Girvin edged out McCraken in a photo finish to win the Haskell Invitational Sunday at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
McCraken held the lead down the stretch, but Girvin and Practical Joke charged late for a dramatic three-wide finish. NBC Sports captured the drama:
NBC Sports @NBCSports
Girvin wins the Haskell by a nose! https://t.co/TGkbWu7Vlo2017-7-30 21:51:52
The No. 7 horse not only earned his share of the $1 million purse in the 1 ⅛-mile race, he also earned an automatic bid to the Breeders' Cup Classic in the process.
Battle of Midway was the early leader, but by the homestretch, it appeared as though McCraken would cruise to the win.
That was until Girvin pushed hard in the final furlong for one of the narrowest wins you will ever see. The Breeders' Cup account captured the photo finish:
Breeders' Cup @BreedersCup
Girvin by a nostril! #WinandYoureIN #Haskell https://t.co/g7e0bpkH4w2017-7-30 21:54:13
Marcus Hersh of Daily Racing Form discussed the effort down the stretch:
Marcus Hersh @DRFHersh
Girvin unbelievably determined to get up in the Haskell @MonmouthPark over McCraken & Practical Joke.2017-7-30 21:50:58
Girvin finished in a time of 1:48.35 on the race to complete the upset in the seven-horse field.
"We've never been more confident in the horse," trainer Joe Sharp said after the race, per the Breeders' Cup.
The betting lines weren't quite as confident in the eventual winner, as Girvin closed as a 9-1 underdog. His win created a payout of $20.40 on a $2 bet, according to the NBC broadcast. McCraken (7-1) and Practical Joke (4-1) were relative surprises as well.
A superfecta bet of 7-5-4-1 with Irish War Cry coming in third netted $941.10 on a $1 bet.
Irish War Cry was the morning line favorite and had extra emotion with owner Isabelle de Tomaso being the daughter of the event's namesake, Amory Haskell. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep up with jockey Robby Albarado and Girvin in this one.
This competition is an invitation-only event featuring the top three-year-old horses in the country, most of them coming off top performances at the Triple Crown race.
However, there were some notable absences in this year's version with Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming not in the event. Trainer Bob Baffert also didn't enter a horse despite winning five of the previous seven competitions.
Still, it remained a competitive field with Girvin showing it was the best of the best.
While the rest of the field will do what it can to qualify for the Breeders' Cup Classic, the winner can already make plans to be there November in Del Mar, California.