As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the March 7 San Felipe (G2) awarded points on a 50-20-10-5 toward a berth in a 20-horse Derby field.
It was the third of four qualifiers at Santa Anita, and Authentic jumped to the top of the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with the win. The $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 4 serves as one of seven major final prep races, awarding 170 points (100-40-20-10).
Here are three takeaways from the San Felipe:
1 – Speed’s the game for unbeaten Authentic.
He didn’t break as sharply this time, bobbling slightly when the gates opened, but quickly recovered to show the way on a short lead. When Honor A. P. rallied into a threatening position by upper stretch, Authentic had more in reserve and went on to score by a comfortable 2 1/4-length margin.
The classy 3-year-old has now captured all three starts in front-running fashion, including a 7 3/4-length romp in the Jan. 1 Sham (G3), and Authentic was bet down as the 6-1 favorite among individual interests in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager following his smashing performance in the San Felipe.
By Into Mischief, the $350,000 yearling purchase will bring high speed to the Kentucky Derby field.
2 – Baffert factor.
Authentic is in the right barn for the Kentucky Derby. Bob Baffert has won a pair of Triple Crowns in the last five years, and the Hall of Fame trainer is pursuing a record-equaling sixth Kentucky Derby victory. He padded his record in the San Felipe, winning the 1 1/16-mile race for a seventh time.
Baffert will continue to prepare his charge for longer distances, and Authentic will be the horse to beat in the Santa Anita Derby. It will be interesting to see if he faces more early pressure next time. Authentic got away with soft fractions in the Sham (23 4/5 and 47 4/5) and was unopposed during the opening stages of the San Felipe.
His Brisnet Speed ratings can also improve, generating a 97 for the San Felipe and Sham. It would be preferable to see a triple-digit number in the final prep.
3 – Honor A. P. ran big off the shelf.
Unraced since mid-October, the son of Honor Code spotted seasoning to foes and offered a fine middle move into contention. Honor A. P. leveled off in the final furlong, but he easily held second by 3 1/2 lengths and is eligible to keep moving forward off the encouraging comeback.
Trained by John Shirreffs, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo, Honor A. P. was exiting an eye-catching maiden win going two turns at Santa Anita. The stalker looks built for added ground, and Honor A. P. is expected to make his final prep in the Santa Anita Derby.