Authentic looks solid in Santa Anita Derby

The Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Derby takes place at Santa Anita Park this Saturday. The delayed Kentucky Derby prep offers 170 points (100-40-20-10 format) toward the “Run for the Roses,” re-scheduled for Sept. 5. Seven three-year-olds will do battle over 1 1/8-miles in the Santa Anita Derby, the eighth of 11 races on a stakes-laden Saturday card. Estimated post time is 7:09 p.m. ET.

#7 AUTHENTIC (4-5, morning-line favorite) took Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe in gate-to-wire fashion when last seen. Among the opponents he beat in that Mar. 7 affair was #6 HONOR A. P., the Santa Anita Derby’s presumptive second-choice. AUTHENTIC wired the field in the Grade III Sham two-back as well but stalked and score on debut last November. It would not be surprising if Drayden Van Dyke stalks #3 SHOOTERS SHOOT atop AUTHENTIC rather than speed away from the outside post.

As long as AUTHENTIC is kept in the clear, the undefeated son of Into Mischief should post his fourth consecutive victory for trainer Bob Baffert.

#6 HONOR A. P. (9-5) was second to AUTHENTIC in the San Felipe last time out, but that effort was posted off an October layoff. The impressive maiden winner from two starts ago could easily improve with the rust shaken off under Mike Smith. HONOR A. P. has been training smartly for John Shirreffs ahead of the Santa Anita Derby.

#3 SHOOTERS SHOOT (8-1) moves up in the event of a scratch. The son of Competitive Edge owns some viable speed figures and has won two straight. However, he will step up in class and stretchout in distance, so he could go off an underlay. SHOOTERS SHOOT switches back to Abel Cedillo this Saturday.

The play: $10 exacta 7/6, $4 exacta 6/7 ($14)

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