Coil earns a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic as the winner of the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational, a Breeders' Cup "Win & You're In" race. The win gives owners, Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, jockey Martin Garcia and trainer Bob Baffert back-to-back wins in the Haskell, having combined to win last year's race with Lookin At Lucky.
A quick pace was set by Joe Vann, with Shackleford just behind him. Ruler On Ice was mid-pack along with his stable mate, Pants On Fire. Coil, a son of 2001 Haskell winner Point Given, broke slowly and trailed the field in the early going.
"You know, I was thinking that [I'd] have better position than I was having," said Garcia after the race. "I guess everything changed out of the gate."
As the field reached the quarter-pole, Shackleford had taken the lead from Joe Vann. Garcia had Coil on the outside going five-wide around the turn and the remainder of the field was trying to find running room.
Into the stretch it was all Shackleford and Coil, while the others fought it out for third. Coil settled as he reached Shackleford. The Preakness winner fought to hold onto the lead. Coil quickened and reached the wire a neck in front of Shackleford.
JJ's Lucky Train came on strong in the stretch, but Ruler On Ice emerged to take third place from him by 2 1/4 lengths.
The win marks the fifth Haskell victory for Baffert, who won his first Haskell with Point Given.
"And what he did today, it's incredible," Baffert said. "He looked like Point Given the way he ran today."
The next big race for these three-year-olds will likely be the Travers Stakes in late August at Saratoga. Will we see yet another match up of Coil, Shackleford, and Ruler On Ice when the Breeders' Cup comes to Churchill Downs in November?
Photo: Courtesy Breeders' Cup