2022 Haskell Contenders & Odds at Monmouth Park
The Haskell is a part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" series, with the race winner receiving an automatic spot with fees paid for the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday, November 5.
Taiba Installed As 7-5 Favorite for 2022 Haskell
Taiba was installed as the 7-5 morning line for the $1 million, Grade 1 Haskell on Saturday, July 23 at Monmouth Park following Wednesday's post position draw.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will be looking to extend his record for victories to 10 in the Haskell Stakes, to be contested at 1 1/8 miles.
Monmouth Park oddsmaker Brad Thomas pegged the undefeated Jack Christopher as the 3-2 morning line second choice in the field of eight, which expanded with the late entries of local horses King of Hollywood and One Time Willard.
2022 Haskell Stakes Field & Odds
Race 12 at Monmouth Park on Saturday, July 23 - Post 5:45 PM
|3||One Time Willard||30-1||Paco Lopez
|4||Howling Time||10-1||Joseph Talamo
|5||King of Hollywood||30-1||Nik Juarez
|6||White Abarrio||5-1||Joel Rosario
|Saffie Joseph, Jr.|
|7||Jack Christopher||3-2||Jose Ortiz
Baffert last won the Haskell in 2020 with Authentic.
"I don't think about records. I just think about sending a good horse there and I've sent some really great ones," said Baffert. "I hope this guy is the same type of horse I've been bringing up there. We know he's very talented."
Taiba, a $1.7 million purchase and the son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in only his second outing and finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby last time out while being handled by Tim Yatkeen while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.
"We know he's lightly raced but I feel he's doing really well," Baffert said. "I wanted to watch him train. I wasn't really convinced he was going to the Haskell. He breezed really well. He's a big, strong heavy horse who won't light it up in the mornings, but I was surprised what he did first out (to breeze). I let him dictate if he was ready or not. I wasn't going to throw him into the deep end of the pool.
"I would have liked an extra week with him. But he's doing really well. He has speed and he doesn't get tired. The two turns won't be a problem for him. The Kentucky Derby was a tall order for him. I don't know what happened in the Derby. I wasn't around. The Haskell is a great race and there are some really good horses in here. I hope the horse shows up."
Taiba will be piloted by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, a three-time Haskell winner. Most recently, Smith won the Haskell with Authentic, who went on to earn Horse of the Year honors.
As for strategy when the gates open, Baffert said, "He has to break well. Then it's going to be up to Mike."
Jim Baake, Gerald Ibister, Coolmore and Peter Brant's Jack Christopher, who is undefeated in four career outings and seeking his second straight top-level win, will be trying two turns for the first time while going beyond a mile for the first time as well.
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, who won the 2018 Haskell with Good Magic, has awarded the return call on the son of Munnings to Jose Ortiz. The 2017 champion rider piloted Good Magic to his Haskell win and has partnered with Jack Christopher in all of his races, including their 2021 victory in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont.
In addition to Jack Christopher and Taiba, Grade 1 winners in the competitive field of eight include Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife, who is trained by two-time Eclipse winner Brad Cox, and the Saffie Joseph, Jr.-conditioned White Abarrio, the winner of the Florida Deby.
Howling Time, who comes from the barn of Eclipse Award winner Dale Romans, and the locally-based Benevengo, One Time Willard, and King of Hollywood round out the field.
With Cyberknife, Cox is attempting to win back-to-back Haskells. In 2021 he captured the trophy with Juddmonte's homebred Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun, who was elevated to first place by disqualification.
"I'm not sure how close I am to getting to the bottom of this horse," Cox said. "He is a Grade 1 winner and a multiple stakes winner, and he has improved. There's more left in the tank. We're going to have to see the best Cyberknife in order to win this race. It's a very, very good race. If this horse can bring his last race and can move forward just a little bit, I think he's major, major player."
In that last contest, the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs at 1 1/16 miles, Cyberknife sat right off the heels of Howling Time as that colt set all the fractions and then he prevailed in a deep stretch battle to get his nose in front at the wire.
"He's trained great. After the last two races he's trained better and better. He was a little bit behind physically but now he's not," said Romans said of Howling Time. "I don't think we have to have the lead or take a hold with him. Joe (Talamo) is a quality rider and he knows what's he doing. I think we can just sit in our spot and, hopefully, we can run by them in the lane."
The Haskell field from the rail out with riders and odds: 1 - Cyberknife, Florent Geroux, 6-1; 2 - Taiba, Mike Smith, 7-5; 3 - One Time Willard, Paco Lopez, 30-1; 4 - Howling Time, Joe Talamo, 10-1; 5 - King of Hollywood, Nik Juarez, 30-1; 6 - White Abarrio, Joel Rosario, 5-1; 7 - Jack Christopher, Jose Ortiz, 3-2, and 8 - Benevengo, Angel Rodriguez, 20-1.
Post time for the Haskell, which will be televised by CNBC, is approximately 5:45 PM and will be run as the 12th of 14 races on the card. First post on Haskell day is at noon.
The supporting card offers four additional graded stakes: the $600,000 Grade 1, United Nations; $400,000 Grade 3 Monmouth Cup; the $400,000, Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes, and the $200,00, Grade 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes.
