Bob Baffert was sitting pretty Sunday morning after Authentic emerged in good order from his authoritative 7 ¾-length victory in Saturday's Grade III Sham Stakes, the West Coast's first major steppingstone to the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4 and beyond that the Kentucky Derby on May 2.
“He looked good this morning,” said the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer (American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify 2018). “He'd never done that, and I think it was the noise,” Baffert continued, addressing the colt's ducking to his left in midstretch and again a sixteenth out in the one-mile Sham.
“He heard the noise, he went to the rail, and when he saw the rail, he got scared from that, so I think we'll either use ear plugs or blinkers next time, but his competition might be a little closer to him in his next race, and that might help, too.”
While the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7 was initially mentioned as Authentic's next race, little if anything is written in stone when it comes to racing, particularly on Baffert's often 11th hour agenda.
“I'm not sure right now,” he said.
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