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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Coil and Stay Thirsty Surge to the Top

In the two most important races so far for three-year-old males since the book was closed on the 2011 Triple Crown, Coil and Stay Thirsty both turned in impressive performances to surge towards the top of the division. Yesterday it was Stay Thirsty who ran the best race of his life with an overpowering surge to run away with the $500,000 Jim Dandy by four lengths. Not to be outdone, Coil rallied strongly on the outside to run down a game Shackleford by a determined neck today to win the $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational. For both colts, it marked only their second stakes win of the season, but with about as mixed a bag of results as could be for the glamor division of American racing, they both placed themselves squarely in the race for an Eclipse Award at year's end. Moreover, each colt displayed their readiness for a run at August 27th's Travers Stakes. A race that could well decide the championship.

In the Jim Dandy, Stay Thirsty continued his great form in the state of New York. Looking very much like the easy Gotham winner, and Belmont runner-up, and nothing like the Florida and Kentucky Derby also ran, the son of Bernardini looked physically imposing as he sat comfortably just a few lengths off the pace set by Will Wildcat. By the time the Jim Dandy seven hit the Saratoga stretch, race favorite, Dominus had taken the lead, but Stay Thirsty was right with him and poised to strike. Strike he did, as he quickly took command and rolled home an easy winner in sharp time. It was the kind of win that displays a young horse is putting it all together this time of year. It was also the type of performance that demonstrates a horse's fondness for a racetrack. Clearly Stay Thirsty has never been better, and he likes things up at the Spa. He may be the horse to beat on the same track in the Travers.

Meanwhile in New Jersey … Breaking slightly slowly from the inside, Coil and rider Martin Garcia were content to ride the rail from last during the early stages of Monmouth Park's signature race. As race favorite and Preakness hero, Shackleford contested the early lead set by Joe Vann, Coil began to drive into contention. By the time the horses hit the far turn, the powerful chestnut was uncoiling a rally that would carry him around the field on the far outside. It looked for a second like Coil might roll on by everyone in mid-stretch, but Shackleford proved his class by giving the lightly raced Californian everything he wanted, before succumbing in the late stages of the Haskell. Out of the hodgepodge of sophomore males within shouting distance of division leadership, Coil might have the most upside. He has only run six times, and is obviously improving. He is a big strong son of champion Point Given, who now has demonstrated the ability to win races with different running styles. Coil is a threat not only in the Travers, but also in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Where do this division stand as of right now? Animal Kingdom is still the leader, but several are breathing down his neck. Since we know the Kentucky Derby winner will not race anymore this year, someone is almost certain to overtake him, considering how narrow his lead is. A Travers win by Stay Thirsty or Coil, or perhaps Shackleford or Ruler On Ice, would certainly create a new leader in the three-year-old championship race.

Having said all this … we all know who the best sophomore is, right? His name is Frankel.
[How high will these weekend wins propel Coil and Stay Thirsty up HRN's 3yo Power Rankings?]
Haskell photo by Matt Shifman


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Older Comments about Coil and Stay Thirsty Surge to the Top ...

