The Haskell Invitational is the signature horse race of the season at Monmouth Park.
On July 20, the country’s top 3-year-olds will compete in this 1 1/8-mile race. The prize? A $1 million purse.
The Monmouth Park website describes the Haskell as “where champions prove their greatness.”
And the 2019 Haskell is generating more buzz than usual, not only because the heatwave stretching across the country delayed the event on Saturday.
Maximum Security brings national attention to Haskell
Flashback to the Kentucky Derby. Maximum Security entered the first leg of the Triple Crown as a heavy favorite.
And it looked like he won the race in convincing fashion… by 1¾ lengths. But the unthinkable happened.
So instead of going to the Preakness Stakes, this colt resides at the Oceanport track preparing for the Haskell.
Let’s just say he is getting the star treatment.
MAX NEWS! Maximum Security will be brought to the paddock area for Saturday’s 5th race at approximately 2:20pm before being led around the walking ring. Get there early to secure your spot to get a close up look at the horse who crossed the finish line 1st in the Kentucky Derby! pic.twitter.com/ZH2c2OOAXw
— Monmouth Park (@MonmouthPark) May 15, 2019
According to Monmouth, the trainer is pleased with where things are for the would-be Derby winner.
Meanwhile, horse Joevia is worthy of mentioning, too. He finished third in the Belmont Stakes and will be racing the Haskell.
Placing your Haskell 2019 horse bets
For those interested in betting on the Haskell this year, the 13 of the 14 NJ online sports betting platforms are not offering Haskell action.
DraftKings Sportsbook got the OK from the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement to offer fixed odds on the Haskell. While there are no trifecta or exacta bets available, the NJ sports betting giant does have what it calls head-to-head matchups that pit individual horses against each other. (As of this writing, the Resorts DraftKings sportsbook does not have the odds listed.)
Here are the current fixed odds at DraftKings online:
Mobile and online customers can also place their bets via horse betting site TVG, a mainstay in the region for horse races.
Like NJ sports betting apps, there is no need to leave home to find a place to watch the race and bet. NBC will have a live broadcast. The event moved to a Saturday to accommodate the network.
Those with tickets to the Haskell can wager at the betting windows at Monmouth. (Note that seat reservations should be made in advance.) If you’re closer to Meadowlands Racetrack, the betting windows there will also have odds on the Haskell.
The Atlantic City horse betting crowd can watch and wager at the Borgata Race & Sports Book. The room features 100 seats with individual flat-screen monitors. But be advised that Kentucky Derby betting draws a standing-room-only crowd.
The Haskell Invitational may bring about a similarly packed Borgata racebook with Maximum Security in the lineup.
Monmouth Park back in the spotlight
Besides the Haskell, Monmouth Park is where NJ sports betting history was made. It was June 14 of last year when NJ Gov. Phil Murphy placed the first legal sports bet in Garden State history.
He made it on opening day at the William Hill Sportsbook.
While NJ sports betting is still in its infancy, the Haskell dates back to 1968. And today, the horse racing industry is coming back to life thanks to the addition of legal sports betting.
The sportsbook at Monmouth Park along with FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands attracts customers to the respective properties on non-racing days.
But on Haskell Day, the ponies, not baseball betting, will be the main attraction. A heatwave has led to a scheduling adjustment. The Haskell now has a post time of 8:05 p.m.
Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development, operators of Monmouth Park, issued a statement:
“… We’re doing this to err on the side of caution.”
But will the weather conditions have an impact on the anticipated turnout? It’s not unheard of to have crowds in excess of 35,000. And with Maximum Security and Joevia in the field, this year’s crowd could be even bigger.