Authentic proved his favoritism in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita; King Guillermo pulled a major upset in the Tampa Bay Derby; and Mischevious Alex stretched out a bit to win the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.
San Felipe Stakes
Authentic led at each call and won by 2 1/4 lengths.
After vying for the lead early with Storm the Court and Thousand Words, Authentic got to the front and laid down fractions of 22.84, 46.71 and 1:11.32. He finished the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.56. Honor A. P., who was fourth early, came after Authentic in the turn but was repelled. He stayed on for second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Storm the Court. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back to Thousand Words. Wrecking Crew, Fort McHenry and Swagsational rounded out the order of finish.
Trainer Bob Baffert said Authentic would definitely stay home and be pointed to the Santa Anita Derby. He said he'd make plans for his other horses.
Kentucky Derby points from the San Felipe: 50 to Authentic, 20 to Honor A. P., 10 to Storm the Court and five to Thousand Words.
Authentic was the 6-5 favorite and returned $4.40 to win, $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show.
Drayden Van Dyke was aboard Authentic. It was a record seventh win of the San Felipe for trainer Bob Baffert.
Bob Baffert: “He stumbled a little bit leaving there, and I anticipated that, but he’s so quick on his feet. Once he got him around the turn -- I know they were going quick and I knew Thousand Words was closer, and I probably learned a lot from him; he doesn’t want to be that close. He sort of flattened out at the end. I was disappointed with him. But when I saw the fractions, 22 and change, it was fast, but he was doing it so easy. The really good ones do that and I just love the way he looked down the backside. Turning for home I saw Mike Smith coming with that good horse (Honor A. P.) and I said, ‘We’ll see what he’s made of’ and I was hoping he wouldn’t do his shenanigans (ducking in).
“But he handled it well and he wasn’t tired. He’s a special horse and this was probably one of the toughest prep races that we’ve seen so far. Those were really good horses in there. We hope to stay healthy and run in the Santa Anita Derby. He’ll stay here and run in that, and I’ll figure something out with Thousand Words. Drayden has been doing a magnificent job on him and I’m happy for him. I’m happy for the groom; a lot of sweat and hard work goes into these things and we are fortunate to find a horse like this.”
On wearing earplugs: “I don’t want to give my secret away. That’s what calmed American Pharoah down. He was the same way, some horses are just really delicate to sound so we put em’ in it and it seemed like it worked. I don’t like to compare my horses; one race at a time. We still have a long way to go, but what I saw today, t you want to see him doing it as easy as he did. He looked like he was enjoying himself out there. I have to just keep him at this level until the first Saturday in May.”
Drayden Van Dyke: “Beautiful trip. He took a little tiny stumble out of the gate, but it wasn’t enough to cost us. I was just in cruise control. I was seeing if anybody was going to test me to make me pick it up. I kept him going a few times, just to keep him focused, but he got off amazing and it seems like there’s more in the tank. I think he’s just getting more mature himself; that was his first time going two turns.”
Part-owner Jack Wolf: “On top of the way he ducked in in the last race, Bob seems to have it solved. I was sitting next to Bob during the race, and when I saw the 22 and 44 (sic) I thought they were too quick, and he said he’s doing it easy.”
John Shirreffs, Honor A. P: “He ran really great. I’m very happy with him.”
Mike Smith, aboard Honor A. P.: “I’m very proud of him, and I thought he ran extremely well. We were a bit behind coming in because he bruised his foot earlier, about a month and a half or two months ago. So we missed some time with him, but I thought if I could finish within a couple lengths of whoever won it today, then that would be a really good effort, and if I was to win it, that would be incredible. I was very happy with this effort, and he should move forward off this. He should have a better kick next time, so we’re excited. He’s an intelligent horse. Early on, I think a lot of it was that he’s just a big old colt and likes to play a lot and wants to rear up and do all that, but he’s starting to mature a whole lot and listening to what we’re trying to get him to do. So far, so good. He’s just getting smarter every race.”
Tampa Bay Derby
At odds of 49-1, King Guillermo easily won the Tampa Bay Derby in a huge upset.
After pressing the moderate early pace set by Relentless Dancer of 23.89, 48.16 and 1:12.00, King Guillermo took command and coasted home to win by 4 3/4 lengths in a time of 1:42.63.
Sole Volante, the morning line and post-time favorite at 3-2 odds, closed belatedly from far back to finish second. Texas Swing ran third at 19-1 odds, beaten 6 1/2 lengths, and Relentless Dancer, another longshot at 21-1, was a half-length back in fourth.
The remaining order of finish was second betting choice Chance It, Market Analysis, Spa City, Unrighteous, Letmeno, Bye Bye Melvin, Tons of Gold and Mo Mosa.
