There was a late sting in the tail as Girvin dramatically headed McCraken in an exciting conclusion to the Grade 1 betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park this evening.
A field of seven three year olds went to post for this nine furlong contest, 24 hours after two Triple Crown race winners had been unceremoniously beaten at Saratoga, leaving the door open for a three year old colt to stamp his authority on a wide open division.
This valuable and prestigious contest, in its 50th running, got underway with Practical Joker well away despite jinking from the gates.
However, Battle Of Midway went up into the lead on the inside and took the first bend a length ahead of Irish War Cry and Timeline.
Heading into the back, Timeline inched ahead of Battle Of Midway and the pair duelled, with Irish War Cry on their heels and then a gap of three lengths back to Practical Joker, as Girvin and McCraken moved closer.
At the top of the stretch Battle Of Midway faded and McCraken went on from Irish War Cry, shooting clear in the straight.
However, Girvin and Practical Joke were having their own personal war wider out and momentum dramatically carried Girvin and Robby Alborado past McCracken as the yards to the winning line ran out. Practical Joke, racing between the pair, was about half a length down in third, with Irish War Cry a well beaten fourth.
The Joe Sharp trained Girvin, a son of Tale Of Ekati, had finished well beaten in the Kentucky Derby.