“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.
Baffert tied Ben Jones (1938-52) for the most wins by a trainer. Baffert’s other wins came in 1997, 1998, 2002, 2015 with eventual Triple Crown winner Justify and 2018.
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.