Derby Winner, Runner-Up Could be Headed for Showdown Oct. 3
BALTIMORE – Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing’s Authentic, upset winner of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), and beaten favorite Tiz the Law could be headed for a rematch in the 145th Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday, Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course.
Trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning that Authentic emerged from his front-running 1 ¼-length triumph in good shape and would remain in Kentucky with fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas to prepare for the Preakness, presented this year as the final jewel in a refashioned Triple Crown.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, all three Triple Crown races were rescheduled and the order adjusted starting with the Belmont (G1), typically the final leg, from June 6 to June 20. The original dates for the Derby and Preakness were May 2 and May 16, respectively.
“I couldn’t believe it. I thought he’d be a little tired, but the track was in really good shape and it was fast and he got over it really well,” Baffert said. “They were planning on leaving tomorrow for California but being that the Preakness is a few weeks away, I thought it might be a little too hard for him to go back.
“We’ll just run him out of here,” he added. “If he’s working well and all is going well, then he’ll go to the Preakness. We want to give him every opportunity.”
Baffert said that 2020 Robert B. Lewis (G3) and 2019 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) winner Thousand Words is also being pointed to the Preakness. Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift’s Thousand Words flipped in the paddock after being saddled for the Derby and was scratched.
“We’re planning on sending both if they’re doing well,” Baffert said. “He didn’t even have a scratch on him. He fell on his side, so we were fortunate.”
Authentic won the Sham (G3), San Felipe (G2) and Haskell (G1) and was second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) this year. The Kentucky Derby was the first time in six career starts that the bay Into Mischief colt didn’t go off as the favorite.
That role was filled by Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law, who had been unbeaten during his 3-year-old season with wins in the Holy Bull (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park over the winter, the Belmont and most recently the 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) Aug. 8 at Saratoga.
Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law got within a head of Authentic with a half-mile to run but was never able to get by. Tiz the Law’s only two losses in eight starts have come at Churchill; he was third by less than a length over a sloppy track in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall.
“I haven’t seen a speed figure but it sounds like he bounced a little bit off the big Travers effort, and Barclay has a question that maybe he just really doesn’t like the racetrack,” Sackatoga managing partner Jack Knowlton said Sunday. “Watching him finish, he said he was kind of swimming a little bit maybe coming down the stretch. But, he ran the race that we were looking for. He got the trip. [Jockey] Manny [Franco] gave him a great ride and he just didn’t beat one horse. There’s no shame in running second in the Kentucky Derby.”
Knowlton said Tiz the Law is scheduled to fly back to Belmont Park on Tuesday. While he is leaning toward going on to the Preakness, the final decision come after talking to Tagg and ultimately rest with the horse.
“He ran good and came out of it great. I was over at the barn this morning and all is well,” Knowlton said. “I’ll have that discussion with Barclay and we’ll take a little time to see. My thinking is that we will, but we’ll have the horse dictate what’s going to happen. Certainly that would be my preference but we’ve just go to see how he comes out and see how he works when we have the next work in a couple weeks. We’ll have time for a couple works.”
Trainer Bret Calhoun said following the Derby that Mr. Big News, who ran third at odds of 46-1, was likely headed to Baltimore. Mr. Big News earned an automatic berth in the Preakness by virtue of his victory in the April 11 Oaklawn Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Three horses that were scratched from the Derby the week of the race are also being pointed to the Preakness – Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner King Guillermo, Blue Grass (G2) and Ellis Park Derby winner Art Collector, and Finnick the Fierce, third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) who beat Tiz the Law by a head when second in the Kentucky Jockey Club.
Among other potential Preakness horses are Mystic Guide and Dr. Post, respectively first and fourth in Saturday’s Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga; Manitoba Derby winner Mongolian Wind, entered in Monday’s Gold Cup Stakes at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg; Lebda, winner of the Miracle Wood and Private Terms at Laurel Park over the winter and most recently third in the Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes Aug. 28 at Charles Town; Pneumatic, last out winner of the Pegasus Stakes Aug. 15 at Monmouth Park and fourth in the Belmont for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen; and the Baffert-trained Azul Coast, winner of the El Camino Real Derby Feb. 15 at Golden Gate and second to Authentic in the Sham.
The $100,000 Federico Tesio Monday at Laurel Park is a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the Preakness. Happy Saver, undefeated in two career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, is the 1-2 program favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Preakness prep.