Cyberknife Shatters Records en Route to Haskell Championship

Cyberknife Shatters Records in Haskell Stakes

Cyberknife, a previously underestimated horse, delivered a breathtaking performance at the Haskell Stakes, leaving behind both Jack Christopher and Taiba, two formidable competitors, in the dust. Not only did Cyberknife secure a victory, but it also set a new track record for Monmouth Park in the 1 1/8-mile race. This unexpected triumph marked a turning point in the 3-year-old class, as it showcased the potential of a horse that finished 18th in the Kentucky Derby. As a result of this momentous victory, Cyberknife has earned a coveted spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the title of the Monmouth Park nine-furlong track record holder.

A Fierce Rally to Victory

Cyberknife’s victory in the Haskell Stakes was nothing short of extraordinary. Starting from sixth place on the backstretch, the horse unleashed a stunning surge of speed that propelled it to the finish line in record time. Clocking in at 1:46.24 for 1 1/8 miles, Cyberknife surpassed Highly Motivated’s previous winning time of 1:46.53 in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup. Remarkably, Highly Motivated had only held the record for a mere two hours before Cyberknife shattered it. To put this achievement into perspective, Cyberknife even surpassed Spend a Buck’s track record for the same distance that had remained unbroken for an astonishing 37 years.

Cox Claims Back-to-Back Haskell Titles

Trainer Brad Cox, the mastermind behind Cyberknife’s stunning performance, secured his second consecutive Haskell title with this victory. Cox had previously clinched the title last year with Mandaloun, who was promoted after Hot Rod Charlie’s disqualification. Cyberknife’s triumph in the Haskell Stakes also marked the horse’s second Grade 1 win, complementing its earlier victory in the Arkansas Derby. Furthermore, the $600,000 prize money pushed Cyberknife’s total earnings to an impressive $1,596,520, solidifying its status as a millionaire.

A Triumph for Cyberknife and Geroux’s Expert Navigation

According to Cox, the Haskell Stakes showcased Cyberknife’s exceptional capabilities and marked the horse’s best performance to date. Jockey Florent Geroux expertly guided the horse along the rail, making a well-calculated move as they hit the far turn. Cyberknife surged past its competitors, including Jack Christopher and Howling Time, crossing the finish line just ahead of a charging Taiba. The thrilling duel between Cyberknife and Taiba resulted in a photo finish, with Cyberknife emerging as the victorious horse. Cox expressed great pride in his horse’s ability to settle and respond effectively when called upon, highlighting the professionalism displayed throughout the race.

Challenges for Taiba and Jack Christopher

While Taiba, trained by Bob Baffert, demonstrated his aptitude for the race distance, the lack of seasoning played a role in his performance. Coming in only fourth in his racing career and competing for the first time since the Kentucky Derby in May, Taiba’s relative inexperience affected his performance. Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s assistant, acknowledged the possibility that Taiba’s limited exposure to races may have influenced his performance and planned to consult jockey Mike Smith for further insights.

The Haskell Stakes marked a significant moment for Jack Christopher as well. Although the horse entered the race with an impressive track record, his lack of experience in true route races hindered his performance. Coming into the Haskell with remarkable speed but limited experience beyond one-turn miles, Jack Christopher faced his first defeat after five consecutive wins. Despite this setback, trainer Chad Brown still celebrated several victories throughout Haskell Day, winning all four graded stakes races on the card and accumulating a total of $1.31 million in prize money.

A Meaningful Victory for Al Gold

For owner Al Gold, Cyberknife’s triumph held immense personal significance. Naming the horse after the cancer treatment he underwent for prostate cancer, Gold experienced not only the successful treatment of his cancer but also the realization of a dream. With his $400,000 investment in Cyberknife paying off, Gold celebrated his first Grade 1 victory. Having previously resided in the nearby Ocean Township, Gold cherishes the opportunity to win a major race in his former backyard before relocating to Saratoga and Florida.

Looking ahead, Cyberknife’s next challenge is likely to be the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, scheduled for August 27. Anticipation is already building for this event, as it promises to gather the best 3-year-old horses of the year, representing a thrilling showdown.


The Haskell Stakes proved to be a race of surprises and record-breaking performances. Cyberknife, a horse that had previously been overlooked, emerged victorious and established a new track record for Monmouth Park. Trainer Brad Cox celebrated his second consecutive Haskell title, solidifying his reputation as a skilled trainer. Meanwhile, Taiba and Jack Christopher faced challenges that impacted their performance, highlighting the importance of experience in the world of horse racing. For owner Al Gold, Cyberknife’s triumph represented the fulfillment of a personal dream and a testament to the horse’s resilience and potential.


1. How did Cyberknife fare in the Kentucky Derby?

Cyberknife finished 18th out of 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby. Despite this result, the horse’s performance in the Haskell Stakes showcased its remarkable potential and established it as a formidable competitor.

2. Will Cyberknife participate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic?

Yes, thanks to its victory in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race, Cyberknife has secured a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the horse will compete in this prestigious event.

3. How did Cyberknife get its name?

Owner Al Gold named the horse Cyberknife after the treatment he underwent for prostate cancer. The name holds personal significance for Gold, as it symbolizes both the successful treatment of his cancer and the realization of a lifelong dream in the world of horse racing.

4. What is the significance of the Haskell Stakes in horse racing?

The Haskell Stakes is a highly regarded Grade 1 race that attracts top-quality horses and trainers. Winning the Haskell Stakes is a significant achievement that elevates a horse’s status and opens doors to future prestigious races.

5. Will Cyberknife participate in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes?

While no official confirmation has been made, it is highly likely that Cyberknife will participate in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes. This race, known for attracting the best 3-year-olds of the year, promises to be a thrilling competition.

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Doug I. Jones

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