Head to Head: Handicapping the 2020 Haskell Stakes

Head to Head: Handicapping the 2020 Haskell Stakes
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

The ongoing train of preps for the 2020 Kentucky Derby stops at Monmouth Park for the Haskell Stakes (G1) on Saturday. Seven 3-year-old colts will contest 1 1/8 miles.

Ashley Tamulonis of Coast To Coast and I think the field is pretty cut and dried.




The time off between his debut and his first win, roughly 8 1/2 months, was just the ticket for Dr Post. He scored twice at Gulfstream en route to running a bang-up second behind Tiz the Law in the shortened Belmont. Todd Pletcher seems to have this one peaking at a good time. Win contender.

I was impressed that Dr Post made up ground going six wide around the turn in the Belmont Stakes. Vote him most likely to benefit if there’s a speed duel between Authentic and Ny Traffic. Win contender.



One of Bob Baffert’s top prospects, Authentic fell to Honor A. P. in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), ending his perfect streak. Third place finisher Rushie came back to also run third in the Blue Grass (G2). Authentic boasts the best dirt speed in the field and will be hard to ignore despite the short odds.

Quirky Authentic had no answer when Honor A.P. passed him in the stretch of the Santa Anita Derby. He’s a vulnerable favorite who may face early pressure from Ny Traffic or even Ancient Warrior. However, if Authentic can carve out slow fractions, he’ll be tough to pass in the stretch. Win contender.



Jesus’ Team may be a former claimer, but his last two races down at Gulfstream were pretty good. The speed figures for those two races fit here. I would not play this colt on top on the step up in class, but I could see him rounding out the exotics.

In his last start, Jesus’ Team settled into a good rhythm in third, tracking dueling speedsters Ete Indien and Shivaree early. He moved with Sole Volante down the stretch but wasn’t going as fast as that one. It was a reasonable effort against stakes-quality horses, and he’s shown speed figure improvement in his last two starts. This isn’t a strong Haskell field, and it’s a chance for an improving colt to pick up blacktype. Exotics.



Oh no, Hollendorfer, what is you doing?!? First time at Monmouth. First time in a graded stakes. First time at a route distance. There’s a chance that this son of Constitution is looking for some more real estate, but no thank you.

Ancient Warrior looked good winning his debut by 4 1/2 lengths. And then … crickets. He’s been toiling against optional claimers, going nowhere fast. I’m with Ashley on this one. Pass.


Why does there always have to be a token turf runner in these events? I’m sure I have asked that question a million times, but it just keeps happening. Fame to Famous has one prior start on dirt, an 11th place thumping in one division of the Risen Star (G2). Don’t waste your money.

I keep hoping the token turf horse in these stakes will take to the dirt and become the next Cigar. That’s not gonna happen here. No Cigar.


Lebda is the big fish from the little (Laurel) pond. This colt has run quite well there, but anytime he’s ventured into deeper waters, things have gone south. Sure there’s that third place in the Iroquois (G3), but that field turned out to be pretty terrible. Pass.

Lebda dueled 3-wide in an even weaker field in the Ohio Derby and hit the brakes in the stretch like he saw a speed trap at the 3/4 pole. Pass.



Ny Traffic is about as consistent as you could hope for. So far this year, he has not placed worse than third while racking up placings in three graded stakes. He has been working lights out in Florida since falling just short to Maxfield in the Matt Winn (G3) in May. With such a short field, jockey Paco Lopez should have little problem moving toward the rail at the break. Must use on your tickets.

I have to give kudos to Ny Traffic. He’s game and generally hangs in there when setting or pressing the pace. Vote him most likely to finish second … or third.



Final Thoughts

Laurie:  In the last 10 years, the victors were either deep closers or pressed the early pace. Only Bayern (2014) took them gate to wire.

There’s not a whole lot in here that sparks my interest. Is Authentic lone speed, or will Lebda and possibly Ny Traffic press him from the outside? If that scenario evolves, Dr Post can sit a cozy trip behind the pace and take over in the stretch. Scenario two is that Smith throttles Authentic’s early speed, nobody notices, and they steal the race.

Ashley: This is one of those fields where you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Personally, I like that I don’t have to throw darts, for once. I am, however, going to try to beat the heavy favorite.







#7 Ny Traffic (7-2)

#1 Dr Post (5-2)

#1 Dr Post (5-2)

#2 Authentic (4-5)

#2 Authentic (4-5)

#7 Ny Traffic (7-2)

#3 Jesus’ Team (15-1)

#3 Jesus’ Team (15-1)


Meet Laurie Ross

 HRN Pedigree Analyst 


 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 ThoroFan Board Member

 Member – NTWAB

Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

Twitter: @IMTBreds
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LinkedIn: Laurie Ross

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