“Authentic” led all the way to win a Kentucky Derby unlike any other, kicking away from heavy favorite Tiz the Law in the stretch and giving Bob Baffert a record-tying sixth victory on Saturday after the trainer’s other entry was a late scratch.
Authentic won without the usual crowd of 150,000 on hand at Churchill Downs because of the coronavirus pandemic. The bay colt ran under John Velazquez, who won his third Derby.
“I’ve had some great Derby rides, but what that guy did,” Baffert said, gesturing toward Velazquez, who stood socially distanced in the infield winner’s circle. “Johnny V. gave him an incredible ride.”
Sent off at 3-5 as the biggest Derby favorite in 31 years, Tiz the Law stalked Authentic on the outside before challenging at the top of the stretch. But Authentic found another gear and pulled away from the Belmont winner.
“Yes! Yes!” Baffert shouted in the paddock, where he watched on the video screen.
Baffert’s other horse, Thousand Words, acted up in the paddock, reared up and fell on his side shortly before post time. He was scratched by the veterinarians. Baffert said his assistant, Jim Barnes, broke his arm trying to get the saddle on the unruly colt.
Authentic was examined back at his barn and wasn’t injured, according to the on-call veterinarian.
Baffert later took a spill, too. Authentic was startled as the blanket of red roses was placed on his back in the winner’s circle and he knocked the white-haired trainer to the ground. Baffert had to be helped up.
Authentic paid $18.80, $6 and $5 at 8-1 odds. Tiz the Law returned $3.40 and $3.20. Mr. Big News was another two lengths back in third and paid $16.80 to show at 46-1.