King Guillermo wasn't early-nominated to the Triple Crown. Assuming he's late-nominated, he'll receive 50 Kentucky Derby points. Sole Volante got 20 points, Texas Swing 10 and Relentless Dancer five.
Samy Camacho rode the winner for trainer Juan Avila and owner Victoria's Ranch, the nom de plume of Victor Martinez, a retired major league baseball player.
The winner paid $100.40 to win, $38.20 to place and $17.80 to show, sparking a dollar trifecta of $2,239.60 and a dollar superfecta of $26,942.40.
Winning owner Victor Martinez: “We had a lot of confidence in him. His workouts have been great, and he didn’t do well at 5 1/2 furlongs in his first start, so we decided to put him on turf, but we still believed in him and his dirt workouts were really amazing. We had nothing to lose so we decided to give him one more shot on dirt and see what happens. This is absolutely something else. (Nothing in my baseball career) compares to this. I thank God for this opportunity and putting a great horse in my hands. My mom taught me how to dream. She taught me dreams are for free. My dad died when I was six, and I always wanted to have a horse named for my dad.”
Winning jockey Samy Camacho: “I’m so happy, I say thank you to God and all the team – Mr. Juan Carlos Avila, the trainer, the owner, Victor Martinez, and everybody who made this dream possible. I’m so excited and happy. My first Tampa Bay Derby and I want to keep doing my job and realizing my dreams. From the 3/8-mile pole I had a lot of horse, and I was worried a little about Chance It and Sole Volante, but I had a lot of confidence in my horse because he was doing really well in the mornings. I hope he is going to the Kentucky Derby.”
Patrick Biancone, trainer of runner-up Sole Volante: “It was really good, because he’s still a young horse that needs to learn and I was happy because I think he made a very good move to be second. He ran great, and I think he’ll keep improving. I’m delighted, today he had to go through the crowd on the turn and he reacted well about that. He traveled inside and dug in, and we’re very happy.”
After breaking on top and fighting for the front with War Stopper, Celtic Striker and Untitled the first quarter-mile of the race, Mischevious Alex finally had the lead all to himself going into the turn and took the field home from there to prevail by two lengths.
Untitled held off a bid by Attachment Rate to best that one by a head, and it was another 2 3/4 lengths to fourth finisher Montauk Traffic. The winner was timed in 1:38.80 for the one-turn mile.
Rounding out the order of finish were Necker Island, Flap Jack, Informative, First Deputy, Sixto, and the early pacesetters War Stopper and Celtic Striker.
Kentucky Derby points: 50 to Mischeivous Alex, 20 to Untitled, 10 to Attachment Rate and five to Montauk Traffic.
Mischevious Alex, the 8-5 post-time favorite, paid $5.50 to win, $3.40 to place and $2.70 to show.
The winner was ridden for the first time by Kendrick Carmouche. He's trained by John Servis of Smarty Jones fame.
John Servis, winning trainer of Mischevious Alex: "It was a great day for us. He handled the next step up really well and gave us a solid effort today. We'll see how he comes out of this and Chuck [Zacney, Cash is King] and the other partners and I will discuss what's next. Ever since we put the blinkers on him, everything that we've handed him, he has handled very well. We'll discuss (the Wood Memorial), but as long as he comes out of it well, I think it's worth taking a shot."
Kendrick Carmouche, winning jockey: "John pretty much told me this horse can do anything. He sits pretty good or can go to the lead. He told me the horse is a rocket out the gate, so the best thing that I can do is to take advantage. He left out of there running and I didn't want to panic. I wasn't in a rush. I thought I had the best horse in the race, so I wasn't in a hurry. I knew Mark Casse's horse was right there [No. 10, Untitled] shipping in from Tampa. He just ran a tough race out there, so that had to take a little bit of something out of him. I was pretty confident in my horse and John. He just told me to ride the way I feel and win the race."
Jamie Begg, assistant to trainer Mark Casse of runner-up Untitled: "He ran all right. Turning for home, I thought he might make a bid at the winner, but the winner kicked on."
Junior Alvarado, rider aboard runner-up Untitled: "I thought he ran very well. We were a little bit wide, but we drew the 10 post, so we didn't have a lot of choices. He ran a great race. When I asked him, he gave me what he had, and he ran on to the wire. He held on pretty well for running three times in a month. If they want to run in the Wood Memorial, it will give him a chance to get strong again. The way he ran today, he should have no problem with two turns. He's a kind horse. He will do whatever you want."
Luis Saez, jockey aboard third-place Attachment Rate: "I had a good trip. He broke well, but I think more distance will be better for him. He was travelling pretty good, but when we came to the top of the stretch he was a little intimidated because he was inside. But once he got clear he started running again. He's still young and improving. I think he will be all right."
By Dick Downey