Authentic dueled with Tiz the Law in the final turn and upset the heavy favorite to conquest the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Authentic led from start to finish and won by 1¼ lengths, giving trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying sixth Derby champion.
Authentic covered 1¼ mile in 2:00.61, the seventh-fastest time ever in the Derby, and paid $18.80 to win. He is the first wire-to-wire Derby winner since 2002, when War Emblem won for Baffert.
Baffert tied Ben Jones for the most wins by a trainer. Along with Authentic and War Emblem, Baffert’s other Derby winners were Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. Baffert stands alone in first with his 16 career triumphs in Triple Crown races, two more than that of D. Wayne Lukas in second.
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Sent off at 3-5 as the biggest Derby favorite in 31 years and part of a smaller field than usual, Tiz the Law settled into fourth while Authentic ran unopposed in front.
With a quarter-mile to go, Tiz the Law pulled alongside Authentic and the two hit the top of the stretch together.
Under Manny Franco, Tiz the Law briefly stuck his head in front, only to have Authentic fight right back and spurt clear of the Belmont winner, who came in 4-for-4 this year.
“Tiz has been able to pass horses all year and today he ran into one he couldn’t get by,” Knowlton said. “Credit Authentic. He came from the far outside and managed to get to the lead and just ran a great race. No shame on our part.”
Velazquez, 48, picked up his third victory in the Derby. He rode Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Always Dreaming in 2017.
Said Velazquez: “Obviously, Bob, from the beginning, said, ‘I’ve got a good one for you.’ This is it.”
Authentic went off at 8-1 odds. Tiz the Law returned $3.40 and $3.20. Mr. Big News was another two lengths back in third and paid $16.80 to show at 46-1.
Authentic has won five of his six career races, with his lone loss coming in the Santa Anita Derby, in which he finished sixth.
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