(Authentic romps in the G3 Sham Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE, AUTHENTIC, WINNER: “The main thing was getting out of the gate; once we did it was a nice trip. I took the lead and I wasn’t going to go too fast but I’m happy I got the trip I did.
“I told Bob when he broke his maiden (Nov. 9) he was my favorite two-year-old. He’s very talented. I think the noise from the crowd made him react the way he did there in the stretch. His ears went toward the crowd, so I think that’s what caused it, but then when he got down to the rail, he spooked himself again.”
JOEL ROSARIO, AZUL COAST, SECOND: “He got a lot of dirt in his face early and then he came running. He’ll move forward off of this.”
BOB BAFFERT, AUTHENTIC, WINNER AND AZUL COAST, SECOND: “We thought if he’s a good horse, he should win. That’s what you’re hoping for, the way he was working and all. Drayden (Van Dyke) has always been really high on him. I joked with him when he came back. I said, ‘Do you think he’s a little bit too much horse for you? No, no, no he’s not!’
“You want to see him run like that, especially this time of year. We’ve got some other ones back there, hopefully they’ll come along, but the timing is good for him now to run in the March race, whatever it is (Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 7).
“He saw the crowd (when he lugged in midstretch). We had a decent crowd today. He saw something, but he’s never really acted that way before. He was just out there by himself and didn’t know what was going on . . . he wanted to throw the brakes on.’
“I thought he was the quickest horse in the race. He won going 5 ½ in one oh three and change. He moves like a gazelle. He’s real light, he’s leggy. It was a big move forward. The second race is the toughest one to make.
“When I ran him the first time at Del Mar he was a little bit green that day, because I was debating whether or not to put blinkers on him. I didn’t, but he may need something to keep him more focused . . . Today he wasn’t blowing hard after the race and didn’t take a deep breath so that is a good sign.
“Azul Coast ran a decent race. He’s better than that. He got a little sick on me after Los Alamitos. He lost some time, lost some weight, but he ran second because he’s a class horse. He’ll move up after that.”
Asked about Derby hopefuls: “Whichever one won that day is your Derby hopeful. That’s the way it works in this business. He’s got 10 points (see note below).”
NOTES: The winning owners are SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing or Madaket Stables, LLC, et al. The winning horse gets 10 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby on May 2. Second is worth four points, third two and fourth one point.