2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic and stablemate Thousand Words will stay at Churchill Downs and target the Preakness Stakes, trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday.
The Preakness runs Oct. 3 at Pimlico, rescheduled this year as the last leg of the Triple Crown. Baffert has won the what is traditionally the Triple Crown’s middle jewel seven times, most recently with Justify in 2018.
Baffert said Authentic and Thousand Words will stay in the Churchill barn of fellow Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas to prep for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
“Authentic, he came back, he looked in really good shape today,” Baffert said of the 146th Kentucky Derby winner. “He looked like he’s still full of energy. …
“Thousand Words, we went over to him and he was fine. So right now, the plan, if everything goes well, they’re going to stay here and then run in the Preakness.”
Authentic improved his record to 6: 5-1-0 with a front-running Derby score at 8-1 odds. Under a masterful ride from jockey John Velazquez, the Into Mischief colt worked his way over from the far outside to set the pace, then fought off 7-10 favorite Tiz the Law in a thrilling stretch duel.
“It was a great race,” Baffert said. “The horse couldn’t have run a better race. To beat a horse like Tiz the Law, it was really phenomenal.”
Authentic, winner of Monmouth Park’s Haskell Stakes on July 18, made the Kentucky Derby his second Grade 1 win. A potential Preakness rematch between Authentic and Tiz the Law, a three-time Grade 1 hero this season, could go a long way in deciding 2020’s 3-year-old male champion.
As for Thousand Words, Baffert said the Pioneerof The Nile colt seems no worse for the wear Sunday following a paddock incident that led to his scratch from the Kentucky Derby field.
Thousand Words, who Baffert said isn’t the easiest colt to saddle, flipped in the paddock before the Derby. He knocked over assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, who required surgery for a broken wrist.
Kathy Anderson, the on-call veterinarian Saturday at Churchill Downs, said after the race that Thousand Words “is absolutely fine.”
“Thousand Words, I’m trying to get him (to Pimlico) and give him another chance,” Baffert said. “It was unfortunate. Right now, all systems are go as far as the Preakness if he looks healthy.
“Knock on wood somewhere that they stay healthy. That’s the main key.”