Coil was impressive in winning yesterday's G1 Haskell Invitational. It was nice to see the son of Point Given so relaxed before the race. When he broke slow out the gate I thought my tag was dead. But after I saw the half-mile split of 47.0 and how relaxed and easy he was moving I began to change my tune.With Martin Garcia in the irons it's never panic time. He's an incredibly patient rider with gifted hands. Bob Baffert's horses really seem to trust Garcia. He gave Coil a masterful ride, in the Haskell. Garcia didn't panic when Coil broke bad and was last in the field around the first turn. He just guided the chestnut in a good spot to find his stride and when he did, Coil gobbled up ground effortlessly. As the race unfolded and he put away the field except for one, the mighty Shackleford, the only target left in his way. Shackleford was valiant in the stretch run and really dug in when Coil got up to him. But in the end the big chestnut Coil was too much for even the great Shack to handle, thus giving Silver Hair his fifth Haskell victory.
  • Dividenddoug · The best three year old is in the Baffert barn but his name isn't Coil. He'll get to show his talent in the months to come · 2270 days ago
I secretly(lol) wish that Uncle Mo will come back and steal the whole show!
Tim..guess we know who you're rooting for..I'm just excited to see how this year ends..looks like it's gonna go down to the end of year.
The race for 3yo male is WIDE open ..Any horse with a little MO mentum could win it!!
Really…..Shackleford won an allowance race and barely won a Preakness. He’s basically been competing against a mediocre bunch, except for Animal Kingdom, and I don’t see him winning the Travers, JCGC or BCC. As always, experts give their opinions, that’s what makes horse racing, but Coil didn’t come into the race a long shot. He was second choice on the morning line and second choice in the race. He closed his final 3/8ths a second and 5 lengths faster than Shacklefored after a terrible start and started to pull up in the last 20-30 yards. As for the Belmont winner, he zipped past him like nothing. Coil might have more to prove, but there isn’t a three year old racing today that doesn’t. The thing is, now most of them have more to prove than he does.
It seems everyone has a valid point one horse or another. Just shows how wide open this division along with the Older Horse division really is at this point. Looks like we're headed for one exciting ride until Breeders' Cup.
I agree with mary. No disrespect to coil but there is something to be said for running in the T.C races and coming out of them as well as shackleford. And Coil just got by him it was close.
I agree with those of you that feel Coil has a great deal more to prove, winning the Haskell is a very nice accomplishment, but when those in the industry still list AK as the top 3 year old out there and he's finished for the year that tells you something. Anyone that feels that a horse like Coil with 1 win of significance is anywhere close to a AK or Shack or even ST at this point is delusional. 1. Animal Kingdom 2. Shackleford 3. Stay Thirsty 4. Ruler On Ice, then maybe Coil would be placed in 5th position. Its not rocket science.
Laz, It's not like he destroyed Shackleford, and ROI is the Belmont winner, but that race was a throw out for so many horses with the exceptions of I Love NY-Stay Thirsty, and No He Isn't who finished exactly as expected in dead last. Shackleford has the experience in routes and the heart. It's not like he gave up. Very good start by Coil in catching up to the TC survivors. Coil has the long distance pedigree to go on to 10f. He's right up there on my list. No disrespect.
Mary…..maybe you don’t remember Coil from any Triple Crown races but it seems to me he just beat two of the TC race winners and he gave them a pretty good head start. He has no more to prove than any of the others.
Shackleford has proven alot more up until this point for sure. Coil is great but needs to do it a few more times. Shackleford is the most consistent 3yo thats why I put him at the top.
Shackleford inconsistent? Hardly...he's just running at the wrong distance!
Coil's first three wins were in sprints on AWT at Hollywood Park, then he a win at 8 1/2m. and placed, losing by a head at 9f., also at H.P. Then, the Haskell win at 9f. on dirt. Shackleford's third race was an allowance win at 9f., the Fountain of Youth 5th which would be an inconsistency, he led in the Florida Derby only to lose by a nose, was 4th. in the Derby having been in the lead until the stretch. He won the Preakness at 9 1/2m. and again was in the lead of the Belmont through 1 1/4m. What if he just needed this race? He is more experienced at 9f. and longer than Coil and he didn't exactly give up under pressure. Great come from behind effort from Coil to beat Shackleford.
I'm not crowning Coil yet but he is a better horse than Shakleford for 1 reason and that reason is tha Coil knows how to win. Shakleford is inconsistent.
Proved what? I don't remember Coil from any TC races, so he'll need to keep proving himself. The Haskell win was a good start and he does have the breeding for route races. Too early to crown anyone yet.
You must be crazy if u think Shakleford is #1. Coil already proved it.
Coil finally ran a reserved off the pace race, even if the slow start wasn’t planned, and won as much the best. Shackleford made it close at the end, but Coil still outran him by almost a full second in the stretch and the way he handled himself was amazing. This guy could go in the Travers, JCGC, BCC, win them and be HOY. That’s an ambitious statement, but what we need is an ambitious program and this guy is fully capable.
Shack attack is #1 for me as of today..
The Jim Dandy was only a prep. I wouldn't be to quick to narrow this down to a 2 horse race. Brilliant Speed was pulled up early.
Coi has the most consistent record but not as much graded stakes experience as Shackleford, who is also very consistent. Either one will be the division leader with another win. Same goes for Stay Thirsty and I have a feeling his Jim Dandy won't be the best he produces this year.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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