Unbeaten in three starts and a winner most recently of two graded stakes by a combined 10 lengths, Bob Baffert’s Authentic will renew his rivalry with talented Honor A.P. as they head a field of seven sophomores going a mile and one eighth in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.
The two were separated by 2 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes on March 7, Authentic won his past two races in gate to wire fashion. Drayden Van Dyke is back aboard.
A long striding ridgling by Honor Code, Honor A.P. has trained well for John Shirreffs since the San Felipe, and connections hope he runs an improved race on Saturday. Mike Smith retains the mount.
Trainer Michael McCarthy’s Rushie, a first condition allowance winner going a mile and a sixteenth at Oaklawn Park on May 2, appears to be on the improve and will be ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat.
Beyond the purse money, the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby carries 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with the winner to receive 100, second 40, third 20 and the fourth place finisher 10 points.
Here's a breakdown of Authentic, Honor A. P. and Rushie.
Owner: SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, Frederick Hertrich, III, John D. Fielding & Golconda Stables
Trainer: Bob Baffert
A first-out maiden winner at odds of 3-5 going 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 9, the son of Into Mischief aired by 7 3/4 front-running lengths going a flat mile in the Sham Stakes on Jan. 4, earning 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points while registering a 90 Beyer Speed figure. A 2 1/4 length winner of the San Felipe, Authentic earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. With a top three finish on Saturday, he would be assured a berth in the Run for the Roses on Sept. 5.
Owner: C R K Stable, LLC
Trainer: John Shirreffs
Off at 1-2 in his second start on Oct. 13, he led throughout to take a one mile maiden race by 5 1/4 lengths while earning a 91 Beyer. Purchased for $850,000 as a yearling, Honor A.P. has a long stride and has the look of colt that could improve with added distance. With his second place finish to Authentic in the San Felipe, he collected 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, so he needs more. He’ll be reunited with Mike Smith on Saturday, who has ridden him in all three of his previous starts.
Owner: Jim & Donna Daniell
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
A grey colt by Liam’s Map, he’ll be making his fifth overall start and his fourth in a row going a route of ground. Although beaten 10 1/4 lengths by Charlatan in a one mile allowance at the track two starts back on March 14, Rushie was an attentive second early en route to an authoritative 1 1/16 mile allowance score at Oaklawn Park on May 2. A modest $70,000 2-year-old in training sale purchase a year ago March, Rushie is colt on the improve who could prove dangerous off of his Arkansas win.
The Santa Anita Derby will be race 8 of 11, with an approximate post time 7:00 ET.
1 Friar’s Road, Geovanni Franco
2 Rushie, Flavien Prat
3 Shooters Shoot, Abel Cedillo
4 Anneau d’Oro, Victor Espinoza
5 Azul Coast, Umberto Rispoli
6 Honor A. P., Mike Smith
7 Authentic, Drayden Van Dyke
All will carry 124 pounds.