September 27, 2020

Delayed rematch between Authentic, Honor A. P. now set in Santa Anita Derby

Authentic winning the San Felipe Stakes
Authentic wins the San Felipe Stakes (Benoit Photo)

We’ll find out whether the rematch between Authentic and Honor A. P. was worth the wait when the two colts meet for a second time in Saturday’s $400,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1).

Postponed from early April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Santa Anita Derby offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers.

In part due to the benefit of more recent form, Authentic got the better of Honor A. P. by 2 1/4 lengths in the Mar. 7 San Felipe (G2), winning in wire-to-wire fashion. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Into Mischief also won two earlier starts, a maiden at Del Mar in November and the Jan. 4 Sham (G3) by more than seven lengths.

For Honor A. P., his San Felipe was a solid effort given he had not run since mid-October, when he romped in a one-mile maiden by more than five lengths. The son of Honor Code has for a long time been a highly-regarded Kentucky Derby prospect for trainer John Shirreffs.

Anneau d’Or, one of the top juveniles last year when narrowly missing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), under whelmed in preps at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn earlier this year but perhaps will find sticking closer to home agreeable.

“He really likes the track at Santa Anita,” trainer Blaine Wright said. “He breezed super over it (6 furlongs in 1:13 on March 28) when we had him there earlier and we were really looking forward to the Derby before racing was shut down.”

Azul Coast, a distant second in the Sham but winner last out of the El Camino Real Derby over the Tapeta at Golden Gate, will need to quicken quite a bit to turn the tables on stablemate Authentic.

Making their stakes debuts are Shooters Shoot and Rushie, both last-out allowance winners at Oaklawn Park. The maiden Friar’s Road was a last-out second against non-winners at the Hot Springs track and was second-best to Shooters Shoot in a similar spot two back.