In an unprecedented year such as this one, it should come as no surprise that the 146th Kentucky Derby was marked by stunning twists and turns as AUTHENTIC upset TIZ THE LAW last Saturday to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying 6th Derby Triumph.
Baffert equaled a mark set by Ben Jones that was once thought to be unattainable. “Here we are, the greatest race in the world. I feel very fortunate,” he said in an NBC interview following his 3rd Derby Win in six years.
Baffert Won his first Derby with SILVER CHARM in 1997 and immediately followed that next year with REAL QUIET. Then there was WAR EMBLEM in 2002 before a gap he emphatically ended with Triple Crown Champions AMERICAN PHAROAH in 2015 and JUSTIFY in 2018.
Twilight Zone- 2020 continued in the Churchill Downs paddock Saturday, when the other Baffert entrant THOUSAND WORDS, reared up when something startled him and the horse fell to the ground. That resulted in him being scratched and left assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, with a broken arm.
But Baffert still had AUTHENTIC.
Despite questions about whether the 3-year-old could get the classic distance after he faltered in the stretch and barely held off NY TRAFFIC by a nose in the July 18th Haskell Stakes, Baffert was quietly confident.
While running the 7th fastest time in Derby history, AUTHENTIC earned his 5th career Victory in a mere six starts. His only loss was a 2nd place finish to fellow KD rival HONOR A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby.
So as the sun set over the famed twin spires at iconic Churchill Downs last Saturday evening, it was as clear as blue-tinted sunglasses that no one was ever better at preparing a horse to Win the nation’s premier race on the first Saturday in May.
Or the first Saturday in September, as it were.