Prior to Sunday's Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park, Bob Baffert's Coil was somewhat of an unknown contender. He wasn't an unknown as to whether or not he was a quality colt or in the manner that others hadn't heard anything about him. But instead, it was unknown as to how exactly Coil would fare in his first try on a conventional dirt surface after showing significant early speed in his races on synthetics in California. By the finish of the Haskell, the unknown became the known; Coil fared just fine in his first try on dirt, but his win in the Grade 1 Haskell came in a different manner than many would have predicted.
Breaking dead last in the field of eight three-year-old colts, Coil was content to sit well off the early leaders for the first three-quarters of the race, a running style that the Baffert trainee had not displayed in any of his previous lifetime starts. The strategy was a sound one as early leaders Joe Vann and Shackleford carved out solid fractions through the opening six furlongs (47.02, 1:10.68). As the field came off the far turn, Joe Vann threw in the towel and left the Preakness winner in what looked to be a favorable position to pick up his second Grade 1 victory of the year. But Martin Garcia and Coil had more than enough in the tank to wear down his rival in the final furlongs, finishing a neck in front at the wire.
Shackleford was his usual game self in the lane but his early effort proved to be just taxing enough to deny him the victory. Belmont winner Ruler On Ice finished third.
Coil is a three-year-old son of Point Given out of a Theatrical (IRE) mare (Eversmile).
Coil was assigned a preliminary Beyer figure of 96, as was Shackleford.
Result Chart (via DRF.com)
Haskell Internal Fractions:
Coil Internal Fractions: