Trainer Bob Baffert has for the Santa Anita Derby (G1) the likely race favorite Authentic, an unbeaten colt who come Saturday figures to be winging it on the lead of the 1 1/8-mile race.
But Baffert said this week he’s also hoping his second entry can “get a piece of the action,” setting himself up for more graded stakes tries this summer.
The Hall of Famer plans to enter two in the Santa Anita, with Azul Coast joining Authentic. A Super Saver colt campaigned by Baffert’s longtime clients Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman, Azul Coast was last seen winning the Feb. 15 El Camino Real Derby over the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields.
“He’s a late-running horse,” Baffert said of Azul Coast, a $320,000 auction purchase. “It’s going to be a short field. We’ll run him here, and you never know.”
Azul Coast is 2-for-3, also winning his Dec. 8 debut at Los Alamitos. Then he ran into Authentic in the Jan. 4 Sham Stakes (G3), with a 7 3/4-length defeat not likely to have shaken the colt’s psyche. Baffert has quipped that Azul Coast was so far behind his stablemate that day, he may have thought himself the best of the bunch.
In the Santa Anita Derby, qualifying points for the 2020 Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5 will pay out on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top-four finishers. With a forward-looking performance, Baffert said he’ll next consider Azul Coast for the July 4 Los Alamitos Derby (G3), a 20-8-4-2 points race.
Azul Coast sits 30th on the leaderboard with 14 points with about three months until the first Saturday in September.
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