(Trainer Bob Baffert / Photo by Gene McLean)
(Authentic / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
(Uncle Chuck / Photo Courtesy of Los Alamitos)
(Gamine / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
It has been a crazy year.
No doubt about that.
So much adversity. So much chaos. So many ups. So many downs.
And, that’s just in this year’s crazy run to the Triple Crown — which started with the G1 Belmont Stakes, for God’s sake. Whoever thought we would write that sentence, right?
Throw in Covid-19.
Throw out the riots.
Throw in the debates over the Presidential race forthcoming.
Throw out the debates over whether people should or should not wear masks.
Throw in that “hot spot.”
Throw out that “spike.”
Throw in a fit, or two.
Throw out the garbage, and the nightly news.
Throw up, a time or two, too.
But, through it all, there is one steady and consistent thing that we can always take comfort in and know to be true — come the hell we have seen already this year and the promise of high water, which I am sure is to come.
And, that is Bob Baffert.
Despite the fact that his talented, gifted, undefeated, and amazing Nadal has gone to the sidelines and the breeding shed with an injury…
Despite the fact that his talented, gifted, undefeated, and amazing Charlatan has gone to the sidelines with an ankle hurt…
Despite the fact that his best 3YO and the best 3YO in the world these days may be his filly in Gamine…
Despite all that, the game’s best trainer — as in ever (IMO) — still has the best chance to win the best race in the world and the 2020 Kentucky Derby.
In addition to the very game Gamine, who just so happened to win the G1 Acorn Stakes by nearly 19 lengths and nearly set a track record in the meantime, Team Baffert appears to be locked. Again.
Team Baffert appears to be loaded. Again.
And, Team Baffert appears to be taking aim.
He still has Authentic, a very talented son of Into Mischief. All this guy has done is win every race up until the last one — when he ran a very wide, and deceivingly-good 2nd to the highly touted Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby. Coming off a rather lengthly racing delay, Authentic is sure to be better in the upcoming G1 Haskell Invitational on July 18.
Of course, he has Gamine. If simply given the opportunity, she may be the best thing in a Kentucky Derby since the likes of both or either Winning Colors and Genuine Risk. Yes, Virginia. She is that good.
And, just this past weekend, Uncle Chuck — the newest superstar to emerge from the barn and on the scene — ran off to an easy 4-length win over stablemate Thousand Words in the G3 Los Alamitos Derby. Now, he will join the crew at Del Mar and probably get one more prep for this year’s “Run for the Roses.”
Lots of races and lots of questions still to be run and answered before the “First Saturday in September” this year.
But if pushed?
I will go with the one thing I know for sure.
Bob Baffert will have a legit runner, and another chance to win the greatest race — yet again.
Here’s a look at our “Top 20:”
|Horse||Sire||Trainer||Jockey||Last Race||Next Race||Comments|
|1||Gamine||Into Mischief||Bob Baffert||John Velazquez||1st in the G1 Acorn Stakes||TBD||Will She Go in KY Derby? Probably Not, But Still Could Be Best 3YO|
|2||Honor A.P.||Honor Code||John Sherriffs||Mike Smith||1st in G1 Santa Anita Derby||Shared Belief Stakes — Del Mar on Aug. 1||Can He Continue to Improve? Needs To!|
|3||Authentic||Into Mischief||Bob Baffert||Drayden Van Dyke||2nd in the G1 Santa Anita Derby||G1 Haskell Invitational — MON on July 18||Look for Huge Effort Next Outing|
|4||Tiz the Law||Constitution||Barclay Tagg||Manny Franco||1st in G1 Belmont Stakes||G1 Travers Stakes — SAR on Aug. 8||Belmont Was Walk in the Park / Will He Be Battle-Tested?|
|5||Basin||Liam’s Map||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr||2nd in G1 Arkansas Derby (1)||G2 Blue Grass Stakes — KEE on June 11||Primed & Ready to Go / Is He Good Enough?|
|6||King Guillermo||Uncle Mo||Juan Avila||Sammy Camacho||2nd in G1 Arkansas Derby (2)||G1 KY Derby — CD on Setp. 5||Will Train Up to the KY Derby / Wise Strategy? / This Year, Why Not?|
|7||Max Player||Honor Code||Linda Rice||Joel Rosario||3rd in G1 Belmont Stakes||TBD||Will Be Interesting To See Where This One Goes Next / Rising Star?|
|8||Ny Traffic||Cross Traffic||S. Joseph, Jr.||Paco Lopez||2nd in G3 Matt Winn Stakes||G1 Haskell Stakes — MON on July 18||Ability There / Interesting To See How Far He Will Go|
|9||Enforceable||Tapit||Mark Casse||Julien Leparoux||5th in G2 Louisiana Derby||G2 Blue Grass Stakes — KEE on June 11||This Is My Pick for the Toyota Blue Grass / Watch Out|
|10||Dr Post||Quality Road||Todd Pletcher||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||2nd in G1 Belmont Stakes||G1 Haskell Invitational — MON on July 18||Developing Quickly for Top Trainer / Must Repect Going Forward|
|11||Art Collector||Bernardini||Tom Drury||Brian Hernandez, Jr.||1st in ALW at Churchill Downs||G2 Blue Grass Stakes — KEE on June 11||Big Step Up This Saturday / Love The Connections Here / Rooting|
|12||Uncle Chuck||Uncle Mo||Bob Baffert||Luis Saez||1st in G3 Los Alamitos Derby||TBD||Whipped Stablemate Thousand Words by 4 Easy Lengths / Next?|
|13||Mr. Big News||Giant’s Causeway||W. Bret Calhoun||Gabriel Saez||1st in Oaklawn Stakes||G2 Blue Grass Stakes — KEE on June 11||Can He Duplicate Last Effort? Can He Improve on Last Effort?|
|14||Ete Indien||Summer Front||Patrick Biancone||Florent Geroux||4th in GP Allowance||G1 Haskell Invitational — MON on July 18||I Have Serious Questions Here / Must Answer the Bell Next Time Out|
|15||Sole Volante||Karakontie||Patrick Biancone||Florent Geroux||6th in G1 Belmont Stakes||G1 Haskell Invitational — MON on July 18||Questions Abound Here, Too? / Going Great Into Belmont / What?|
|16||Field Pass||Lemon Drop Kid||Mike Maker||Tyler Gaffalione||1st in Audubon Stakes||TBD||Has Won Stakes on Poly & Grass / Dirt?|
|17||Storm The Court||Court Vision||Peter Eurton||Flavien Prat||3rd in the G3 Ohio Derby||TBD||Appears That He Will Never Recapture 2YO Glory|
|18||Café Pharoah||Amiercan Pharoah||N. Hori||D. Lane||1st in G3 Unicorn Stakes||TBD||Japan May Have Real Contender? TBD!|
|19||Major Fed||Ghostzapper||Greg Foley||James Graham||10th in the G3 Matt Winn Stakes||G3 Indiana Derby — Indy Grand on July 8||Has Had Terrible Trips of Late / Needs a Clean Run/ Needs Good One|
|20||Dean Martini||Cairo Prince||Tom Amoss||Ricardo Mejias||1st in the G3 Ohio Derby||TBD||Former Claimer Showed Guts in Ohio / Now Must Prove “Class”|