This year, It’s the Haskell Stakes, not the Haskell Invitational.
This year, it is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep race with 100 points going to the winner and a sliding scale of 40-20-10 for horses finishing second through fourth.
This year, there will be a different winning trainer than last year, as Monmouth Park is running without perennial leading trainer Jorge Navarro or 2019 Haskell-winning trainer Jason Servis (Maximum Security), as they were indicted on horse doping charges earlier in the year.
There won’t be a grandstand full of fans, as only a limited number of spectators were afforded premium-priced tickets.
Make no doubt about it, this year’s Haskell will be different.
Haskell Stakes odds and post positions 2020
The morning line 4-5 favorite Authentic is trained by Bob Baffert, who on Wednesday was stripped of an allowance win by Gamine at Oaklawn Park in May, but also an Arkansas Derby win by Charlatan, as both had tested positive for Lidocaine, and were disqualified from those races this week.
The good news? At least (as of now) Monmouth Park will be running, unlike Del Mar, which was forced to close due to over a dozen jockeys testing positive for COVID.
The nine furlong Haskell Stakes drew a field of seven with Dr Post playing second fiddle to Baffert’s Authentic.
Haskell field analysis and predictions
No. 1 Dr Post (5-2 morning line)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Joe Bravo
Dr Post broke a two-race win streak last time out, but that performance in the Belmont Stakes where he finished second to Tiz the Law turned a lot of heads. The big question here is if he can replicate or even build on that effort in June against easily the top-rated 3-year-old colt in the country. Dr Post employs an early mid-pack running style and cranks it up later in the race. The pace in the Haskell projects to be honest, with no real speed types subscribed. Dr Post deserves to be the second choice on the morning line in this field.
No. 2 Authentic (4-5 morning line)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith
Authentic did not break well from the gate in the Santa Anita Derby and subsequently did not get to the front of the pack at any point of call. In his first three starts (all victories) he showed tremendous speed. Whether he was trying to rate or not in Santa Anita’s big race or not is a moot point. Here’ he could easily be the speed, and he’s proven he can wire a field. Look for him to get the first jump and never look back. This is his race to lose.
No. 3 Jesus’ Team (15-1 morning line)
Trainer: Jose F. D’Angelo
Jockey: Nik Juarez
Jesus’ Team won back-to-back races while in for a claiming tag earlier this year–breaking his maiden in a $32k maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park in January where he was claimed by the current connections, then won a $25k straight claiming race at the same track in May. A Grade I try following a second-place effort where he finished ahead of Shivaree and Ete Indien but behind race winner Sole Volante is optimistic at best.
No. 4 Ancient Warrior (20-1 morning line)
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey: Trevor McCarthy
Ancient Warrior won a maiden special weight race at Del Mar last November, and has not finished better than third against winners in four tries since his debut. Even though this field is light on big-time talent, this is a big ask for this Constitution colt. He has shown speed previously, so maybe reverting to earlier tactics is in the card, which could make him a monkey wrench in the pace scenario.
No. 5 Fame to Famous (30-1 morning line)
Trainer: John P. McAllen
Jockey: Jose Ferrer
Fame to Famous will be trying graded stakes competition for the second time in his career. The first time, he finished eleventh, far back at 106-1 odds in the Grade II Risen Star at Fair Grounds in February. He has yet to hit the board in five starts against winners after breaking his maiden at Belmont Park last October in his fourth try. In nine career starts, only the Risen Star was run over dirt, as he has raced almost exclusively on turf.
No. 6 Lebda (20-1 morning line)
Trainer: Claudio Gonzalez
Jockey: Alex Cintron
Multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Lebda is a solid contender here, albeit a second-tier contender behind Authentic and Dr Post. He finished sixth in the Grade III Ohio Derby last out following back-to-back stakes victories at Laurel Park in February and March. He runs best when forwardly-placed and should probably be exactly that in the Haskell.
No. 7 Ny Traffic ( 10-1 morning line)
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Ny Traffic is another that can show early speed, although his only gate-to-wire victory was in allowance company at Gulfstream Park in January. He got to the lead in the Grade II Risen Star, and finished third, beaten by Modernist and Major Fed. He wasn’t as fast as Wells Bayou in the Grade II Louisiana Derby, and was second from start to finish. His most-recent effort, like Dr Post was probably his career best without the result being a victory. For Dr Post, it was a second-place finish in the Grade I Belmont Stakes. For Ny Traffic, it was finishing second to Maxfield in the Grade III Matt Winn at Churchill Downs in May. He is a contender to hit the board in the Haskell.
In this race, a straight Authentic/Dr Post exacta is the best bet, but the return will be very low. They are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Second-tier horses to use in trifectas underneath Authentic and Dr Post are Lebda and Ny Traffic.
Best bets: Straight exacta (2-1) and trifecta wheel 2 with 1 with 6,7