Which colt is Bob Baffert's leading Kentucky Derby (G1) contender? Is Honor A. P. a legitimate Derby threat? These questions and possibly more will be answered in the $400,000 San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita, arguably the most intriguing of the three Road to the Kentucky Derby series preps on Saturday.
Five-time Derby winner Baffert will be represented by Thousand Words, whose grinding style has led him to three victories in as many starts, and Authentic, a brilliant but still green son of Into Mischief who coasted in his stakes debut in early January.
Thousand Words has come out on top in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and Robert B. Lewis (G3) in consecutive outings by a combined margin of one length. In contrast, Authentic cruised by 7 3/4 lengths in the Sham (G3), though he raced erratically in the stretch.
Honor A. P., conditioned by 2005 Derby-winning trainer John Shirreffs, is a son of champion Honor Code and multiple Grade 1 winner Hollywood Story. A rallying second in his debut after a slow start at Del Mar last summer, he rebounded to dominate maiden foes by more than five lengths during Santa Anita's fall meet. However, he concedes recency to the Baffert pair having not been out since that Oct. 13 win.
Storm the Court, voted champion juvenile off his upset score in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), is almost the forgotten horse in the lineup, but could improve off a season-opening fourth in the 7-furlong San Vicente (G2) on Feb. 9. Wrecking Crew placed in two Grade 1s last season, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but hasn't been out since trailing the four-horse Los Alamitos Futurity in December.
The field of seven is rounded out by longshots Fort McHenry and Swagsational, the latter a two-time stakes winner at Turf Paradise.
The 1 1/16-mile San Felipe offers qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers. It can be watched and wagered on at TwinSpires.com.