By David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
USA: Bob Baffert said on Sunday that Kentucky Derby winner Authentic and Thousand Words are both on course for the 145th Preakness Stakes on October 3 at Pimlico.
Authentic beat Tiz The Law – whose Preakness status remains undecided – to become Baffert’s record-tying sixth Derby winner on September 5, when Thousand Words was scratched after acting up and flipping while being saddled in the paddock.
Both colts are at D Wayne Lukas’s barn at Churchill Downs and are galloping daily. Baffert has not scheduled a date for when the colts will have their next timed works, but said he expected those breezes would happen at the end of this week.
Speaking from the Keeneland September yearling sale, Baffert gave a positive update on Authentic, who has been beaten only once in six career starts.
“He came out very well, very well,” said the trainer. “He’s ready to go. We would have been ready to go in two weeks.”
For decades the Preakness has been run two weeks after the Derby. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Triple Crown schedule was dramatically changed this year and the Preakness is third stop in the series, a month after the Derby.
Baffert’s longtime assistant Jimmy Barnes was reaching under Thousand Words to tighten the saddle when the Pioneerof the Nile colt reared and fell to the ground.
“Thousand Words, he’s fine,” Baffert said. “When he went up he sort of lost his footing and was on his side. He was OK and was checked out. He’s doing well.”
Barnes was injured in the incident, though, and Baffert said nine screws and a plate were required to repair his damaged right wrist. Following the Derby, Baffert landed on the ground as he moved to avoid Authentic’s reaction to the blanket of roses being placed on his back. Baffert, 67, was not injured.
“The human connections, we were the worse for wear,” grinned Baffert, who is the leading trainer in Triple Crown history with 16 victories, among them a record-equalling seven wins in the Preakness.
Preakness betting (William Hill): 5-4 Authentic, 5-2 Tiz The Law, 4 Authentic, 8 Thousand Words, 10 Happy Saver, 14c King Guillermo, Mystic Guide, 16 NY Traffic, Pneumatic, 20 bar.