Saturday, July 23, 2022

Cyberknife surged past Taiba in the final furlong of Saturday’s $1 million Haskell S. (G1) to cap off a Gun Runner-sired exacta in Monmouth Park’s showcase event.

Cyberknife set a track record of 1:46.24 for the nine furlongs and also earned himself a free entry to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) as part of the of the Breeders’ Cup’s annual “Win and You’re In” program.

Gun Runner, last year’s champion First-Crop sire, leads the 2022 Second-Crop list by a wide margin. His $7.3 million in progeny earnings, is more than double his nearest pursuer. He also leads the list by all the major stakes categories.

Cyberknife came into the Haskell off a win in the Matt Winn S. (G3) at Churchill Downs. He broke from the rail on Saturday and took back off the pace set by longshot Benevengo, who lead through a half-mile in :46.96. Jockey Florent Geroux moved Cyberknife closer to the leaders down the backstretch and was tucked in fourth around the final turn as he waited for an opening to appear.

Taiba made a bold move for the lead on the outside coming into the stretch while Cyberknife mounted his bid along the rail with a furlong to go. Cyberknife was full of run in the final strides, winning by a head, with Taiba two lengths in front of previously undefeated Jack Christopher.

Cyberknife, who also won this year’s Arkansas Derby (G1), is now 5-2-0 in nine starts and has earned $1,596,520 for Gold Square LLC.

“You want to win the Kentucky Derby and all the big races, but this is one of the ones I really wanted to win,” said New Jersey native Al Gold, principal of Gold Square.  “We go to the [Aug. 27 GI] Travers next and we’ll see where we are. And we’re on our way to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Bred in Kentucky by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Cyberknife sold for $400,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling sale. Cyberknife’s dam Awesome Flower was a multiple stakes winner and three times graded-placed. She was bred back to Gun Runner this year.