What we learned this week on the Kentucky Derby 2020 trail

What we learned this week on the Kentucky Derby 2020 trail
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

There was disappointment for the Bob Baffert barn on Breeders’ Cup Friday when Eight Rings appeared well positioned in the Juvenile, only to fade to finish sixth.

But since then, developments have trended in a positive direction heading into next year, leading this week’s look at what we’ve learned on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail.

Baffert brigade’s forming

It's looking like a case of reload rather than rebuild after Baffert saddled three starters in the 2019 Derby, including betting favorite Improbable.

Eight Rings, who two starts back showed obvious talent when winning Santa Anita Park’s American Pharoah Stakes (G1), returned to the work tab Tuesday, signaling he may not be done yet for the year. Derby qualifying points are available in the Dec. 7 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

Last Saturday, Baffert sent out Gary and Mary West’s 2-year-old High Velocity for a well-deserved victory in Del Mar’s Bob Hope Stakes (G3). Headed by favored Strongconstitution at the top of the stretch, High Velocity kicked on to win the seven-furlong feature and as a son of Quality Road should stretch out fine.

Then there are two recent maiden special weight winners of note…

Thousand Words scratched as the Bob Hope favorite and figures to wait for the Los Alamitos Futurity after the Pioneerof the Nile colt — a $1 million runner campaigned by Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm — defeated Thunder Code on Oct. 26 at Santa Anita. It was another 6 3/4 lengths back to third.

Then on Nov. 9 at Del Mar, Authentic, campaigned by the same partnership behind Eight Rings that includes SF Racing, Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables, won going 5 1/2 furlongs on debut. With the runner-up 1 1/2 lengths back, this was another case of third place needing to come from off the screen at the wire.

Baffert, who has won five Derbys, one short of the all-time record, will also have as an option the Sham Stakes (G3) typically carded in early January at Santa Anita. The California Horse Racing Board is set to approve Santa Anita’s upcoming race dates at its meeting this week.

Three for the Derby Radar

Mr. Monomoy: The younger half-brother of champion Monomoy Girl took them all the way on Saturday at Churchill Downs, winning by 5 1/2 lengths after finishing a closing fourth on debut at Keeneland. Trainer Brad Cox says “we’ll have a lot of fun with” in the future. Read more.

: Keith Desormeaux sees the right traits in this Sunday debut winner at Churchill Downs, who took plenty of pressure while running along the rail and yet still pulled ahead clear late. “He’s been touting himself,” the trainer said. Read more.

Three Technique
: Revealed as a nice looking horse at Saratoga, he returned from a break to win with authority Wednesday at Aqueduct, galloping to an allowance victory that will set a colt owned by NFL Hall of Famer Bill Parcells for the Derby trail. Read more.

Top Derby headlines

 Independence Hall to bypass the Remsen

 Maxfield undergoes surgery; back in 2020

 Storm the Court 'just chilling' ahead of Derby trail

A look at the odds

Via VSiN's Ron Flatter, based in Las Vegas and updating Monday afternoon:

Future preps shaping up

Three points-paying races remain before the new year, and the prospective fields are beginning to take shape.

First, Tiz the Law will headline the Nov. 30 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs with 3-for-3 Street Sense Stakes winner South Bend in to take him on. Some of his other top anticipated competition, however, dropped out recently. More on that in a moment.

In addition to any Baffert runners, Anneau d’Or, the longshot Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up, will headline the Los Alamitos Futurity, downgraded this year to a Grade 2 event on Dec. 7. A son of Medaglia d’Oro, Anneau d’Or would be making his third start having debuted a turf winner.

And, finally, there’s Remington Park’s Dec. 15 Springboard Mile to look forward to. Top Florida-bred Chance It should surface here — he was originally pointed for the Kentucky Jockey Club — needing time after spiking a fever. Steve Asmussen should also have a strong contingent including stakes winners Rowdy Yates and Jungle Runner.

Current Derby points leaderboard

Top Stories

Life Is Good went into the San Felipe Stakes (G2)...
Arcadia, Calif. It was Life Is Good’s chance to gr...
Arcadia, Calif. A little more distance seemed to b...
Helium had not started for 4½ months leading into...
Ontario-bred Weyburn went from maiden winner to a...