2022 Haskell Stakes Preview: Jack Christopher vs Taiba?

The 2022 Haskell Stakes will be Race 12 on July 23rd at Monmouth Park. Post time is set for 4:45 PM CT. This Grade I race is one and 1/8 miles and has a purse of $1,000,000. The race is for three-year olds and is the winner will receive free entry into the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic. There are nine horses in the field this year. Last year’s winner was Mandaloun.

Let’s take a look at the rankings for everyone in this year’s field.

Jack Christopher was arguably the favorite going into last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile before he was scratched. Given the time off to recover he wasn’t on the Kentucky Derby trail. He raced for the first time in 2022 on Kentucky Derby Day in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile and won easily as a heavy favorite. He then did the same on Belmont Stakes Day in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens at 1/5. I was in attendance for that Woody Stephens win and it was impressive! He’s an undefeated 4-0 in his career and the clear horse to beat. The question how he will handle a mile and 1/8 and two turns for the first time.

Taiba is the second most likely to win and according to the morning line odds of 7/5 he’s the favorite. I’m sure he’ll get a lot of action with his trainer being Bob Baffert. He hasn’t raced since the Kentucky Derby (finished 12th) and he won both of his previous starts including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

White Abarrio finished second in the Ohio Derby to Tawny Port in his last and 16th in the Kentucky Derby before that. Training up to the Derby he had back-to-back wins at Gulfstream Park in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 3 Holy Bull.

Cyberknife is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes after finishing 18th in the Kentucky Derby. He won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in his final Derby prep.

Howling Time is the only one out of those top four with a real chance to hit the board. He finished second to Cyberknife in the Matt Winn last time out with his best speed figure to date by far. He’s definitely trending in the right direction.

Benevengo has won three of his four career starts, but he’s never against competition anything like this. This is his first graded stakes race.

King of Hollywood is the heaviest raced horse in here with 13 career starts. He didn’t break his maiden until the 10th start and only managed more win since. He finished 7th and 9th in two ungraded stakes this year too. This is also his first graded stakes race.

One Time Willard is the lone New Jersey bred in the race. He has one career win but has never seen class like this. He’s massively overmatched here.

Below we take a look at each horse’s last three speed figures.

I’ve ran the Haskell 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 7 Jack Christopher

My Bet: 7 to Win, 7-2/4/6-2/4/6 Trifecta

Superfecta: 7-2-6-1/4

Long Shot: 10 Howling Time 10-1

Jack Christopher is the horse to beat, but Taiba is a dark horse here given that he’s done nothing but train with Bob Baffert since the Kentucky Derby where he went off as the 5-1 second choice. The battle between those two will be fun to watch. The only way someone else wins is if those two horses tire each other out or someone runs the race of their lives.

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