2022 Haskell Stakes Pre-Draw News
Haskell Stakes Draws 19 Nominations
July 7 - Nineteen horses were nominated to the Grade 1 Haskell Stakes on Saturday, July 23, at Monmouth Park, including a pair from nine-time winning trainer Bob Baffert.
Baffert, who last won the Haskell Stakes in 2020 with Authentic, nominated Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba and Pinehurst.
Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting, Florida Derby winner White Abbarrio, Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife, Blue Grass Stakes winner Zandon and unbeaten Jack Christopher, who has won a pair of Grade 1 races for trainer Chad Brown, were among the nominations for the 55th edition of the $1 million Haskell Stakes.
Seven of the 19 horses nominated to the Haskell are Grade 1 winners.
The Grade 1 United Nations, part of the stakes-filled Haskell undercard, drew 30 nominations - seven from Brown, including defending champion Tribhuvan. The United Nations, which carries a purse of $600,000, is at a mile and three-eighths on the grass.
The lightly-raced Taiba has been idle since finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby. Pinehurst won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity a year ago.
Brown nominated three horses to the Haskell - Early Voting, Jack Christopher and Zandon.
Jack Christopher is 4-for-4 lifetime with wins in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens and the Grade 1 Champagne at 2, though he has yet to try two turns. Zandon was third in the Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Rodolphe Brisset nominated Peter Pan Stakes winner We the People, Western River and Kuchar to the Haskell.
Haskell Stakes 2022 Nominations
- Be Better
- Classic Causeway
- Early Voting
- Home Brew
- Howling Time
- Jack Christopher
- Mr Jefferson
- Smarten Up
- Steal Sunshine
- Western River
- We the People
- White Abarrio
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Baffet Optimistic and Seeking a Record 10th Win In The Haskell
July 15 - Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba, who was recently reunited with trainer Bob Baffert, is headed to Monmouth Park for the $1 million Haskell Stakes as the Hall of Fame conditioner looks to extend his record with a 10th victory in the Grade 1 event for 3-year-olds.
The Haskell, which will be contested for the 55th time on Saturday, July 23, is a "Win and You're In" race in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series with the victor guaranteed a spot in the starting gate for the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 5 at Keeneland.
"I hadn't seen him in a long time. I'm happy with the way he looks," said Baffert, who earlier this month welcomed Taiba back into his barn after he served a 90-day suspension for a medication violation involving Medina Spirit, who crossed the wire first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby and was later disqualified.
"I worked Taiba today and he worked really well. He came out of it well. He's happy. I'm happy with him."
Taiba (pronounced Tay-buh) covered five furlongs handily in 59.40 at Santa Anita and it was the second fastest time of 55 horses working that distance Friday morning.
One week earlier Taiba worked from the gate and covered six furlongs in 1:12-flat.
Taiba was a $1.7 million purchase by Zedan Racing Stables out of a 2-Year-Olds-in-Training Sale in March 2021 and he is a son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner out of the Ohio-bred Needmore Flattery. She was a racing legend in the Buckeye State, a winner of 17 stakes races while competing against males as well as females, and a two-time Ohio Horse of the Year.
The chestnut colt, who bears a striking resemblance to both his sire and dam, was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in only his second career start and has been idle since a 12th place finish in the Kentucky Derby on May 7, when former Baffert assistant Tim Yatkeen was handling the training duties.
"He's a special horse. He was asked to do a tall task in the Derby. The Derby was crazy. It was a stampede," Baffert said. "He showed what he could do in the Santa Anita Derby off just one race (a maiden special weight race in March that he won by 7½ lengths).
"This is the time of year when the 3-year-olds start to shine. I think he's up for the Haskell and he's coming to the Haskell."
Taiba will be the first Monmouth Park starter for Saudi Arabian businessman Amr Zedan's Zedan Racing Stables, which owned the late Medina Spirit.
While Monmouth Park will be new to the owner, Baffert is very well acquainted with the racetrack.
Taiba will be his 16th Haskell entrant since 1997 and included on the roster of his record nine winners are 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah and 2020 Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Authentic.
Champion Point Given earned Baffert's first Haskell trophy in 2001.
"The Haskell is a very important race. I remember going there the first time and seeing the names of those horses who had won it before. It's always been an important race," said Baffert. "As a matter of fact, when you're thinking of your Kentucky Derby horse you're always thinking, `Okay, I need a Derby horse and who's going to be my Haskell horse?'
"That's why we've been lucky in this race. I always send the best ones. You're getting the best one (again this year)."
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who was in the irons for the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby, gets the return call on Taiba. Smith is seeking his fourth Haskell win after finding the winner's circle with Authentic (2020), Coronado's Quest (1998) and Hall of Famer Holy Bull (1994).
"It's going to be a tough race, but it's supposed to be a tough race," said Baffert, who will ship Taiba from his Southern California base to the Jersey Shore on Tuesday morning. "I hope he runs well. I think he will."
As of Friday afternoon, in addition to Taiba, probable entrants in the Haskell are Grade 1 winners Cyberknife, Jack Christopher, and White Abarrio for trainers Brad Cox, Chad Brown, and Saffie Joseph, Jr., respectively, the Dale Romans-trainee Howling Time, and Benevengo, a recent winner in allowance company last out for the locally-based trainer Jesse Cruz.
The field for the Haskell will be drawn on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
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