Kentucky Derby Contender Authentic Favored to Win Saturday’s Haskell

Posted on: July 18, 2020, 06:58h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2020, 09:44h.

Authentic looks to regain his winning ways on Saturday, as the Road to the Kentucky ventures into New Jersey for the running of the Grade I Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Authentic Haskell
Authentic — shown here with jockey Drayden Van Dyke as they win the Grade III Sham Stakes in January at Santa Anita Park in California — is the favorite to win Saturday’s Grade I Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. (Image: Benoit Photo/AP)

The Bob Baffert-trained colt is coming off a second-place finish in the June 6 Santa Anita Derby, the first time he didn’t cross the wire first in four career starts. Oddsmakers at the track like his chances to rebound, as they made him the 4-5 morning-line favorite after he drew the second gate in the post position draw.

Mike Smith takes over the reins from Drayden Van Dyke.

I haven’t really even looked at these horses or what the field is. Going into these races, I really don’t look at that closely. Mike Smith is the master,” said Baffert. “He does his homework and he figures it out. We’ll briefly talk about it. My job is to make sure he has plenty of horse underneath him.”

The two horses that likely pose the biggest threats to Authentic are Dr Post and Ny Traffic. Both seek their first win in a graded stakes race.

Dr Post — trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Joe Bravo — ran second to Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz the Law in last month’s Belmont Stakes. A winner in two of his four career starts, he drew the inside post for Saturday’s race and has 5-2 morning-line odds.

Ny Traffic is the more veteran of the challengers, as the Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained colt will make his fifth start of the year and ninth of his career on Saturday. He’s finished third, second, and second in his last three races, all of which have been graded stakes. Paco Lopez gets the mount on Ny Traffic, who drew the outside post in the seven-horse field. His morning line odds are 7-2.

The winner of Saturday’s race will earn 100 points toward Kentucky Derby qualification. Authentic, Dr Post, and Ny Traffic all are currently ranked in the top 10 in qualifying. Even without a win Saturday, all three should already have enough points to make it to Louisville for the Sept. 5 race.

Post time for the race, which will be broadcast on NBC, is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. ET. The complete field can be found here.

Baffert Suspended, Will Appeal

Earlier this week, the Arkansas Racing Commission handed Baffert a 15-day suspension after two of his horses failed drug tests for lidocaine after their races at Oaklawn Park in May. The two horses were Charlatan, who won a division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby, and Gamine, a promising filly who won an allowance race that same day.

Baffert, whose attorney said in a statement that he’d appeal the suspension, which is scheduled to start Aug. 1, said trace amounts of the topical painkiller likely came from a patch worn by an employee.

The rulings were announced after a second round of testing on both horses also came back positive. Those test results led to the disqualification of both horses from their races. Charlatan, who was considered a top Kentucky Derby candidate, was later withdrawn from consideration for that race as he recovers from a minor ankle injury.

Charlatan is the second major contender that Baffert had to scratch from consideration for the Derby. Nadal was retired after suffering a fracture.

Gamine remains a top contender for the Kentucky Oaks. Last month, she romped to an 18-3/4-length victory in the Grade I Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park.

Derby Futures Betting This Weekend

Churchill Downs has opened another round of Kentucky Derby futures betting this weekend. Authentic started as the fourth choice in the pool when wagering began Friday afternoon.

Oddsmakers started Authentic at 10-1. As of Saturday morning, his odds were 8-1 in the pari-mutuel pool, behind only Art Collector (7-1), Honor A.P. (7-1), and favorite Tiz the Law (5-2).

Betting will continue through 6 p.m. ET Sunday.

This weekend also marks the second round of futures betting on the Kentucky Oaks, and Gamine is the strong 8-5 favorite in that pool.

The Oaks will be raced on Sept. 4.