Top Clearance enters Haskell picture

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

July 26th, 2015

The Wayne Catalano-trained Top Clearance will take his chances against Triple Crown champion American Pharoah on August 2 in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1), Monmouth Park announced Sunday.

“He worked the other day and was excellent,” said Catalano, who conditions the homebred for Gary and Mary West. “He is already stabled at Monmouth now. We aren’t going to do too much with him before the race.”

Top Clearance, who will be making his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell, recorded a seven-furlong move on Friday, July 24, in 1:25 2/5 at the Jersey Shore track.

It was his first work since taking a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claimer at Monmouth on July 11. That came against older runners just one race after the bay son of Majestic Warrior broke his maiden by a half-length while sprinting seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on June 13.

“Our plan is to sit back early in the (Haskell),” Catalano explained. “We will look for an opportunity for one good run. He will be ready to go.”

Top Clearance opened his career sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Monmouth last September, finishing second that day, and filled that same spot when making his sophomore bow on May 23 under the Twin Spires.

Abel Castellano Jr. will be aboard Top Clearance for the first time in the Haskell.

With Top Clearance’s name now on the list of challengers for American Pharoah, the field for the Haskell is likely to include Competitive Edge, Mr. Jordan, War Story, Keen Ice and Tekton.  

Gates will open at 9 a.m. (EDT) on Haskell Day with first post at 11:30 a.m. The Haskell will be televised live on NBC from 5-6 p.m. (EDT).

Top Clearance photo courtesy of Bill Denver/Equi-Photo