Honor A. P. Gets Another Chance in Santa Anita Derby

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By Emily Shields

A massive Saturday card at Santa Anita is on tap with seven stakes races on an 11-race program. The highlight is the prestigious $400,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1), a top prep race for the 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1), now slated to be run on September 5.

The 1 1/8-mile race drew seven, including Honor A. P. The son of Honor Code – an $850,000 purchase as a yearling – wowed when breaking his maiden October 13 over this course in his two-turn debut. He won by 5 ¼ lengths under Mike Smith, rolling home for trainer John Shirreffs and owner C R K Stable LLC. The flashy colt is out of Grade 1 winner Hollywood Story.

He made his 2020 debut in the March 7 San Felipe (G2), which was a delayed start after minor injury plagued him earlier in the winter. Not fully cranked but facing a tough field including Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Storm the Court, Honor A. P. ran second behind the unbeaten Authentic, who will start alongside.

Authentic is now three for three after taking the San Felipe (G2) for trainer Bob Baffert. He broke his maiden at first asking at Del Mar in November, then ran crookedly down the stretch when nabbing the Sham Stakes (G3) here by nearly eight lengths. All kinks seemed straightened when he defeated Honor A. P. amongst others in the San Felipe. The son of Into Mischief will have Drayden Van Dyke aboard once again.

Baffert also starts Azul Coast. The game horse is an overlooked member of the Kentucky Derby trail, but last out won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields. He was second behind Authentic in the Sham, and broke his maiden over a mile at Los Alamitos by four lengths.

Anneau d’Or is trying to recapture his juvenile glory, as he broke his maiden by eight lengths on the grass at Golden Gate. He followed that up with consecutive huge runs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – second by a head – and the Los Alamitos Futurity – second by a neck. Victor Espinoza will be aboard the son of Medaglia d’Oro for the first time for trainer Blaine Wright.

Friar’s Road, Rushie, and Shooter’s Shoot complete the field. Watch and wager on the entire Santa Anita card with TVG.

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