October 3, 2023

Sham attracts Baffert duo of Authentic, Azul Coast

Authentic breaking his maiden at Del Mar on November 9 (c) Benoit Photo

Five-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert has top contenders Authentic and Azul Coast in Saturday’s $100,000 Sham (G3). The first of four Kentucky Derby qualifiers at Santa Anita in 2020, the one-mile test will feature a field of six.

As part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Sham will award points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers.

Authentic and Azul Coast will make their stakes debut after posting sharp first-out maiden wins.

A $350,000 son of Into Mischief, Authentic rolled to a front-running decision as the 3-5 favorite at Del Mar on November 9, scoring by 1 1/2 lengths in the 5 ½-furlong race. The bay colt registered a field-best 91 Brisnet Speed rating last time, and Authentic retains the services of Drayden Van Dyke.

Azul Coast rallied to win going away by four lengths at Los Alamitos December 8, triumphing as the 2-1 favorite at a two-turn mile. The son of Super Saver cost $320,000 as a yearling, and Joel Rosario will replace Van Dyke in the saddle. Azul Coast netted a 90 Brisnet Speed.

Zimba Warrior is the only member of the field with stakes experience, recording a non-threatening third in the November 16 Bob Hope (G3) last out. A Florida-bred son of Khozan, the chestnut colt will stretch out to two turns for Keith Desormeaux and Jose Valdivia Jr. rides.

Richard Baltas has a pair of runners in Taishan, a one-length maiden winner at Santa Anita in his second outing; and Uncaptured Hero, who won the second time out in a $100,000 maiden claiming event at Del Mar. Completing the field is the Doug O’Neill-trained Scoring, will will make his first appearance since being placed first via disqualification in a Santa Anita maiden race in mid-June.