The field is set for the $1 million Haskell, where Nyquist will be trying to re-stake his claim as the top three-year-old in the country.
Haskell Invitational a Breeders' Cup Prep
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" 3-year-old stakes race. Now known as the William Hill Haskell Invitational, the race is a $1 million Grade I test over 1 1/8 miles on the Monmouth dirt.
Champions have made their name in the Haskell
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. Horses trained by the famed Bob Baffert have won the last three Haskell Invitational trophies, including Paynter in 2012, under jockey Rafael Bejarano.
Haskell records and notable facts
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.
On Sunday at Monmouth Park, the featured race is the $300,000 United Nations Stakes. Scheduled to be run at a mile and three-eighths on the turf, the Grade 1 event has drawn a field of ten colts and geldings.
On Sunday at Monmouth Park, the featured race is the $150,000 Pegasus Stakes, a key prep race for the Haskell Invitational (G1). The Grade 3 event will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth and has drawn a field of seven three-year-olds.