Belmont S. Presented by NYRA BetsBelmont Park
In a year like no other, it perhaps should not have been surprising that the 146thKentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was marked by stunning twists and turns as Authentic upset Tiz the Law on Saturday to give Hall of Fame trainer
In a year like no other, it perhaps should not have been surprising that the 146thKentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was marked by stunning twists and turns as Authentic upset Tiz the Law on Saturday to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying sixth triumph.
Baffert equaled a mark set by Ben Jones that was once thought to be unattainable. “Here we are, the greatest race in the world. I feel very fortunate,” he said in an NBC interview following his third Derby win in six years.
Not that it came easily. Not that anything has ever come easily for the former Quarter Horse trainer who won his first Derby with Silver Charm in 1997 and immediately followed that with Real Quiet. Then there was War Emblem in 2002 before a gap he emphatically ended with Triple Crown champions American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018.
Baffert endured a wrenching roller-coaster ride this season before earning his share of history. Nadal and Charlatan, two of his greatest hopes in the spring, were lost to injury. Nadal’s injury was career-ending.
Then, in the Churchill Downs paddock, Baffert endured yet another setback. Thousand Words, a $1 million yearling purchase for Spendthrift Farm and Albaugh Family Stables, reared up when something startled him and fell. That led to his being scratched and left Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s invaluable assistant, with a broken arm.
Still, Baffert and co-owner Spendthrift Farm had Authentic. The colt was expected to rocket to the lead from the far outside post in a field reduced to 15. The bay son of Into Mischief instead started poorly, forcing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez to use him early to make the lead.
While Authentic set a solid pace, covering the opening half-mile in 46.41 seconds en route to a final time of 2:00.61, Manny Franco had Tiz the Law in perfect striking position in fourth. He gave the push-button colt his cue as they pounded into the final turn.
The Constitution colt responded as he had in sweeping all four of his previous starts, the most recent of those the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, the opening leg of this year’s re-worked Triple Crown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Runhappy Travers Stakes.
Tiz the Law hooked Authentic as they spun out of the final turn. The race was on. Tiz the Law fought to surge past Authentic. He could not. Franco asked Tiz the Law for everything he had. There was no getting past Authentic in what served as the middle leg of the Triple Crown at fan-free Churchill Downs.
Longshot and late Derby addition Mr. Big News closed to get third, and Honor A. P., who endured a rough start that put him near the back of the field early on, made up ground late to finish fourth.
“Thank you, Lord. Thank God,” said a miked-up Velazquez after his third Derby score coincided with the 200th Grade 1 triumph of his Hall of Fame career.
When Baffert hurried to join Authentic and Velazquez in the winner’s circle, he exclaimed to Velazquez, “Did I have him ready or what?”
As the sun set over the famed twin spires at iconic Churchill Downs, it was clear that no one was ever better at preparing a horse to win the nation’s premier race on the first Saturday in May. Or, for that matter, the first Saturday in September.
Fastest Time (since 1976): 1:59:97
Greatest Winning Margin (since 1976): 6 3/4 lengths
|05/05/2023||Mage||Gustavo Delgado||Javier Castellano||OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing and CMNWLTH|
|05/06/2022||Rich Strike||Eric R. Reed||Sonny Leon||RED TR-Racing, LLC|
|04/30/2021||Medina Spirit||Bob Baffert||John R. Velazquez||Zedan Racing Stables, Inc.|
|09/04/2020||Authentic||Bob Baffert||John R. Velazquez||Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse, Madaket Stable, Starlight Racing|
