Trainer Bob Baffert boasts a brilliant record in the 9f Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby this weekend, so Authentic is a worthy favorite.
His handler has won three of the last five runnings and nine times overall. In Authentic, he has a colt by Into Mischief that is unbeaten in both of his career starts.
Both have come at Santa Anita in graded company. Authentic absolutely bolted up on debut in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes over a mile in January.
He left his five rivals for dead and clearly is an above average sort. Authentic then followed-up in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes over an extended mile in March.
As he led and was going best two out, he only needed riding along before putting the race to bed. The way in which Authentic stretched clear in the final furlong for a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths success over Honor A. P. was really impressive.
With the re-opposing runner-up now 2lb worse off at the weights, there is no reason why Authentic shouldn’t confirm form. The price available with bookmakers reflect that, but he has a favorite’s chance in the Santa Anita Derby.
The aforementioned Honor A. P. won over a mile at this venue in Arcadia, California as a two-year-old. That came on his second career start, so he could come on for the run.
Trained by John Shirreffs, who won the Santa Anita Derby in 2017 with Gormley, this son of Honor Code could chase Authentic home once again.
He may have found 6f at Del Mar too sharp on racecourse debut and clearly took a step forward for that experience when successfully stepping up in trip.
Honor A. P. scored by 5 1/4 lengths here last October. The way in which he was outpaced by Authentic on reappearance suggests there is something to find with the winner.
It’s also difficult to see Honor A. P. turning the tables off 2lb worse terms. He still looks the second best horse in this renewal of the Santa Anita Derby, though.
For that reason, an exacta is advised. Back Authentic for first place and Honor A. P. to finish second to him again.
Baffert also has Azul Coast running and he is an option for third place. The son of Super Saver won his debut at Los Alamitos by four lengths giving 5lb to the runner-up Special Day.
Although no match for stable companion Authentic in that Grade 3 contest here, he could be ridden to place or show. On a form line through the favorite, he has something to find with Honor A. P. but could prove best of the rest.
Baffert likes to have more bullet to fire in big races like the Santa Anita Derby. It’s hard to see Azul Coast making up almost eight lengths on Authentic, but he remains unexposed relative to other horses in the field.
With just two races under his belt, there is room for more progress than Anneau D’Or who has had more races and chances.
Azul Coast completes the show in the Santa Anita Derby, as Baffert looks to find out more about his Triple Crown string ahead of the Belmont Stakes on June 20.