The Haskell Stakes (G1) has retained its million dollar purse and still remains a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series that offers the Winner a place in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 7th.
However, the signature race at Monmouth Park has undergone some changes (as everything else has) in 2020. No longer an invitational race, the mile and eighth Grade 1 was open to any 3-year-old through the typical stakes nomination process.
Also, when the Kentucky Derby date was moved, the Haskell became an official stop on the Road to the Derby, offering 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers.
Here then is a look at the field of seven, along with Morning Line odds:
DR POST [ML 5-2] Trainer: Todd Pletcher. Jockey: Joe Bravo. The lightly raced son of QUALITY ROAD has been improving as the year has progressed. He moved from a Victory in the Unbridled Stakes at Gulfstream to running 2nd in the Belmont Stakes (G1) losing to TIZ THE LAW. It looks as though he will get plenty of pace to set up his closing move and that makes him very dangerous. Pletcher goes for his 4th Haskell Victory.
AUTHENTIC [ML 4-5] Trainer: Bob Baffert. Jockey: Mike Smith. He currently sits in 3rd on the Kentucky Derby points list with 100, courtesy of a 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), and Wins in both the Sham (G3) and the San Felipe (G2). He makes his first start outside of California and will try to give Baffert his 9th Victory in this event. He has pressed the pace in all four his starts and will have plenty of company on the front end in here.
JESUS’ TEAM [ML 15-1] Trainer: Jose D’Angelo. Jockey: Samy Camacho. This long-shot has two claiming Victories to his credit, both coming this spring at Gulfstream Park. He likes to press the pace, but seems grossly over-matched in this Grade 1. Maybe slogs up for a piece at the back end of exotics.
ANCIENT WARRIOR [ML 20-1] Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer. Jockey: Trevor McCarthy. Won his debut last November at Del Mar at odds of 2-1 while racing on the front end. Since then, he has tried Allowance company four times while flashing speed and fading in sprint races. Distance and class seem to present serious obstacles.
FAME TO FAMOUS [ML 30-1] Trainer: John McAllen. Jockey: Carlos Hernandez. All but one of his starts were on the turf. Last year, he broke his Maiden at Belmont Park going a mile on the grass while stalking the pace but has not Won since. His only try on the dirt was a last place finish in the Risen Star (G2) back in February.
LEBDA [ML 20-1] Trainer: Claudio Gonzalez. Jockey: Alex Cintron. He has four career Victories which is the most for any horse in this field. Two of those Wins were in listed Stakes races at his home base at Laurel Park. Last seen he pressed the pace in the Ohio Derby (G3) and faded to 6th in the field of 13. As a 2-year-old he did run 3rd in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs.
NY TRAFFIC [ML 7-2] Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Paco Lopez. This New York-bred ships up to New Jersey from Gulfstream Park to continue his run on the Kentucky Derby trail. With 70 Derby qualifying points in hand, he probably has secured a spot in the Run for the Roses already. In his last three starts he has two 2nd and one 3rd place finish in Derby preps. Another good effort should be expected in the Haskell.
Summary: #2 AUTHENTIC will be a heavy favorite for the Bob Baffert barn. And #1 DR POST will end up being the second betting favorite. Neither will offer any Value in a field of seven.
Followers of the Daily Racing Blog are aware that we always demand Value. That said, we will try to beat the Morning Line favorites with #7 NY TRAFFIC.
The Play: Obviously, we will use both the #1 and 2 in our multi-race wagers (Pick 4, Pick 5), but in the Haskell itself we will play a Trifecta Key using the #7 on top of the #1-2-3-6. The ticket will read; 7 with 1-2-3-6 with 1-2-3-6. We will also place Win bets on the #3, 6, and 7– if he stays at 7-2 odds or higher.
Best of luck no matter how you play it.