Updated on 07/27/2012 6:00PM

Top moments in Haskell Invitational history


The Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park has evolved into one of the primary stakes races for 3-year-olds every year. Some of the top horses in the nation, including Belmont runner-up Paynter, Dullahan, and Gemologist, are set to run in the 1 1/8-mile race, a Grade 1 stakes that could have big implications on the 3-year-old awards at the end of the year. How will this year’s Haskell stack up against some of the great ones in its history? Here are some of the top races in Haskell history, with video replays:

1. Bet Twice, 1987

In one of the famous duels between Bet Twice and Alysheba, Bet Twice prevailed by a neck in the 1987 Haskell in a time of 1:47.00, tied for the best mark ever in this race. The pair sat behind the pace of eventual third-place finisher Lost Code before an epic stretch battle that Bet Twice won on the outside. The slight favorite had lost to Alysheba by a half-length in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but won by an eye-popping 14 lengths in the Belmont. The two raced against each other nine times, with this being one of Bet Twice's three wins, while Alysheba prevailed four times. Despite the loss in the Haskell, Alysheba went on to win the 3-year-old Eclipse Award.

2. Rachel Alexandra, 2009

By a comfortable six-length margin, Rachel Alexandra took the 2009 Haskell Invitational, becoming the second female winner. She bobbled slightly at the break but recovered well and sat just off the lead for most of the race. A 1-2 favorite come post time, she defeated Belmont Stakes winner and race highweight Summer Bird. The race was one of three times Rachel Alexandra defeated the boys in her undefeated 2009 season; she also beat them in the Preakness and Woodward Stakes. The Haskell win helped Rachel Alexandra claim 2009 Horse of the Year honors over Zenyatta.

3. Point Given, 2001

In a thrilling three-horse finish, Point Given in 2001 gave trainer Bob Baffert the first of his back-to-back Haskell wins; he also took the race with War Emblem in 2002. The Haskell highweight at 124 pounds, Point Given stalked four lengths back for the first half-mile before making his move. He was still in third and two lengths back entering the stretch behind eventual runner-up Touch Tone, who had led from the wire, but Point Given ground out a win under the whip of Gary Stevens. A heavy favorite, he paid $2.60 on a $2 bet. Point Given was Horse of the Year in 2001 with wins in six of seven starts that included the Haskell, Belmont, and Preakness, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

4. Serena's Song, 1995

Before Serena’s Song, no female had won the Haskell Invitational. Jockey Gary Stevens claimed his second career Haskell victory aboard Serena's Song. As the favorite, she paid $5 for a $2 ticket. The win was one of nine in 13 starts in her 3-year-old season, and one of two wins against males, the other being the Jim Beam Stakes at Turfway Park. Serena's Song was voted 1995's champion 3-year-old filly.

5. Holy Bull, 1994

Busting out of the gate quickly from the third post position, Holy Bull led from beginning to end in the 1994 Haskell for a 1 3/4-length victory, part of his dominant 3-year-old season in which he won 8 of 10 starts for more than $2 million in earnings. Holy Bull's wins included the Florida Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap and Travers Stakes. Holy Bull earned 1994 Horse of the Year honors.

Update: Coil, 2011

Usually a pacesetter, Coil bobbled at the break in the 2011 Haskell and sat in 8th place for the first 3/4 of a mile with jockey Martin Garcia aboard. But the Bob Baffert-trained colt rallied to move into third down the stretch and came in first by a neck, edging Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford. Coil finished his 3-year-old season with a third-place finish behind older horses in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes after a disappointing last-place finish in the Grade 1 Travers.