Ten Things You Should Know: Haskell Invitational
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Haskell is run at a 1 1/8 miles and is an invitational race restricted to 3-year-olds. This year’s edition is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, the winner will qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Classic in October.
2) The race is held at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey, often referred to as The Shore’s Greatest Stretch.
3) The Haskell was run for the first time in 1968 as the Monmouth Invitational Handicap. It has been run under its current name since 1981.
4) The race is named for Armory Haskell, a key figure in reviving horse racing in the state of New Jersey and the president and chairman of Monmouth Park from 1946 until 1966. From 1968 to 1980, Monmouth hosted a race called the Haskell Handicap for older horses.
5) The first 3-year-old classic winner to also win the Haskell was Coastal in 1979. He won that year’s Belmont Stakes.
6) In 1987, Bet Twice – the Belmont Stakes winner – beat Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Alysheba in one of the most fantastic finishes in the race’s history. Bet Twice shares the stakes record time of 1:47 with Majestic Light, the 1976 winner.
7) Racing Hall of Famer Craig Perret rode three Haskell winners: Bet Twice (1987), Forty Niner (1988), and Lost Mountain (1991), the most by any jockey.
8) While many tried (including Alysheba, referenced above), the first Kentucky Derby winner to also win the Haskell was War Emblem in 2002. Big Brown became the second in 2008. In 2015 American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner to run in and win the Haskell.
9) In 1995, Serena’s Song became the first filly winner of the Haskell. Rachel Alexandra became the second in 2009.
10) Since 1988, Monmouth Park has given away a Haskell hat to its patrons. The hat changes every year and has become one of the traditions surrounding the race. The Monmouth website includes a gallery of all Haskell hats.