Ny Traffic: 'Better and better and better' heading into Haskell

Ny Traffic: 'Better and better and better' heading into Haskell
Photo: Ryan Thompson

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. says Haskell Stakes contender Ny Traffic has "just kept getting better and better" leading up to Saturday's Grade 1 stakes at Monmouth Park.

In a conference call hosted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, he noted that after his team took him over late last year, the son of Cross Traffic finished ninth in an allowance race, third in Grade 2 Risen Star and then second in the Louisiana Derby (G2). Last out, he came in second in the Matt Winn (G3), losing by a length to Maxfield.

"It hasn’t been huge jumps, but it’s been just progressive jumps," he said. "And that’s what you want to see from a 3-year-old because he’s headed in the right direction. I don’t think he was the best horse of the crop, but the way things have worked out, he’s just climbing higher and higher."

Joseph said he was happy that Ny Traffic drew the outside post in the field of seven. "You got the speed to the inside, back good enough that you can break and see what's going on. ... The break's always key, especially on dirt. Hopefully, he breaks well."

For the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby, Ny Traffic earned 40 points for his effort in the Louisiana Derby, and 10 points for the Risen Star, so he had 50 points headed into the Matt Winn. Add another 20 points for that race, and he's currently at No. 8 on the leaderboard.

Ny Traffic is owned by Cash is King, LC Racing and Paul Braverman. Joseph said that when they decided to enter the colt in the Matt Winn, the thinking was that it would be good to get a few more points.

"Normally, 50 in a year is secure, but we thought this year is a bit weird and we need a bit more."

And he was pleased with the outcome, even though Ny Traffic couldn't pull out a win.

"I thought he ran a valiant race. ... I watched that race with such a rare feeling because I know how important it was to finish in the first two or even the first three, and so when he crossed the wire, I felt really good. Normally, you run second in a race, you feel a little disappointed, but there was no disappointment in me. I knew I ran behind a really nice horse, Maxfield, and just to run so close to him, it was an honor to see our horse show up but continue to improve himself. ...

"In my opinion, he was never the best of the crop, but he just kept getting better and better and better, and that’s very important," Joseph said. "And so far, he’s stayed nice and healthy, and that’s all we can ask for."

2020 Haskell Stakes (G1)

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