It was supposed to be a fight between Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba and undefeated Jack Christopher. But in the end it was cyber knifewho got a big inside trip under the guidance of jockey Florent Geroux who defeated Taiba with a header in the $1 million Haskell Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey.
Longshot Benevengo took the lead early, with Jack Christopher and Taiba in good chasing positions. Halfway into the long corner and at the top of the stretch, Benevengo began to slow down and it looked like it was Jack Christopher’s race to win, but the question remained whether the New York colt, who had never run more than a mile, could handle the race. 1-1/8 miles. He could not.
Along the inside, the Cyber Knife found a free path at medium range, while Taiba ran into four. Taiba seemed to be catching up with Cyberknife in the final steps but failed.
Cyberknife paid $17.60 to win, followed by Taiba, Jack Christopher, Howling Time, Benevengo, King Of Hollywood, White Abarrio and One Time Willard.
“He trained well before the race but wanted to show himself in the paddock,” winning coach Brad Cox told TVG after the race. “He was a little hot for my taste. But in the end he had a good race, got behind the horses, and Florent did a good job. When he asked him, he answered well. It was a great trip to Florent.”
Although his horse was second, Bob Baffert, who resumed Taiba training after a 90-day suspension was satisfied with the work.
“He ran such a valiant race,” Del Mar’s Baffert told The Times. “He just needed another job to freshen up after the Derby. [where he finished 12th]. He showed how talented he is.”
“This horse was thrown into the abyss,” Baffert said, hinting at the horse’s too much competition given his inexperience.
“Now I can step back and choose our seats. I’ll bring him back to Del Mar and freshen him up. He ran great and I was hoping to win him for [owner] Amr [Zedan]. I still think he’s one of the best three-year-olds.”
With the win, Cyberknife gets free entry to the classic Breeders’ Cup, which will take place in November. 5 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. As for Taiba, he will likely need one more race to see if he is ready to face older horses in competition. Breeders Cup. There are no races specifically for 3-year-olds in end-of-year events.