|05/03/2019||Country House||William I. Mott||Flavien Prat||Shields Jr., Mrs. J.V., McFadden Jr., E.J.M. and LNJ Foxwoods|
|05/04/2018||Justify||Bob Baffert||Mike E. Smith||WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, et al|
|05/05/2017||Always Dreaming||Todd A. Pletcher||John R. Velazquez||MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola, St Elias, Siena Farm and West Point|
|05/06/2016||Nyquist||Doug F. O'Neill||Mario Gutierrez||Reddam Racing LLC|
|05/01/2015||American Pharoah||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza||Zayat Stables, LLC|
|05/02/2014||California Chrome||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza||Coburn, Steven and Martin, Perry|
|05/03/2013||Orb||Claude R. McGaughey III||Joel Rosario||Janney, III, Stuart S. and Phipps Stable|
|05/04/2012||I'll Have Another||Doug F. O'Neill||Mario Gutierrez||Reddam Racing LLC|
|05/06/2011||Animal Kingdom||H. Graham Motion||John R. Velazquez||Team Valor International|
|04/30/2010||Super Saver||Todd A. Pletcher||Calvin H. Borel||WinStar Farm LLC|
|05/01/2009||Mine That Bird||Bennie L. Woolley, Jr.||Calvin H. Borel||Double Eagle Ranch Inc. and Buena Suerte Equine|
|05/02/2008||Big Brown||Richard E. Dutrow||Kent J. Desormeaux||IEAH Stables and Pompa, Jr., Paul|
|05/04/2007||Street Sense||Carl A. Nafzger||Calvin H. Borel||Jim Tafel LLC|
|05/05/2006||Barbaro||Michael R. Matz||Edgar S. Prado||Lael Stables|
|05/06/2005||Giacomo||John A. Shirreffs||Mike E. Smith||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|04/30/2004||Smarty Jones||John C. Servis||Stewart Elliott||Someday Farm|
|05/02/2003||Funny Cide||Barclay Tagg||Jose A. Santos||Sackatoga Stable|
|05/03/2002||War Emblem||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza||The Thoroughbred Corporation|
|05/04/2001||Monarchos||John T. Ward, Jr.||Jorge F. Chavez||John C. Oxley|
|05/05/2000||Fusaichi Pegasus||Neil D. Drysdale||Kent J. Desormeaux||Fusao Sekiguchi|
|04/30/1999||Charismatic||D. Wayne Lukas||Chris W. Antley||Lewis, Robert B. and Beverly J.|
|05/01/1998||Real Quiet||Bob Baffert||Kent J. Desormeaux||Mike Pegram|
|05/02/1997||Silver Charm||Bob Baffert||Gary L. Stevens||Lewis, Robert B. and Beverly J.|
|05/03/1996||Grindstone||D. Wayne Lukas||Jerry D. Bailey||Overbrook Farm|
|05/05/1995||Thunder Gulch||D. Wayne Lukas||Gary L. Stevens||Michael B. Tabor|
|05/06/1994||Go for Gin||Nicholas P. Zito||Chris J. McCarron||William J. Condren|
|04/30/1993||Sea Hero||MacKenzie L. Miller||Jerry D. Bailey||Rokeby Stables|
|05/01/1992||Lil E. Tee||Lynn S. Whiting||Pat Day||W. Cal Partee|
|05/03/1991||Strike the Gold||Nicholas P. Zito||Chris W. Antley||Brophy, B. G., Condren, W. J. and Cornacchia, J. M.|
|05/04/1990||Unbridled||Carl A. Nafzger||Craig Perret||Frances A. Genter Stable, Inc.|
|05/05/1989||Sunday Silence||Charles E. Whittingham||Patrick A. Valenzuela||Gaillard, Hancock III and Whittingham|
|05/06/1988||Winning Colors||D. Wayne Lukas||Gary L. Stevens||E. V. Klein|
|05/01/1987||Alysheba||Jack C. Van Berg||Chris J. McCarron||Scharbauer, Dorothy and Pamela|
|05/02/1986||Ferdinand||Charles E. Whittingham||William Shoemaker||Mrs. H. B. Keck|
|05/03/1985||Spend a Buck||Cam M. Gambolati||Angel Cordero, Jr.||Hunter Farm|
|05/04/1984||Swale||Woodford C. Stephens||Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.||Claiborne Farm|
|05/06/1983||Sunny's Halo||David C. Cross, Jr.||Eddie J. Delahoussaye||Foster D. J. Racing Stable|
|04/30/1982||Gato Del Sol||Edwin Gregson||Eddie J. Delahoussaye||Hancock III and Peters|
|05/01/1981||Pleasant Colony||John P. Campo||Jorge Velasquez||Buckland Farm|
|05/02/1980||Genuine Risk||LeRoy S. Jolley||Jacinto Vasquez||Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone|
|05/04/1979||Spectacular Bid||Grover G. Delp||Ronald Joseph Franklin||Hawksworth Farm|
|05/05/1978||Affirmed||Lazaro S. Barrera||Stephen Cauthen||Harbor View Farm|
|05/06/1977||Seattle Slew||William H. Turner, Jr.||Jean Cruguet||Karen L. Taylor|
|04/30/1976||Bold Forbes||Lazaro S. Barrera||Angel Cordero, Jr.||Esteban R. Tizol|