Authentic will bring his speed to the Jersey Shore in Saturday’s $1 million Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park. A convincing winner of the San Felipe (G2) and Sham (G3) earlier this season at Santa Anita, the Bob Baffert-trained colt has been installed as the 4-5 favorite on the morning line in the seven-horse field.
A five-time Kentucky Derby victor, Baffert has won the Haskell a record eight times. The 1 1/8-mile race has been added to the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, awarding points on a 100-40-20-10 scale toward a berth in the Sept. 4 classic.
Authentic rolled to convincing wire-to-wire victories in his first three starts. The son of Into Mischief was compromised by a slow start and a wide trip when sustaining his first defeat in the June 6 Santa Anita Derby (G3), finishing a clear second behind Honor A. P., and the chestnut colt is eligible to receive a better trip from post 2 Saturday. Mike Smith will pick up the mount.
Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up Dr Post is the main rival. A maiden winner when making his second career start in late March, the Quality Road colt followed with a nice triumph in the Unbridled S. at Gulfstream Park. The dark bay colt rallied to be a clear second behind Tiz the Law in the Belmont Stakes, his initial attempt at a graded stakes, and Dr Post will try to keep moving forward for three-time Haskell winner Todd Pletcher. Joe Bravo takes over the reins.
After placing in his last three outings, Ny Traffic will look to break through at the graded level. Runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and third in the second division of the Risen Star (G2), the New York-bred son of Cross Traffic exits a respectable second the now-sidelined Maxfield in the May 23 Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs. Paco Lopez retains the assignment for Saffie Joseph Jr.
Multiple stakes winner Lebda will make his second start off the layoff for trainer Claudio Gonzalez, checking in sixth most recently in the Ohio Derby (G3), and Alex Cintron will be up. Completing the field are Jesus’ Team, a close second in a Gulfstream allowance/optional claimer last out; Ancient Warrior, who will stretch out to two turns and test stakes competition for Jerry Hollendorfer; and turf maiden scorer Fame to Famous.