It was a photo finish in the 2017 Haskell Invitational as Girvin was able to edge his rivals in a race that certainly lived up to all the hype.
Battle of Midday cracked out in front early as a 7/1 outside shot, trailed by Timeline who held 9/5 odds of his own. Right behind them was Irish War Cry, the 2/1 favorite, who held steadyin a stalking position. A few lengths back, McCraken and Practical Joke held steady with Girvin all the way in the back as the group along with Hence hit the first quarter mile in a blistering :23.93.
The struggle upfront was a sight to see as Timeline and Battle of Midday exchanged the lead a few times over the backstretch and in to the final turn with a half-mile pace of :47.34 really pushing the pulse of the 2017 Haskell.
At the crest of the final turn, it looked like Irish War Cry was poised to burst through but it was McCraken who unleashed a powerful thrust in to the lead. It looked like a gap that nobody would close.
Then Practical Joke and Girvin came crashing on the outside, neither relenting an inch as they devoured the space behind McCraken to provide a nail biting finish that we required the cameras. In the end, Girvin’s kick was enough as he took the 2017 Haskell invitational in an unbelievably competitive contest.
“It feels great. It was the way it was supposed to be,” Sharp said following the win. “It was a great team effort. The right horse, the right owners. It means a lot. At the quarter pole it looked like he was kind of all in, and I didn’t know if he was going to make up the ground he needed to. At about the eighth pole, it looked like he had a shot. It’s one of those things, where my career seems to have been a whirlwind thus far but everything seems to be falling into place.”
At 9/1, Girvin was worth a whopping $20.40 with the win while McCraken held on for second at $7.20 with Practical Joke providing $3.80 in show.
It was a booming performance by everyone involved. Timeline, who was essentially a new shooter in the three-year-old field at this grade, probably would’ve been better suited getting a more competitive run-up prior to the Haskell but justified the excitement. McCraken was revitalized after battling injury through the spring. It was a heroic effort by Practical Joke, who has been long seeking validation.
Yet nobody was more vindicated than Girvin, who showed everyone just how deadly he can be even when matched up against the strongest in his age grade. The 2017 Hasekll Invitational absolutely delivered a worthy main event on the weekend, with Girvin dead center in the spotlight.