Small Field, Big Talent
Bob Baffert’s undefeated twosome of Authentic and Thousand Words meet five others, including Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court, in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.
The San Felipe will award a total of 85 all-important Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with 50 to the winner, 20 to second, 10 to third and five points to the fourth place finisher.
Authentic, a gifted if not quirky colt by Into Mischief and trained by Bob Baffert, broke his maiden at first asking going 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 9, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. The 6-5 favorite in the one-mile Grade III Sham Stakes on Jan. 4, he daylighted his rivals by 7 3/4 lengths, but he gave Drayden Van Dyke some anxious moments late, as he nearly brushed the inner rail a furlong out.
“I think the noise from the crowd made him react the way he did there in the stretch,” said Van Dyke. "I told Bob when he broke his maiden he was my favorite 2-year-old. He’s very talented.”
A $350,000 Keeneland September Yearling, look for Authentic to blast off as he tries to make every pole a winning one. Baffert said he'll use ear plugs to counteract crowd noise.
Authentic is owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, Frederick Hertrich, III, John D. Fielding and Golconda Stables
Thousand Words, a $1 million Keeneland September Yearling, is also trained by Baffert. He's been efficient winning all three of his starts, the most recent a workmanlike three quarter length tally in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 mile on Feb. 1.
A winner of the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity at the same distance over an off track on Dec. 7, Thousand Words has exhibited a grinding style and a will to win. Regular rider Flavien Prat is back aboard and hopes to look his competition in the eye the final sixteenth of a mile on Saturday. If so, he could be tough to deny.
Thousand Words is owned by Albaugh Family Stables, LLC and Spendthrift Farm, LLC.
Storm the Court, a Kentucky-bred colt by Court Vision, sold for $60,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale in Florida 11 months ago. With a 45-1 victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile two starts back, he's banked $1,184,951 from two wins in five starts for trainer Peter Eurton.
In a race he probably needed, Storm the Court finished fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Baffert’s highly regarded Nadal going seven furlongs in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 9. Although he never threatened for the win, 'Storm' was game and galloped out very well.
Joel Rosario takes over from Flavien Prat, who opted to stick with Thousand Words.
Exline-Border Racing, LLC, David Bernsen, LLC, Dan Hudock & Susanna Wilson own Storm the Court.
John Shirreffs trains Honor A. P., a $850,000 Fasig Tipton 2-year-old in training sale grad. This Honor Code ridgling showed great promise in his maiden win on Oct. 13, as he led throughout en route to an impressive 5 1/4 length win going a flat mile in his second start.
Idle since, the long striding Honor A. P. makes his 3-year-old debut in the deep waters of the San Felipe. His connections hope the talent he showed four months ago will carry the day with Mike Smith back in the saddle Saturday.
C R K Stables, LLC is the owner of Honor A. P.
Wrecking Crew, trained by Peter Miller and owned by Rockingham Ranch and David A Bernsen LLC, finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but he was distanced in the Los Alamitos Futurity the following month. The San Felipe will be his 3-year-old debut.
The field is rounded out by Fort McHenry, who was supplemented to the race and will add blinkers; and by Swagsational.
The San Felipe is race 8 of 12 with an approximate post time of 6:00 p.m. ET.
1 Fort McHenry, Abel Cedillo, Doug O'Neill
2 Honor A.P., Mike Smith, John Shirreffs
3 Wrecking Crew, Tyler Gaffalione, Peter Miller
4 Authentic, Drayden Van Dyke, Bob Baffert
5 Thousand Words, Flavien Prat, Bob Baffert
6 Storm the Court, Joel Rosario, Peter Eurton
7 Swagsational, Kassie Guglielmino, Heath Lawrence
Edited release with additonal content by Dick Downey