Haskell Invitational Handicap
Named for the late Armory L. Haskell – a driving force behind the revival of thoroughbred racing in New Jersey in the mid-1940s – the original Haskell Handicap was first run in 1968 at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ. While the earlier versions of the event were open to older horses, in 1981 the Haskell became an “invitation-only” stakes race. Now known as the Resorts Casino and Hotel Haskell Invitational, the race is a $1 million Grade I test over 1 1/8 miles on the Monmouth dirt.As one of the major races on the summer racing calendar, the Haskell is seen as one of the best stepping-stone races toward the fall’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
From 2008 to 2010, the winner of the Haskell went on to capture the Eclipse Award as the champion three-year-old in America, with the 2010 winner, Rachel Alexander, named as the champion filly. The same is expected for 2015, after Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s convincing Haskell win. Rachel Alexander was the second filly to win the Haskell, after Serena’s Song in 1995.
The race record is 1:47 flat held by both Bet Twice (1987) and Majestic Light (1976), while Bluegrass Cat set the record for the largest margin of victory in 2006, putting away his rivals by 7 lengths. The last Kentucky Derby winner to go on to win the Haskell was Big Brown in 2008. Baffert holds the record for most wins by a trainer at six, while jockey Craig Perrett had the winning ride three times.
Haskell Invitational Betting Odds
With a ticket on American Pharoah worth not much more than a souvenir, the task for the 2015 Haskell from a betting point of view was to find a long longshot in the Place or Show spot. Keen Ice was that horse, going off at 18-1, but with a 1-9 winner, even those odds only resulted in a $4.40 payout in second-place money. In these kinds of races, it’s nice to have different betting options such as props and head-to-heads, like they offer at Bovada, our top-rated online racebook partner.
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2016 Haskell Invitational Contenders
What can be said about American Pharoah’s victory in the 2015 Haskell? That he seemed to toy with his opposition from out of the gate? That jockey Victor Espinoza didn’t have to move a muscle during the entire winning ride? That American Pharoah is simply in a class of his own on the track? At the moment it appears all of the above are true. While certainly there’s a lot stronger four-year-old opposition waiting for him than perhaps he faced in the Haskell (Shared Belief? California Chrome?), the effortless way in which he has been winning races this spring, and now summer, suggests it will take a very special effort to beat him from among his competiton in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in October.
2015 Order of Finish: Win Place Show
1st: American Pharoah $2.20 $2.10 $2.10
2nd: Keen Ice $4.80 $2.80
3rd: Upstart $2.40
(Also Ran: Competitive Edge, Top Clearance, Dontbetwithbruno, Mr. Jordan; Scratched: Nona’s Boy)
Check back closer to race time for the update on the 2016 Haskell contenders.