Honor A. P., widely viewed as the second favorite for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby (G1), will get some type of challenge from a combination of Bob Baffert-trained rivals when he turns in his final Derby prep on Saturday in the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.
Last seen posting a convincing 2 3/4-length victory in the June 6 Santa Anita Derby (G1) over subsequent Haskell (G1) scorer Authentic, Honor A. P. will have regular rider Mike Smith back aboard for the 1 1/16-mile test.
Baffert has entered three horses in the Shared Belief, though the most highly-regarded of the trio, Los Alamitos Derby (G3) winner Uncle Chuck, could sit this one out and await the Aug. 8 Travers (G1) at Saratoga, where he would meet current Derby favorite Tiz the Law. The Travers also offers more qualifying points than the Shared Belief, which offers points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers. Uncle Chuck currently has just 20 points on the Derby leaderboard.
The rest of the Baffert contingent includes multiple graded stakes winner Thousand Words, four lengths second in the Los Alamitos Derby when last seen, and stakes newcomer Cezanne, who's won twice since belatedly kicking off his career on the Santa Anita Derby undercard.
Anneau d'Or has not yet improved significantly enough off his fine juvenile form and was most recently fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, 5 3/4 lengths behind Honor A. P. The short field is rounded out by longshot Kiss Today Goodbye, who was virtually eased in his first attempt against winners in his last start.
The Shared Belief is early on Del Mar's Saturday card, going off as Race 2 with a 5:30 p.m. ET post. The race can be watched and wagered on at TwinSpires.com.