Authentic gets to the finish line first in the 146th Kentucky Derby Sat Sep 5, 2020 as jockey John Velazquez rides to victory (AP News photo)
By Jessica Kwong
Against the odds, Authentic raced ahead of favorite Tiz the Law to win the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday evening, giving its trainer Bob Baffert a record-tying sixth Run for the Roses victory.
Authentic, at 8-1 odds, showed he was the real deal, maintaining the lead from start to finish. Belmont Stakes champion Tiz the Law, at 3-5 odds, attempted to overtake Authentic in the final turn but was unable to and finished second. Authentic’s upset win brought an end to Tiz the Law’s bid for the Triple Crown.
“Yes! Yes!” Baffert exclaimed from the paddock where he viewed the race on video.
Authentic, ridden by John Velazquez, completed 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.61. Mr. Big News, at 46-1 odds, finished third and Honor A. P. came in fourth.
Velazquez, who captured his third Kentucky Derby victory, said, “Obviously, Bob, from the beginning, said ‘I’ve got a good one for you.’ This is it.”
Baffert, in turn, complimented Velazquez for “the most incredible ride.”
“The training was lights out. He was fresh. He’s a good horse, he’s our No. 1 pick from the beginning, and here we are,” Baffert said. “The greatest race in the world, and I feel very blessed and fortunate.”
Baffert is now tied with Ben Jones for the most all-time Kentucky Derby wins among trainers. In addition to Authentic, Baffert trained the last two thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown, American Pharoah and Justify.
Authentic’s win was particularly meaningful for Baffert given his other horse, Thousand Words, reared in the paddock and got scratched minutes before post time. A few other thoroughbreds were scratched prior, making it a field of 15, the smallest since 1998.
The Kentucky Derby is traditionally held on the first Saturday in May, but was postponed to the first Saturday in September due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year saw a “backwards Triple Crown” with the Belmont Stakes in June, followed by the Kentucky Derby and finally the Preakness Stakes scheduled for October 3.
Tiz the Law was the first New York-bred horse to win the Belmont Stakes since 1882.
Churchill Downs was without the more than 150,000 spectators who usually attend with elaborate hats and outfits. This year’s Derby was also unusual with several protest groups converging outside the Louisville venue, including Until Freedom calling for justice for Breonna Taylor, the “Black militia” NFAC and Back the Blue counter-protesters.
2020 Kentucky Derby results:
1. Authentic – 8/1 – WIN: $18.80 – PLACE: $6.00 – SHOW: $5.00
2. Tiz The Law – 3/5 – PLACE: $3.40 – SHOW: $3.20
3. Mr. Big News – 46-1 – SHOW: $16.80