While officials with Santa Anita Park are working with the Los Angeles County board of supervisors and the health department in hopes of reopening the Arcadia track for live racing, trainer Bob Baffert said all he can do is take a wait and see approach with his roster of candidates for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, led by Authentic, the unbeaten Into Mischief colt who is coming off a victory in the G2 San Felipe Stakes on March 7.
Authentic worked six furlongs at Santa Anita on Sunday morning under Drayden Van Dyke in 1:12.40 in preparation for what Baffert hopes will be a start in the G1 Santa Anita Derby, scheduled for this Saturday, April 4. (VIDEO)
“He was due for a work,” said Baffert. “I’m just hoping and waiting to see if something can be done (to resume racing).”
Live racing at Santa Anita, which has been conducted without on-site spectators and strictly limited to essential licensees since March 13, was suspended by Los Angeles County officials March 27, minutes before the day’s first race.
“I am prepared to run if we run next week, and I’m prepared to run the following week or whenever,” said Baffert. “These horses still have to go out and train.”
Charlatan, 2-for-2 and also under consideration for the Santa Anita Derby, worked on Saturday, going a half-mile in :48.00 (VIDEO)
Baffert also has horses pointing for the G1 Arkansas Derby, rescheduled for the track’s closing day on May 2, but that seems like a long-range target. “We are doing things week-by-week, day-by-day,” the Hall of Fame conditioner said.
Authentic would not go to Arkansas if the Santa Anita Derby is postponed, Baffert said, because he already has earned sufficient points to get into the field for the Kentucky Derby, rescheduled for Sept. 5. Charlatan, a Speightstown colt who has yet to face stakes company, might make the trip.
Authentic worked on the final day that jockeys were allowed in the stable area. Santa Anita sent the following text alert to horsemen after racing was suspended: “In an effort to minimize personal interaction and get us back to racing, beginning Monday 3/30, jockeys will be asked to stay out of the backside. Jockey agents will be required to stay off the property and conduct all business by phone.”
Baffert indicated he was pleased with Authentic’s breeze.
“He broke off behind some horses and I had him stay behind them,” Baffert said. “He took a lot of dirt. Then he swung out away from them and took off. He looked good. This horse doesn’t get tired. For an Into Mischief, he’s narrow and long-legged and covers a lot of ground. The distance will not be a problem at all for him.”
Authentic broke his maiden sprinting, coming from just off the pace, then won both the G3 Sham Stakes and San Felipe going wire to wire around two turns.
Bred by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, Authentic races for SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Frederick Hertrich III, John D. Fielding and Golconda Stables.
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