NEW YORK (July 24, 2014) - Superstar 3-year-old filly Untapable, with top female jockey Rosie Napravnik aboard, takes aim at males and an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the $1 million William Hill Haskell at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., this Sunday in the live NBC broadcast of the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” program that will air at 5 p.m. ET.
The Haskell broadcast is the fourth of 11 programs in the Challenge Series leading to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on NBC and NBCSN, October 31-November 1 from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Sunday’s show will be hosted by Tom Hammond, who will be joined by analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, and reporters Donna Brothers, Kenny Rice and Eddie Olczyk. NBC Sports Group’s Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown race caller Larry Collmus will call the Haskell.
Olczyk, lead analyst for NBC Sports Group’s hockey coverage and a veteran horse racing enthusiast, makes his second on-air horse racing appearance this summer. In his debut, June 28 on NBCSN's coverage of the $500,000 Gold Cup in the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” from Santa Anita, he correctly picked the longshot winner in both races on the telecast, Majestic Harbor, at odds of 14-1, in the Gold Cup and Sheza Smoke Show, at 10-1, in the Senorita Stakes.
Run at 1 1/8 miles, the William Hill Haskell, which drew nine horses, unofficially begins the second half of the season on the 3-year-old calendar but will have bigger ramifications than that, as it is the third of seven automatic qualifiers for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, following qualifying victories by Moonshine Mullin in the Stephen Foster and Majestic Harbor in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Whether Ron Winchell’s homebred Untapable, the 2-1 morning line favorite, has Classic aspirations remains to be seen, but it’s clear that she’s tops in the 3-year-old filly division off her four runaway wins this year. The daughter of Tapit has been thoroughly dominant each time out for trainer Steve Asmussen, winning Fair Grounds’ Rachel Alexandra in February and Fair Grounds Oaks in March, Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Oaks in May and Belmont Park’s Mother Goose in her last start June 28, by a combined 31 lengths to move her lifetime mark to 6-for-8.
Asmussen also trained the filly Rachel Alexandra to win the 2009 Haskell on her way to earning Horse of the Year honors.
Napravnik, the 26-year-old New Jersey native, has ridden Untapable in all of her wins this year with the exception of last month’s Mother Goose when she was sidelined due to a shoulder injury.
Untapable’s toughest foe figures to be Kaleem Shah’s Bayern and his blazing speed. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Bayern, the 5-2 second choice, won the Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7 and put on a blinding display of speed en route to a 7 ½-length win while getting the seven furlongs in 1:20.75. He finished third in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in April but was ninth-of-10 in the Preakness in May. Bayern is 3-fo-6 lifetime and will look to give Baffert a record seventh Haskell win.
There are also other viable contenders in the Haskell. Spendthrift Farm’s Medal Count was a sharp third in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 for trainer Dale Romans and would benefit if a hotly contested pace develops. Rontos Racing Stable’s Social Inclusion was left in Bayern’s wake when third in the Woody Stephens but was third in the Preakness and Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial in April. Honor Stable’s Wildcat Red won the Hutcheson Stakes and the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream this winter but will look to win past 1 1/16 miles for the first time for trainer Jose Garoffalo.
Brereton Jones’ Albano, who won the local Pegasus Stakes June 15 for trainer Larry Jones; Donegal Racing’s Irish You Well, who won the local prep, the Long Branch July 5 for trainer Wayne Catalano and Phantom House Farm’s Just Call Kenny, second in the Long Brach for trainer Patrick McBurney, round out the prospective field for the William Hill Haskell.
“Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” on NBC Sports Live Extra
NBC Sports Live Extra —NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will stream this Sunday’s “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In” coverage including the William Hill Haskell on NBC.
For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play and on Windows 8 and Windows mobile devices.
The complete “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Win and You’re In” television schedule may be found at the following link: http://challenge.breederscup.com/schedule
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 races and purses totaling $26 million will be held October 31-Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when the NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.
The 2014 Belmont Stakes on NBC, featuring California Chrome’s Triple Crown attempt, averaged 20.4 million viewers – the second-highest Belmont Stakes viewership on record, trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004 (People Meter viewership dates to 1988). In addition, the 2014 Kentucky Derby marked the fourth time in six years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers, and the 2014 Preakness Stakes registered a 6.0 household rating, ranking as the highest-rated Preakness Stakes since 2009 (6.8 for Rachel Alexandra’s victory).