobby has always told us what kind of horse we had, and he proved it today.”

First Dude finished third, followed by Derby winner Super Saver, Afleet Again, Ice Box and Our Dark Knight. Uptowncharlybrown was a morning scratch.

With the win, Hall of Famer Baffert becomes the first trainer to win the Haskell four times. He also won with Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002) and Roman Ruler (2005).

Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Lookin At Lucky returned $4.40, $3 and $2.40. Trappe Shot, who missed the Triple Crown races but had won four in a row, paid $3.40 and $2.60. First Dude, second in the Preakness and third in the Belmont Stakes, paid $3 to show.

The winning time for the 1 1-8 miles over a fast Monmouth Park track was 1:49.83