Santa Anita Derby Showdown

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Authentic | Benoit

West Coast heavyweights Authentic (Into Mischief) and Honor A.P. (Honor Code) meet for round two in a highly anticipated renewal of Saturday's GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.

Authentic made it a perfect three-for-three for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, posting a powerful 2 1/4-length wire-to-wire decision over Honor A.P. in the GII San Felipe S. Mar. 7. He previously aired by 7 3/4 lengths over stablemate Azul Coast (Super Saver), a next out winner of the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Feb. 15, in the GIII Sham S. Jan. 4. Authentic is drawn widest of all in post six with regular rider Drayden Van Dyke in the irons.

Baffert has won the Santa Anita Derby a record nine times and finished one-two in last year's renewal with Roadster (Quality Road) and Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}).

It was announced Wednesday evening that B. Wayne Hughes's Spendthrift Farm has acquired a majority ownership interest in the $350,000 KEESEP yearling, joining forces with Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables.

Honor A.P., a runaway maiden winner in his 2-year-old finale Oct. 13, was making just his first start of the season in the San Felipe after suffering a well-documented foot bruise earlier this year. He fired a five-furlong bullet in :59 1/5 (1/28) for trainer John Shirreffs in Arcadia May 22.

“John [Shirreffs] is developing him like we've got a really good horse,” owner Lee Searing told TDN. “He could go a distance of ground and his last race, trying to chase Authentic, wasn't the easiest thing to do. He made the perfect move–the one we all wanted to see–but he didn't catch him. He didn't lean on him and we're just really happy with the way he ran. We haven't set him down yet.”

The speedy Shooters Shoot (Competitive Edge) figures to be on the engine from his inside draw. He enters riding a two-race winning streak for this stakes debut after posting a game optional claiming victory at Oaklawn Apr. 11.

Narrow GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Anneau d'Or (Medaglia d'Oro) looks to get back on track following disappointing efforts in the GII Risen Star S. at Fair Grounds Feb. 15 and GI Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn May 2.

The Santa Anita Derby offers 170 GI Kentucky Derby qualifying points (100-40-20-10).

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