Bob Baffert has confirmed Authentic and Thousand Words will be representing him in his attempt to win a record-breaking seventh Preakness Stakes at Pimlico next month.
The Hall of Fame trainer currently shares the record with 19th century trainer R. Wyndham Walden on seven wins.
Thousand Words was a late absentee from the ‘Run for the Roses’ after he got worked up in the paddock as he was being saddled. Baffert’s assistant Jimmy Barnes collected a fractured wrist in that incident, while the trainer himself was knocked over in the winners’ circle post-race when Authentic became overly enthusiastic.
Barnes had to have nine screws put in to repair his arm and the trainer suggests the equine players came out of the Kentucky Derby better than the horse’s connections, who were described as “the worst for wear”.
In non-pandemic times, the Preakness would be a fortnight after the Kentucky Derby in May. In the re-jigged calendar, there’s a month between them but Baffert says Authentic would be ready to race now.
“He came out very well [from the Kentucky Derby],” Baffert confirmed at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
“He’s ready to go. We would have been ready to go in two weeks.”
Thousand Words, meanwhile, was no worse for his pre-race antics and all his checks afterwards revealed he did no damage, at least not to himself, even though the on-course veterinary team were forced to scratch him from the race.
He’s going to get a second chance, though he’ll have to go some to overhaul his stablemate if Authentic is in the same mood.
He ran the seventh-fastest time in Kentucky Derby history and was as game as a lion when repelling the late challenge of red-hot favourite Tiz The Law – winner of the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes prior to his runner-up finish at Churchill Downs.
“Thousand Words, he’s fine,” Baffert said. “When he went up he sort of lost his footing and was on his side. He was OK and was checked out. He’s doing well.”
It looks as though it will be only two contenders for Baffert at Pimlico on October 4th. Azul Coast, who earned a berth in the Preakness with a victory in El Camino Real Derby back in the spring, isn’t being aimed at the final leg of the Triple Crown, his trainer has confirmed.