Bob Baffert has his sights set on a second Classic win for Kentucky Derby hero Authentic.
The Into Mischief colt will not have the chance to follow in the hoofprints of Baffert’s Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) – because the Belmont Stakes, which is usually the final leg of the hat-trick, has already been run this year.
Calendar changes enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic meant the Belmont was run in June – with victor Tiz The Law aiming to add to his impressive victory in last Saturday’s Kentucky feature, which was delayed from May.
However, Authentic proved a length and a quarter too good at Churchill Downs, and Baffert is eager to tackle runner-up Tiz The Law again in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on October 3.
The handler could also have a second string to his bow in Maryland – with Thousand Words, who was a late withdrawal at Kentucky after rearing over in the paddock, also on the trail.
Baffert told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast: “Right now, the plan is I’m going to leave him here. I was going to take him back to California tomorrow and then bring him back to the Preakness, but I think that would be too much for him because he’s a light horse and I want to give him his best chance.
“What I’m going to do is leave him in Kentucky and we’ll just run him from here, take him to the Preakness and take another shot at Tiz The Law – and if he’s doing well we’ll take him and Thousand Words, give him another try. We’ll get a saddle on Thousand Words – it was just really bad luck there.”
Authentic is a best-priced 11-2 with Paddy Power for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on November 7, but Baffert is not committing to that race at present.
He added: “I’m not sure what after that (the Preakness). I’m like the weather in Kentucky, I can switch and change – I see things and I go with my gut on things like that.
“I might change my mind and run back in California, I don’t know.”