By Tom Quigley
$1,000,000 TVG.Com Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park
Race 12 (Saturday, July 18, 2020: 5:48 p.m./ET; 2:48 p.m./PT)
Mile and one-eighth on the main track (three-year-olds)
Bob Baffert has won the Haskell (G1) a record eight times and looks for another historic win in Monmouth Park’s marquee race. A half dozen other rivals take on the Baffert trained AUTHENTIC in the 2020 edition, including horses campaigned by Hall of Famer trainers Todd Pletcher and Jerry Hollendorfer. Let’s take a glimpse at the runners in post position order:
#1 DR. POST won the Unbridled Stakes in his second start this year and proceeded to run second to the leading three-year-old KY Derby (G1) contender (TIZ THE LAW), in the Belmont (G1)last month. All three starts this year have been terrific; no-doubt he is a major player.
#2 AUTHENTIC suffered his first career loss at the hands of HONOR A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on June 6. Earlier this year, he defeated HONOR A.P. In the San Felipe (G2) and won the Sham Stakes (G3) over next out El Camino Real Derby winner AZUL COAST. 4/5 morning line favorite is the horse to beat.
#3 JESUS’ TEAM was second best to Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner SOLO VALANTE in an allowance race at Gulfstream on June 10. Before that effort, he broke his maiden for a $32,000 tag and defeated a group of $25,000 claimers non-winners of two races lifetime.
#4 ANCIENT WARRIOR broke his maiden at first asking last year at Del Mar but has failed to win in four straight allowance races as a three-year-old. He also makes his first start farther than six-and-a- half furlongs in this spot, so he’ll need to show the world that he has what it takes to compete in a nine-furlong race.
#5 FAME TO FAMOUS ran in the Risen Star (G2) at the Fair Grounds earlier this year and lost by 26 lengths, his only previous start on dirt. Appears he is not good enough to be competitive in a race of this caliber.
#6 LEBDA went off at 6/1 in the Ohio Derby (G3) at Thistledown on June 27 and was a no-show, finishing double digit lengths behind the winner. Two and three starts ago, this Kentucky-bred son of RAISON D’ETAT won a pair of minor stakes races at Laurel.
#7 NY TRAFFIC has hit the board in his last three races (the Risen Star (G2), the Louisiana Derby (G2) and the Matt Winn (G3)). He has a versatile running style where he can either stalk the pace or go to the lead if nobody wants it. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. and jockey Paco Lopez team up and they win at a terrific 38% rate when partnered.
1. #1 DR. POST - Getting good at the right time.
2. #2 AUTHENTIC - Baffert owns the Haskell.
3. #7 NY TRAFFIC – NY-bred improving for a sharp barn.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY - #3 JESUS’ TEAM – Outclassed, but competitive on Beyers.
I’ll play a straight exacta using my top pick over my second choice.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget)
$50 Exacta: #1 DR. POST over #2 AUTHENTIC
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