OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) — Belmont Stakes runner-up Dr Post surprisingly took the lead at the start and held off a late challenge by Ny Traffic to capture the $1 million Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.
Ridden magnificently by Joe Brave in his first ride on the colt, Dr Post covered the 11/8 mile Grade 1 stakes in 1:50.46. The win was the third in four starts this year for the Todd Pletcher-trained colt with his only loss coming against Tiz the Law in the Belmont last month.
Odds-on favorite Authentic finished a disappointing third in failing to give trainer Bob Baffert his record-extending ninth win in the event.
Bravo picked up the ride earlier this week, when Dr Post's regular rider Irad Ortiz could not travel because of recent restrictions established by the New York Racing Association. The NYRA ruled New York-based jockeys who travel out of state cannot compete at Saratoga because of a spike in positive COVID-19 races.
Authentic's performance was disappointing. Jockey Mike Smith journeyed from California for the ride and he never got the colt going early. He was in sixth most of the way and never looked like a winner in dropping his second straight race after three consecutive wins.
Ny Traffic, who finished second in the Matt Winn in Kentucky in his last start came flying late and just could not catch Dr. Post before the finish line with Paco Lopez in the irons.
Dr Post earned 100 points for the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. The winner also earned a berth for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Dr Post paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10. Ny Traffic returned $4.20 and $2.40, and Authentic paid $2.10 to show.
The owners of Tiz the Law plan to run this year’s winner of the first leg of the Triple Crown in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8. It would be his final prep for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The Preakness is scheduled for Oct. 3 in a rejiggered Triple Crown season changed by the coronavirus.
Just before the Haskell, Bravo rallied Aquaphobia ($23.40) in the stretch to a narrow victory over Paret in the $300,000 The United Nations Stakes, the only other Grade I race run in New Jersey. It's was Bravo's fifth win in the race.
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