And Win Going Away
By Dick Downey
The Downey Profile
Honor A. P. vaulted to the top of his class in California, and perhaps the nation, as he won the Santa Anita Derby going away.
When the gate opened, Authentic broke outward and soon joined the leaders. After sitting behind front-runners Shooters Shoot, Anneau d'Or and Authentic through initial fractions of 23.07, 46.88 and 1:10.97, Honor A. P. and Mike Smith made a decisive move coming out of the far turn while going four wide to take command. Honor A. P. led at the furlong marker by a length and a half with a mile in the book at 1:36.10. He drew off to win in 1:48.97 for the nine furlongs.
Authentic outran the rest of his competition to finish second, beaten 2 3/4 lengths with Drayden Van Dyke aboard. Rushie was another 1 1/4 length back in third, followed in fourth by Anneau d'Or. Shooters Shoot, Friar's Road and Azul Coast rounded out the order of finish in the field of seven.
Honor A. P., who was sent off as the 2-1 second choice, paid $6.40 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.20 to show. Authentic, the 1-2 favorite, returned $2.20 and $2.10, while Rushie rewarded his backers with $3.40 to show.
The result meant 100 Kentucky Derby points for Honor A. P. , whose total is now 120. With 40 points going to Authentic, his total was run to 100. Rushie would have been awarded 20 points had he been nominated to the Triple Crown. Anneau d'Or now has 22 points after picking up 10 today.
Honor A. P. is trained by John Shirreffs for owner C R K Stable LLC. He was bred in Kentucky by George Krikorian. The winner is a son of Honor Code, who was sired by the legendary 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, deceased earlier this year at the age of 31. He's out of the Wild Rush mare Hollywood Story. Krikorian's creation fetched $850,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale in August 2018.
Following his win, Honor A. P. became the lowest-priced Kentucky Derby contender in a well-known Las Vegas future book at 4-1 odds.
Top 11 Kentucky Derby points leaders
Tiz the Law 122
Honor A. P. 120
Wells Bayou 104
King Guillermo 90
Ete Indien 74
Ny Traffic 70
Mischevious Alex 50
John Shirreffs: “He ran great, it was a super effort. I’m just happy for everybody involved, and I can’t thank Mike Smith enough for all that he has done. Whenever I need Mike, he’s always there for me. I really appreciate that.
“We were happy with the way Honor A.P. was training for the race. We knew that he has tactical speed and Mike can put him pretty much where he wants. On the backside, we hoped he would get comfortable to have a nice little kick in the end, and it all worked out well.
“It’s up to him whether we run him again before the big dance. We have to see how the horse comes out and how he feels, but you’d always prefer to run. Running is probably the best option rather than training up to it, but we’ll wait and see how it all happens.”
Mike Smith: “The game plan was to jump well and to let him run into that first turn and hopefully I could get him behind Authentic. If not right behind him then just to his outside a little bit and use my horse’s big long stride to his advantage and maybe get a little brave a little early. Which I did, I kind of went a little bit too early, but he was ready today. He missed him (Authentic) time and time before and ran a big race when he ran a very good second (last time out). It seems the further you go with him the better, he’s just got that big long, beautiful, powerful stride. John Shirreffs, all the crew and the owners I just want to thank everyone for letting me be a part of it. I don’t do a lot he’s doing all the running, all the work.
“He gives every indication that he can go a mile and a quarter, just the way he galloped out today. I mean I had to pull him up. He just keeps going with that big stride, it’s almost as if horses have to take two to his one, it seems like. He just really reaches. John has done a great job with just putting in some really good long works into him and really galloping him out. So he had a lot of air in him today.
“He’s one of the ones you didn’t know about before this pandemic hit. You didn’t know some horses were going to be peaking a whole lot better in May, which he probably wouldn’t have been, now that it is in September, we should be seeing a bigger stronger horse by then. He should get every little bit of the mile and a quarter. I’m excited! I miss the fans, but I just gotta pump myself up!”
Lee Searing, owner: “I wish I was at Santa Anita, but we were home with family and friends in Claremont. It was a thrill. I have owned horses since I was 18 years old, so 54 years. I’ve never had a Santa Anita Derby winner. John knew we had the beginnings of a very nice horse. We named him after his parents. We knew he was special. He is really special. I’ve got to give John, Dave Ingordo and Mike Smith all the credit.
“I had Candy Boy in the Kentucky Derby with Gary Stevens. We have a long way to go still before the Kentucky Derby. We’ll probably have another race before then. We will cherish each and every day with this special horse. He’s in great hands with Mike and John.
Bob Baffert, trainer of Authentic: “I was afraid of being on the outside. He broke out and then caught his stride. He did all the heavy lifting all the way around to the stretch. Mike Smith just sat back there and does what he does. The winner ran really well.”