‘Extremely Fast’ Authentic Brings Baffert Back To Jersey Shore; Hall Of Famer Seeks Ninth Haskell Victory

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won Monmouth Park’s Haskell a record eight times, though not since 2015 with Triple Crown champion American Pharoah. Baffert took a moment to reflect on Pharoah’s trip to the Jersey Shore during Wednesday’s media teleconference organized by the NTRA.

“I remember bringing Pharoah in there, and I was really nervous,” said Baffert. “We were all really nervous; the Zayat family brought like 200 friends. I didn’t want to get the Triple Crown winner beat.

“It was such an exciting visual, the horses were getting ready to go in the gate, and the place was packed, and all of the sudden somebody said, ‘look down at the rail.’ I’d never seen anything like it, I’d never seen it before, but the jockey’s room was emptied out and all the jockeys were out there to watch him run.

“It was such a wonderful experience. American Pharoah brought so much joy to everyone that day.”

Baffert’s other Haskell wins came in 2014 (Bayern), 2012 (Paynter), 2011 (Coil), 2010 (Lookin at Lucky), 2005 (Roman Ruler), 2002 (War Emblem) and 2001 (Point Given).

This year, Baffert will be seeking his ninth win in the 1 1/8-mile contest with 4-5 morning-line favorite Authentic, owned by Spendthrift Farm, Madaket Stables, Starlight Racing, and MyRacehorse.com. The 3-year-old son of Into Mischief will face a field of six rivals in the $1 million contest, which awards the winner both 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and an expenses-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Authentic won the first three starts of his career, including the G2 San Felipe Stakes, before finishing second behind Honor A. P. in last month’s G1 Santa Anita Derby.

“He came into the race, I think he was a little bit fresh,” Baffert said. “I backed off of him, because I didn’t know when they were going to run the Santa Anita Derby. You know, we like to make excuses for the horses, they’re like our children.

“He didn’t have a great trip, he was a little wide and he just got tired … But since then, he’s been training really well, and I think he couldn’t be doing any better.”

Authentic will be ridden by Mike Smith from post position two this Saturday. The colt arrived at Monmouth late Tuesday evening, and galloped over the track on Wednesday.

“He shipped well, he settled in well,” Baffert said. “[Assistant trainer] Jimmy [Barnes] said he went to the track today and he just floated over it.”

Earlier in this unusual 2020 season, Baffert had hoped to send Charlatan to the Haskell, but that colt came up with filling in a front ankle and recently underwent a successful surgery to remove a bone chip. The Arkansas Derby winner is expected to return to Baffert’s barn in mid-to-late August, and will likely not make either the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness Stakes, but could run in the Breeders’ Cup.

“We’ve had some horses get injured, unfortunately, and it changed everything,” Baffert said. “But I thought this horse, Authentic, would be a perfect fit (for the Haskell). He’s an extremely fast horse and he’s a good horse.”

The field for the 53rd Haskell Stakes:

1. Dr Post Todd Pletcher Joe Bravo 5-2

2. Authentic Bob Baffert Mike Smith 4-5

3. Jesus’ Team Jose D’Angelo Nik Juarez 15-1

4. Ancient Warrior Jerry Hollendorfer Trevor McCarthy 20-1

5. Fame to Famous John P. McAllen Jose C. Ferrer 30-1

6. Lebda Claudio Gonzalez Alex Cintron 20-1

7. Ny Traffic Saffie Joseph, Jr. Paco Lopez 7-2

The post ‘Extremely Fast’ Authentic Brings Baffert Back To Jersey Shore; Hall Of Famer Seeks Ninth Haskell Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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