Shootfromthehip Prevails in Thrilling Haskell Finish

The Haskell (Grade 1) (BC)- $1,000.000 Purse
MTH- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
July 30, 2017

We were fortunate this year to be rewarded with all three Triple Crown winners going to post for the biggest race of the summer at MTH, the Haskell. Shootfromthehip, Ginger Haggis and Positive Thinking were the main attractions here because of that, but that didn’t mean that a horse as strong as Lord High Admiral would be any less of a threat. They were joined by some up and comers, and we had all the makings of a great race. On a sad note, it has been reported that this would be the last race of the career of trainer Keikowin Racing. The long time trainer, who ran his first race on February 14, 2004 with a horse named Seabiscuit2, declared in the forum that Shen Valley’s run in the Haskell would be it for him. On behalf of everyone here at the SRF, I want to congratulate Keikowin Racing on his fantastic career. While it’s not a career that will see massive earnings, wins, and graded victories, it was a career of perseverance that seemed to be centered around a sincere love of the sport, and simple enjoyment of racing. A Shen Valley win would have been how it was scripted in Hollywood, but on this day, the KYD winner stepped up again and ran a beauty of a race, topping his chief rivals in a fantastic finish. Heck, remember the BEL, and Shootfromthehip’s and Ginger Haggis’ dead heat for second? Well, it almost looked like they may have had another dead heat again here. I’m always one for hyping up rivalries, and we have not had enough of them in this particular division. I don’t know if I am ready to quite coin these two as “rivals” yet, but they certainly are having interesting battles between them. Hopefully, we see them next month at SAR for the Travers, and hopefully, this can be a plot line going all the way up to the BC Classic.

On this day, the winning trainer is Nakamura Stables, picking up the first Haskell win in his career, and it is his 12th Grade 1 victory. K J Desormeaux is the winning jockey, and he wins the race for the second time, having also done so in 2015 with Chrystal Pip. Congratulations to them! The time of the race was 1:47.91, and that my friends, is your new Haskell record. Let’s take a look at it!

(½ Mile- :47.51)- Looking quick out of the gate is Nick, from Gdp Inc. He shoots out from his #9 post, perhaps startling Positive Thinking so much that it caused that one to miss the start. More on that in a bit. Nick jumps out to a lead of about a length and a half, and comfortably shows the way around the opening turn, and into the backstretch. Level Charge, from Wolfs Den, has also started well, and stalks Nick around that turn. Heading into the backstretch, he trails by a length. Running third and also assuming a stalking position here is John Henry’s Lord High Admiral. This is a little unexpected as he is not really known to be one near the front early on. Our eventual winner, Shootfromthehip is running fourth at this point for Nakamura Stables, directly behind Level Charge while running in the second lane, with two and a half lengths conceded to the leader. City Ball Drop, the 51/1 longshot from Pan Farms is another length behind, and he’s followed by Ginger Haggis (The Sidley Stud) and Shen Valley (Keikowin Racing). Positive Thinking (Mb Stables) ends up being three wide after what seemed to be a lethargic start for him. Granted, he is a closer, but with the way he tried to make up ground around the opening turn leading into the backstretch, is why I speculate about his start. Hidden Slew Laff is at the back as his stablemate fires out to the lead, and Dust In The Wind (Mm Racing) trails the field.

(3/4 Mile- 1:11.37)- Nick cannot sustain this pace and starts to look gassed before the field even makes it to the turn. Level Charge now assumes the lead as the frontrunner bows out of it, and he has Lord High Admiral running with him. The John Henry colt is not content with just passing Nick by here, and has intentions set on splitting the two of them as they move into the turn. Nick is still third here, but about to be eaten up. K J Desormeaux wisely moves Shootfromthehip to the outside here, and makes the four wide move. Nick was about to clog up the rail, it seemed, and even Level Charge was a bit of a longshot up there in front. This lane would keep Shootfromthehip out of trouble, and he only had a little over a length to make up. City Ball Drop was looking like he was full of run to his outside, and took the five-wide lane. Ginger Haggis was sixth and two and a half lengths out here, and fortunately for him, J R Leparoux had him behind Lord High Admiral, and not Nick. Positive Thinking was seventh and keeping pace, while Shen Valley was on the rail. Hidden Slew Laff was just to this outside and Dust In The Wind remained the trailer.

