The Haskell Stakes

The $1 million dollar, Grade 1 Haskell Stakes is Saturday at Monmouth Park.

The prestigious 1 1/8-mile contest annually draws some of the best 3-year-old Thoroughbreds in the country, including alumni from the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

The race serves as a Win and You’re In qualifier to the November 5th Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.

It’s worth noting that three of the last eight Haskell Winners have gone on to Win the Classic.

Who Wins this year’s Haskell? Well, Recent history of the race can unravel some of the the mystery by uncovering trends and tendencies common among previous Winners.

To wit:

Speed Horses Have The Advantage. For the most part, it pays to favor speed horses in the Haskell. As is typical of North American dirt racing, horses with tactical speed hold an advantage in the signature race at Monmouth Park, with 12 of the last 15 Winners racing within 2 ½ lengths of the lead after the opening half-mile.

The Best Record Among Trainers Belongs To Bob Baffert. Love him or hate him, the California-based trainer who returned from a suspension in June, knows the Winning formula for the Haskell. Since 2000, Baffert has saddled 13 starters in the Haskell, with nine visiting the Winner’s Circle and the other four settling for 2nd place.

Favor Triple Crown Participants. Almost without exception, the Haskell is Won by a horse who competed in one or more legs of the Triple Crown (of which Baffert horses did not this year).

Look at the stats, and you’ll find 13 of the last 15 Haskell Winners (and 25 of the last 30) had previously contested at least the Derby, Preakness, or Belmont.

A recent anomaly to this being 2020, when AUTHENTIC Won, but it’s worth noting the 2020 Haskell was contested before the Kentucky Derby and Preakness as part of a racing calendar restructured due to COVID-19.

Rely On Proven Route Runners. Sprinters unproven running one mile or farther rarely (if ever?) Win the Haskell.

In fact, every Haskell Champion since at least 1981 (a span of 41 years) had previously Won a race over one mile or longer, so betting proven route runners is the way to go in the Haskell.

Look For Acknowledged Stakes Winners. Almost as remarkable as the route runners statistic is the fact 42 of the last 43 Haskell Winners had previously Won a Stakes race.

The lone exception to this dependable trend was PAYNTER, who Won the 2012 Haskell after finishing 2nd by a neck in the Belmont Stakes.

Bet On Favorites And Be Cautious In Regard To Longshots. Longshot Winners are uncommon in the Haskell. Nine of the last 14 Winners started as the favorite (an impressive 64% success rate), while four other Haskell Winners went off as the second betting choice at odds no higher than 9-2.

Only one Haskell Winner left the gate at higher than 9-2 since 1992, and that Winner – the much accomplished GIRVIN – surprised few when he prevailed at 9-1 in 2017.

A top-notch field has been assembled for this year’s edition of the Haskell, which includes several Grade 1 Winners among the starters.

It would not be a stretch (see what I did there?) to think the 2022 Haskell Stakes could produce another Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner.

Best of luck no matter how you play it.

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