Haskell Invitational Countdown: The Most Meaningful

Today’s Category: Most Meaningful

The Most Meaningful Haskell – Touch of Gold 1997

Horse Racing really all started for my best friend Steve and I on this day. One would think I would have come around to horse racing at some point and time anyway, but you never know. Our fathers took us to our first day of races and first Haskell on this day. We will now will be approaching 19 straight Haskell invitational, man we are getting old. Clearly I fell in love with horse racing that day. Watching these beautiful animals walk around the paddock, running over to the rail to get a full look of the post parade, the smell, the feel, the look, those things have never changed.

 It’s hard to ever forget your first race and the day as a whole. As my Dad explained it to me, in 1997 Silver Charm won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but was beat in the Belmont stakes by Free House. Silver Charm would not compete in the Haskell due to a blood disorder, however Belmont Stakes upset winner Free House would still make his way to Oceanport for the Haskell.

Touch Gold and Free House would both go off at 6/5, however I remember slightly more money being on Touch Gold. A clean break would send Free House, Anet, Tale of the Cat, and Frisk Me Now essentially 4 wide through a very quick opening quarter-mile in 22.3 seconds. Touch Gold earned himself a very good ground saving stalking trip along the rail. Chris McCarron made a sweet move around the turn splitting a tight 2 before clearing down the stretch, putting away all of the tired pace-setters, and winning the Haskell by 1 ½ lengths.

 I’ll never forget the move he made which really put a cherry on top of the cake on horse racing for me and why I believe that I have such a love for jockey’s now and respect a really great ride whether it be in win or defeat. What some of these jockeys can do with these horses is amazing, the respect many have for the fans and how each have their own style is just really so amazing.

 What’s also never changed is the bond it was able to bring upon my father and I. Through some trying times as a family we always found some solidarity and middle ground at the track. We have become much closer now and there’s very few things better than taking in a day at the races with my father. He supports me during all of my tournaments more moral than in a handicapping term as I am the one supplying the tickets and picks now lol, but I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

 While Steve and I will be there Sunday, both my Father and Steve’s Father are battling some trying medical times so they will not be able to attend. Due to those factors, it really makes this Haskell for me the most meaningful and notably even more meaningful because you don’t ever sit and realize how many of the best days of your life with friends and family will get to happen. Clearly that day for the four of us was very rare, and continue to be harder to accomplish as the years go by.

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