March 27, 2023

San Felipe features Baffert duo Authentic, Thousand Words

Authentic crushed the competition trying two turns and a Kentucky Derby qualifier in the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita (c) Benoit Photo

Authentic and Thousand Words will put their unbeaten records on line when they square off in Saturday’s $400,000 San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita. The Bob Baffert-trained duo highlight a field of seven in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier.

Contested over 1 1/16 miles, the San Felipe awards points on a 50-20-10-5 scale toward a berth in the 146th Kentucky Derby on May 2. Authentic and Thousand Words have both earned points winning Kentucky Derby qualifiers this season, but did so in vastly different fashion.

A convincing debut maiden winner at Del Mar in mid-November, Authentic romped wire-to-wire by 7 3/4 lengths when stepping up in the Jan. 4 Sham (G3) for his five-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. The $350,000 son of Into Mischief looms as a serious front-running threat Saturday with regular rider Drayden Van Dyke.

Thousand Words has grinded out narrow wins in all three starts, getting up late to prevail by three-quarters of a length when opening 2020 in the Feb. 1 Robert B. Lewis (G3), and the two-time stakes winner has been able to race up close in every race. A $1 million son of Pioneerof the Nile, sire of 2015 American Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Thousand Words may race farther back given the presence of his stablemate and wire-to-wire Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Storm the Court, and look to finish strongly beneath Flavien Prat.

Storm the Court used the 7-furlong San Vicente (G2) as a tune-up, finishing 2 1/4 lengths back of well-regarded Nadal in fourth, and the Juvenile upsetter is eligible to improve off the tightener while stretching back to two turns for Peter Eurton. Joel Rosario picks up the mount on the Kentucky-bred son of Court Vision.

Honor A. P., a sharp 5 1/4-length maiden victor at Santa Anita when last seen in mid-October, will make his anticipated stakes debut for John Shirreffs, trainer of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo. Mike Smith will be back up on the son of Honor Code.

Rounding out the field are Breeders’ Cup Juvenile third-placer Wrecking Crew, who will need to rebound after giving way badly in his most recent outing; Turf Paradise Derby winner Swagsational; and Gulfstream Park West maiden winner Fort McHenry, who has been transferred to two-time Kentucky Derby-winning conditioner Doug O’Neill.