Juddmonte Farms’ Kentucky-bred Mandaloun, trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, earned his first Grade 1 victory as a result of the disqualification of Hot Rod Charlie in the 54th running of the Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park on July 17. In a historic renewal of the Haskell—it was the first time in history that the race resulted in a DQ—the win by Mandaloun gave his owner/breeder, trainer, and jockey their first scores in the prestigious race.
With the win, Mandaloun also stamped his ticket to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 6 at Del Mar as the Haskell is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series.
In an eventful stretch run, Hot Rod Charlie, ridden by Flavien Prat, clipped heels while crossing over in front of Midnight Bourbon as he swept to the lead past the eighth pole, causing Midnight Bourbon to go down, unseating jockey Paco Lopez. Both horse and jockey suffered no major injuries from the fall. Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun dueled to the wire together with Hot Rod Charlie prevailing narrowly at the wire. Following an inquiry, the stewards elevated Mandaloun, the Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up, to first, while placing Hot Rod Charlie last. Kentucky-bred Following Sea was placed second and Kentucky-bred Antigravity was promoted from fourth to third.
“I had my sights on Hot Rod Charlie,” said Geroux. “When Hot Rod Charlie tipped out, I decided to go inside. It was a very hard battle. Hot Rod Charlie was going to win by a neck and right at the end my horse came back and made it really close.
“Unfortunately, for Hot Rod Charlie, he came in and Midnight Bourbon clipped his heels and he got disqualified. Honestly, I didn’t know what happened until I came back and looked at the TV. It is not the best way to win, but Mandaloun ran a winning race and deserves this.”
Trainer Brad Cox, said, “We got a really good trip. I thought it was a lot like our Kentucky Derby trip. He was saving ground. Florent did a good job of getting on the outside of Following Sea. Turning for home, I thought we had a big shot at winning the race. I thought we ran a winning race.”
Mandaloun, who captured the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth in his previous start, is a Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief out of the Empire Maker mare Brooch. The $600,000 winner’s share of the purse increased his bankroll to $1,651,252 and his record now stands at 8-5-1-1.
“I know he’s a genuine Grade 1 horse,” said Garrett O’Rourke, general manager of the American division of Juddmonte. “There’s no fluke to the way the horse runs. It’s good that the horse justified how good a runner he is. He is a beautifully bred horse, and he was extremely well prepared. We’re extremely proud. It was an unusual race, but we still feel like he ran a winning race, and it tastes the same.”