(Top Of Stretch- 1.5F To Go)- Level Charge does a fine job while rounding the turn, and continued to the lead the field as they hit the top of the stretch. The opposition was coming at him from both sides, but he seemed to be up for the challenge. Lord High Admiral had been to his inside for the entire time around the turn, and he was now heads apart from the leader. However, Shootfromthehip had really made his four-wide move work nicely. Despite needing to cover the extra ground with this trip, he gained on both of them and was within a half length, and there did not seem to be anyone who get could get in his way. City Ball Drop continued to hang with him, and really represented himself well in this field, which was a big jump up for him. While all this was going on, creeping ever so closer to the leaders was Ginger Haggis, who handled the turn well and prepared to pounce on whatever lane may open up for the stretch. Positive Thinking was in striking range if he had a big stretch run coming. Nick was bowing out, and Hidden Slew Laff was not taking his place. Shen Valley, unfortunately, did not seem to have a big run coming for Keikowin Racing here. Dust In The Wind was still at the back.

(Finish- 1:47.91)- Shootfromthehip shows off his KYD-winning talent in the stretch, and he would need every ounce of it. In a fantastic battle with Lord High Admiral early on, and then holding off the big move by Ginger Haggis in the stretch, Shootfromthehip prevails in a very tight three-way photo. Congratulations to this champion of the sport! Second place does go to Ginger Haggis, who had room between Lord High Admiral and Level Charge, and he made it could. J R Leparoux got everything he could out of him, and ends up with a second place finish to be proud off. Lord High Admiral should not be lost in this either, as he showed tremendous heart to the inside, and was within .04 of victory himself. Finishing fourth here was City Ball Drop. This is a name that is not as well known yet, but you’ll be hearing it a lot more now. He had to go five wide, and he actually gained on Shootfromthehip in the stretch. Not a lot, mind you, but the fact that there was a little something there, should get us excited about his chances going forward as well. You won’t see 51/1 on him again. Hidden Slew Laff, midway through the stretch, powerfully turned it on to be fifth, but that charge needed to start earlier. Level Charge raced better today then his sixth place finish will suggest. Positive Thinking was seventh, running to the outside, and while he was not bad, he just looked off to me today. Dust In The Wind got by a couple to be 8th, with Shen Valley giving Keikowin a 9th place effort. Nick, after running hard for six furlongs, rounded out the field.

About The Winner: Shootfromthehip, trained by Nakamura Stables, and ridden by K J Desormeaux, is a three year old gelding by Knowledge Geek, and is out of Jessica James. The KYD champion was bred was bred in California as a yearling by Nakamura Stables, the only trainer for which he has ever known. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his 7th in thirteen starts, and his fourth of 2017. It is his fifth graded stake victory, and his third Grade 1 win. His career earnings now sit at $3,176.800.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Shootfromthehip Nakamura Stables Desormeaux K J 2.65   1no 1:47.91  
  Ginger Haggis The Sidley Stud Leparoux J R 2.10   2hd 1:47.92  
  Lord High Admiral John Henry Albarado R J 6.00   31/2 1:47.95  
  City Ball Drop Pan Farms Velazquez J R 51.65   41/4 1:48.05  
  Hidden Slew Laff Gdp Inc Ortiz I Jr 8.75   5nk 1:48.14  
  Level Charge Wolfs Den Rosario J 16.45   61/2 1:48.21  
  Positive Thinking Mb Stables Ortiz J L 5.85   72 1:48.34  
  Dust In The Wind Mm Racing Bejarano R 17.90   81 1:48.74  
  Shen Valley Keikowin Racing Bravo J 25.75   92 1:49.06  
  Nick Gdp Inc Lopez P 33.60   10 1:49.64  

Track: Fast

Time: :472  1:111  1:352  1:474

$2 Mutuel Prices:

4 – Shootfromthehip 7.30 3.20 4.00
7 – Ginger Haggis   2.90 2.40
3 – Lord High Admiral     3.10

$1 Exacta: 4 – 7 Paid 19.40

$1 Trifecta: 4 – 7 – 3 Paid 57.40

Scratched: None

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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