Race Review: Haskell Invitational won impressively by Cox's Cyberknife

The Haskell Invitational is in the books, and Horseracing.net gives a rundown of all the action in this race review.
The Haskell Invitational is in the books, and Horseracing.net gives a rundown of all the action in this race review.

"The Shore" once again hosted the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, and the race for entry into the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) did not disappoint. Before the bell sounded, it was Chad Brown's Jack Christopher #7 (odds 3/5) that garnered favoritism by seemingly a country mile over 2nd choice Taiba #2, from Bob Baffert's midst (odds 2/1). Brad Cox's Cyberknife #1 (7/1) and Saffie Joseph's White Abarrio #6 (7/1) were in the second tier of betting, clearly ignored by most horseplayers. As the gate crew got everyone loaded, before you knew it, they were off! 

At the break, over a fast Main Track, it was Benevengo #8, the long shot at 55/1, that took the lead from Jack Christopher #7. Cruising around the 1st turn, the colt set some stiff fractions, and clearly was hoping to swipe the race from the frontend. Rating just off-the-lead, Jose Ortiz angled the "chalk" into the 2-path, with HOF jockey Mike Smith on Taiba #2 nestled behind them. While the backstretch began to unfold, it was Florent Geroux guiding Cyberknife #1 in a "steady as he goes," kind of fashion ... ala the Arkansas Derby (G1).

As the pace began to quicken, Ortiz decided to make his move, and he ranged up ... authoritatively seizing the lead. Dale Romans' Howling Time #4 tried to go with him, but the crop was out, and the best he could settle for was a minor award (4th). By the time the top of the lane arrived, it looked like Ortiz's mount was going to run-off from the field. However, in that moment, it was Smith with Taiba #2 on the extreme outside and Geroux with Cyberknife #1 cutting to the rail, that appeared full of run. With less than a furlong to go, Geroux powered forward with a convincing kick, guiding the son of Gun Runner across the wire for another signature score by more than a head. Taiba #2 ended up 2nd ... with Jack Christopher #7 settling for 3rd ...

Owned by Gold Square, with Al Gold as principal, his team celebrated with 2-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Brad Cox, in what amounted to a sweet homecoming to Jersey for the owner. Finishing in 1:46.24 (track record), this was the horse's 2nd Grade 1 victory (Arkansas Derby (G1) in April). After a nice return to the track in the G3 Matt Winn S. at Churchill Downs, the colt (who sold at the F-T 2020 Yearlings Showcase Sale for $400k) cemented his status as a legitimate threat at the "the Classic" distance. Cyberknife #1, named for a procedure that helped the owner beat cancer, the 3-yr-old just punched his ticket to Keeneland to compete in one of the world's most prestigious races ... the BC Classic!

Here are the Payouts ...

Results       Horse - Win / Place / Show
1st Cyberknife #1 ... $17.60 / $5.20 / $2.80.
2nd Taiba #2 ... $3.80 / $2.60
3rd Jack Christopher #7 ... $2.20