By Ed McNamara
A need-the-lead type, Authentic is one very fast but immature colt.
He had gate problems in two of his five races, and almost blew the Haskell (G1) after loafing when clear by daylight at the eighth pole. But then again, he’s trained by five-time Derby winner and nine-time Haskell winner Bob Baffert.
Authentic gives the impression that the 1 1/4 miles of the Derby might be too far. He should be in front for as long as he lasts, but with plenty of other speed in the field, he’s likely to be weakening in mid-stretch.
If he’s 5-1 or thereabouts, he’s worth a bet, but I wouldn’t take a shorter price on a probable pace casualty.
Profiles will be updated with morning-line odds and post position after the field is drawn on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Post position: TBD
Jockey: John Velazquez
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owners: SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Frederick Hertrich III
Career record: 5-4-1-0
Career earnings: $1,011,200
Top Equibase speed figure: 113
Kentucky Derby points: 200 (2nd)
Pedigree: Into Mischief-Flawless, by Mr. Greeley
Running style: Front-runner
Notes: Baffert comes into this Derby with two chances (Thousand Words is the other) to win a record-equaling sixth Run for the Roses, which would match Ben “Plain Ben” Jones. Baffert’s winners are Silver Charm (1997, Real Quiet 1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018) … Coming into this Derby, he’s sent out 32 starters, third most of any trainer (Todd Pletcher is first at 54, D. Wayne Lukas second at 39) … Velazquez picks up the mount after Mike Smith – he’s riding Honor A.P. — was aboard for the narrow Haskell win … Johnny V will be riding in his 22nd Derby, and has won it twice, with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Always Dreaming in 2017 … This will be his 14th consecutive Derby – he rode runner-up Code of Honor in 2019 (elevated from third to second after Maximum Security was DQ’d from first to 17th)
|Tiz the Law
|Brian Hernandez, Jr.
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|Juan Carlos Avilla
|Ricardo Santana, Jr.
|Storm the Court
|Finnick the Fierce
|Joe Rocco, Jr.
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.