Coglianese Photos/Lauren King
Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park!
|J Bravo||T Pletcher|
|M Smith||B Baffert|
|N Juarez||J F D’Angelo|
|T McCarthy||J Hollendorfer|
|5||FAME TO FAMOUS||30/1
|J Ferrer||J McAllen|
|A Cintron||C Gonzalez|
|P Lopez||S Joseph Jr.|
Bob Baffert will be looking for his ninth victory in Monmouth Park’s signature race when he sends Authentic to the post in Saturday’s Grade 1 Haskell Invitational.
Most recently second to Honor A. P. in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby last month, Authentic should rule a solid favorite under Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith when he faces six others in the $1 million race on the Jersey shore.
Chief among his rivals will be Dr. Post, who most recently finished second to Tiz the Law in the June 20 Belmont Stakes (G1), and Ny Traffic, who came in a solid second behind Maxfield when last seen in the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) on May 23. After the top three in the Haskell, there seems to be a pretty distinct dropoff in credentials, with the other four in the race all likely to be sizable longshots.
Besides the big $1 million purse of the 1 1/8-mile Haskell, the race offers 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points overall, with 100 to the winner. Also, a $1 million bonus is being offered to any horse who can sweep the Haskell, Kentucky Derby on September 5, and this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
|What to watch||Haskell Invitational (G1)|
|When||Saturday, July 18 — 5:45 pm Eastern time|
|How to watch||Watch on TVG here!|
A deserving favorite, the son of Into Mischief has already proven his class and consistency in only four lifetime starts. The only horse that has ever beaten him is the very highly regarded Honor A.P. That defeat came last time in the Santa Anita Derby, and in that one he broke outward, costing him position in the run to the first turn. The two-time graded stakes winner is trained by Bob Baffert, who has made a habit of coming to New Jersey to win the state’s biggest race. A quality speed horse, he has every right to win this and move on to the Kentucky Derby as one of the favorites. He is clearly the horse they all have to beat, but he should have some early pace pressure to make his task just a little bit tougher.
Like Authentic, he has only had four lifetime starts but wasn’t quite the immediate success that the race favorite was. Having said, his three races this year are all quality and demonstrate a steady progression to be among the best colts of this crop. In both of his stakes appearances, a win in the Unbridled and a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, he demonstrated the ability to overcome a bit of adversity, get in position on the turn, and finish with plenty of enthusiasm. It’s no shame to run second to Tiz the Law, and now he appears to get a pretty good pace set up, with speed to occupy Authentic early. I do believe his Belmont result was a sign of good things to come. The son of Quality Road, trained by Todd Pletcher, is the top pick.
The last of the big three in the Haskell, he looked to be going nowhere fast as a juvenile but has really turned things around this year for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. All four of his races at 3 are quite good, and in the last three he’s certainly proven he belongs in big races like this. The question then becomes, can he get over the hump and beat horses of the quality of Authentic and Dr. Post? Probably not is my belief. Both the class and the potential of the top two seem to be a bit better than what this gray son of Cross Traffic has produced. Still, his consistency and record make him an obvious choice to fill out the exotics, and I do like his outside draw in the relatively small field.
A claimer running like a claimer in his first four starts, a lightbulb turned on for him three starts back. Since then, and especially in his last two, he’s looked like a new horse and one who deserves a shot in a stakes race. The problem is they chose the Haskell for his stakes debut. I cannot see him pulling a shocker in here, by beating all of the big three, but on the other hand, his recent form gives him a real shot to be the best of the rest.
A solid horse since his early debut last April, he moved up in class in his last and faced heavy pace pressure in the Ohio Derby (G3). The combination did not suit him well, as he faded to sixth in the 13-horse field. He finds a much smaller field for the Haskell, but unfortunately, he finds more speed and even better horses. It seems a fade out of the picture is once again in store for this Maryland-based runner.
He won his only start as 2-year-old in impressive fashion, but in four starts at 3 has been unable to live up to the potential flashed in 2019. Each of them came in allowance sprints, so the Haskell is a huge step up in both distance and class. Given that, he becomes very hard to recommend here. He did show a bit of a new dimension last time, coming from off the pace, but on Saturday, I would suspect that he adds to the early pace.
We have seen turf horses do some pretty special things switching to dirt in recent years, but this horse will not add to that list. His only dirt race was poor, and his entry in the Haskell seems misguided at best. He is overmatched.
$20 Exacta – Dr Post over Authentic = $20
$5 Trifecta part wheel – Dr Post and Authentic over Dr Post and Authentic over Ny Traffic = $10
If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick, Dr Post (5/2).
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Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
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