Authentic wins Kentucky Derby

The 8-1 shot beats the favourite Tiz the Law to give trainer Baffert record-equalling sixth success

Authentic held off heavily favoured Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law to capture the 146th Kentucky Derby yesterday morning (Singapore time), giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a record-equalling sixth win in the Run for the Roses.

Jockey Johnny Velazquez piloted Authentic to the victory at Churchill Downs, ensuring that a topsy-turvy Triple Crown year will not produce a 14th winner of US flat racing's coveted treble when it concludes with the Preakness Stakes on Oct 3.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, US racing's most prestigious event was held not on the first Saturday in May, but on the first Saturday of September.

Instead of more than 100,000 spectators jammed into the grandstands and infield, no more than 1,000 essential personnel, owners and trainers were on hand.

Despite the lack of fans, there was a heavy police presence outside the racetrack, as Black Lives Matter protesters and counter-protesters took to the streets of Louisville, where 26-year-old paramedic Breonna Taylor was killed in a police shooting in her own apartment in March.

Authentic, as expected, set the early pace in the 2,000m classic under Velazquez. He went early to the front from the 18th barrier, the widest.

The Barclay Tagg-trained Tiz the Law, who won the belated Triple Crown opener at Belmont on June 20 and went off as the prohibitive 3-5 favourite, settled into a comfortable fourth position under jockey Manny Franco.

He challenged for the lead as they swept through the final turn. But Authentic, who went off at 8-1, held on to win by 11/4 lengths.

Mr Big News, the 46-1 outsider trained by W. Bret Calhoun, finished third.

"It's definitely not getting old," said Hall of Fame jockey Velazquez, after clinching his third Kentucky Derby victory.

"The feeling that you get, I could cry. It's incredible."

Baffert tied with Ben Jones for the most Kentucky Derby wins for a trainer.

Just moments before the race, his other entry, Thousand Words, was scratched after he reared in the paddock and fell.

Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes suffered a broken arm in the incident.

"He's in an ambulance," an emotional Baffert said. - AFP, REUTERS