BONUS: This week on The Player's Edge we are joined by Monmouth Park Analyst Brad Thomas. You don't want to miss his thoughts on the Haskell and he has a live longshot for the United Nations Stakes in Race 11. You can check out Brad's work at https://www.monmouthpark.com/brads-picks/. Make sure you take a look at the videos at the bottom of the page for some of his top plays.
Maybe the Garden State's most famous citizen sang Baby, I was born to Run. Seven horses will do just that in the $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, not too far from the title of the Boss, Bruce Springsteen's debut album; Greetings for Asbury Park N.J.
Along with the lion's share of the seven-figure prize pool, the Haskell winner will get 100 qualifying points for the 2020 Kentucky Derby (40 for 2nd, 20 for 3rd and 10 for 4th). The boys better make do as just five qualifying races remain, including the Haskell, in the twisty, turny detour to the 2020 Derby.
Three of the seven Haskell combatants are likely already good to go for the first Saturday of September. Morning line favorite, AUTHENTIC (PP: 2 ML 4/5) sits third on the leaderboard with 100 points, NY TRAFFIC (PP: 7 ML 7/2) is ranked eighth with 70 points and DR POST (PP: 1 ML 5/2) is ninth with 60.
The trio all have more points than 38, the highest, minimum number needed since the KD moved to the point system in 2013. Beyond the big buck and Derby, the Haskell is also a win and you are in for the 2020 Breeders' Cup.
Horseplayers could throw money at AUTHENTIC and his odds are likely to head lower than 4/5. In the last 10 years, all but one of the seven post-time favorites of 6/5 or less went straight to the winners' circle. The son of INTO MISCHIEF also has the right running style as speed has won five of the six dirt routes in the early part of the Monmouth meet. AUTHENTIC should press the lead and look to pull away in the stretch.
DR POST is the lone horse in the field to record multiple speed figures of 100 or more. In fact, he's hit the hundo mark in two of his four starts, including his last effort. He finished second to current Kentucky Derby favorite TIZ THE LAW in the Grade I, Belmont Stakes. Trainer Todd Pletcher's horse tends to be patient and runs mid-pack, which might not be the best fit for Monmouth Park.
JESUS' TEAM (PP: 3 ML 15-1) is on the outside looking in for a run at the roses. He'll need a big effort, at least a second-place finish to punch his ticket to Louisville, Kentucky on September 5th. He'll be making his third start after a two-month layoff. He showed better in his last race, cutting his 1 mile time by nearly a second. He'll need to be even better in the Haskell in his first crack at a stakes race.
NY TRAFFIC returns to work for the first time since May 23rd. Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.'s horse has run well after some time off. He finished second to MAXFIELD in the Grade III, Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs and won a $75k Optional Claimer in his previous two first starts following time in the barn. NY TRAFFIC should be one of the horses pushing the pace, the right place to be.
We listed them the way we ranked them in our picks with ANCIENT WARRIOR (PP: 4 ML 20-1) and LEBDA (PP: 6 ML 20-1) as our two alternative choices.