Bobby Zen

There were three different winners of the Triple Crown races and the four Grade I preps leading up to the GI Kentucky Derby were won by still four other horses. That means that as the second half of the 3-year-old season starts in earnest with the July 20 GI Haskell Stakes at Monmouth, the race for the 3-year-old championship is as wide open as possible.

Danny Gargan, the trainer of GI Belmont Stakes winner Dornoch (Good Magic), knows that. But Gargan, who has never lacked confidence in his 3-year-old colt, is optimistic that his horse will show that he’s the best of the best and will make that statement in the Haskell.

“He’s good right now,” Gargan said. “He’s doing really well. His work the other day (4 furlongs in :48.20 over the Saratoga training track) was tremendous. He never works that good by himself. We’ll come back and do the same thing two more times, Then, at the Haskell, hopefully we will get a clean break and a good post and can get out of there and lay in a good position. I think he will be super, super tough. He’s training better now than he was going into the Belmont.”

After Dornoch won his third straight race in the GII Fountain of Youth Stakes, he seemed like a horse that would have to be reckoned with in the Derby. Then he ran fourth in the GI Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and 10th in the Derby.

“The one hole cost him the Derby,” Gargan said. “I think he would have been a factor in the Derby if we had a different post. We moved on to the next race and he trained great for it.

He just can’t get stuck down on the inside again like he was in the Derby. In the Blue Grass, we got beat on the van. Those tornadoes came and we had to delay our van ride and he got there two days before the race. We shipped 20 hours and got in two days before a Grade I. That took too much out of him. But we couldn’t put him on a van heading into tornadoes.”

Gargan believes that the real Dornoch showed up in the Belmont. Getting a trouble-free trip, he fought off Mindframe (Constitution) to win by a half-length.

Gargan had to chose between the Haskell and the GII Jim Dandy Stakes and said he picked the Haskell because it is a Grade I race.

“I’ve won the Jim Dandy before,” Gargan said. “It’s a great race, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not a Grade I. The Haskell is a Grade I with a $1 million purse. If the Jim Dandy was a Grade I, I wouldn’t care about the purse money. I’d run in it.”

He’s going to have to bring his best to win the Haskell, which is shaping up as a very strong race. According to the Monmouth racing office, expected starters include GI Preakness Stakes winner Seize the Grey (Arrogate), GIII Tampa Bay Derby winner Domestic Product (Practical Joke), Affirmed Stakes winner Parenting (Justify) and three horses trained by Todd Pletcher, 2-year-old champion and GI Florida Derby winner Fierceness (City of Light), Belmont runner-up Mindframe and Pegasus Stakes winner Tuscan Sky (Vino Rosso). GI Arkansas Derby winner Muth (Good Magic) is a possible starter

“We’ve run against Todd all year,” Gargan said. “Todd is smart and he knows what he is doing. I’m just not sure he’s really going to run all three. But my horse is doing better now than he was before the Belmont. He can go forward and if he does he’s going to be hard to beat.”

The post Gargan Says Dornoch Doing Better Than Ever, Haskell Is Next appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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