There is no sign of Bob Baffert’s Cezanne in the list of horses listed as Probable for the Grade I Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park next Saturday after track officials announced that nine horses were likely to set foot on the track for the $1,000,000 purse on July 18.
With Kentucky Derby qualifying points and a ‘Win and You’re In’ berth for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at stake, this is one of the biggest races of the summer and also one of the richest. It is therefore little surprise at the caliber of horses that are set to make their way up to New Jersey to take on a race with plenty of money, Derby points and an all-expenses paid for spot at the richest race in north America at stake.
Baffert may not be sending Cezanne but he is set to send Authentic cross country to participate in the race having come off the back of a disappointing run at the Santa Anita Derby, which has seen his stock dip recently. The winner of the Sham and San Felipe is still high on the Kentucky Derby Odds board but was priced up at 11/1 in the latest Futures Pool. A win at the Haskell would certainly attract interest which would indicate those odds are somewhat generous.
Dr. Post finished second to Tiz the Law at the Belmont in June and like Authentic has already amassed enough qualifying points to make the Derby so this isn’t about the Road to the Kentucky Derby, more about trying to win a Grade I with a big pay day for owners the St Elias Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher.
Ny Traffic is another horse already into the Derby field with 70 points following three runners-up finishes on the Prep trail so far. Ete Indien is also in following his Fountain of Youth Stakes win and a couple of other points scoring finishes. This means four horses listed as probable are already set for Churchill Downs in September.
The full list of Probables for the 2020 Haskell are, Ancient Warrior, Authentic, Dr. Post, Ete Indien, Fame to Famous, Jesus' Team, Lebda, Ny Traffic and Sonneman.
Modernist and Mystic Guide are listed as possible and if either decides to run then it’ll be one of the larger fields in the race's history.