Thirteen Things You Should Know About the Haskell Invitational

Pop Culture
The 2015 Haskell Invitational Stakes featuring Triple Crown winner American Pharoah drew a record crowd. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Haskell Invitational Stakes is a summer staple at Monmouth Park, drawing the nation’s top 3-year-olds to compete for Grade 1 glory each year. This year they’re also competing for a chance at Breeders’ Cup glory with a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic starting gate on the line. Find 13 fun facts about Sunday’s race below.

1. This year marks the 50th Haskell hosted by Monmouth Park. It was first run in 1968.

2. The Haskell is named for Amory L. Haskell, a New Jersey businessman who was the first president and chairman of Monmouth Park. His daughter Isabelle de Tomaso owns New Jersey-bred Irish War Cry in this year’s race.

American Pharoah winning Haskell. (Eclipse Sportswire)

3. A record 60,983 fans witnessed Triple Crown hero American Pharoah win the Haskell in 2015.

4. Betting favorites have won the race 49 percent of the time overall, but they’ve won eight of the last 12 editions, good for a 67 percent success rate.

5. The Haskell offers a purse of $1 million, with $600,000 of that reserved for the winner.

6. When first inaugurated, the Haskell was a handicap race for older horses. Since 1981, it’s been an invitational for 3-year-olds.

7. Just two fillies have ever won the race: Serena’s Song in 1995 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009.

8. The race’s nickname is the “War at the Shore,” given the track’s location just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.

9. There have been 10 Haskell winners named champion of their 3-year-old division later that year, including three in a row from 2008 through 2010. American Pharoah (2015) was the most recent.

10. Trainer Bob Baffert owns a remarkable eight wins in the Haskell, five wins ahead of Todd Pletcher, Warren Croll and Sonny Hine.

11. The race has twice been decided by a nose, when Forty Niner won in 1988 and when Holding Pattern won in 1974.

12. Post position No. 4 has the most success in the Haskell, with nine winners. Post No. 1 is close behind with eight.

13. Eight horses later named Horse of the Year have run in the Haskell, including Spend a Buck, Alysheba, Holy Bull, Skip Away, Point Given, Curlin (twice), Rachel Alexandra and the aforementioned American Pharoah.

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