AN AUTHENTIC KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER
The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby was most certainly a breath of fresh air in this very troubled world we live in. How’s that? …In times where things don’t add up and nothing makes much sense, the outcome of the race was about as logical as they come after a little ciphering.
Like everything else, the world’s most famous race has been affected by Covid-19. Delayed and with an audible or two, the folks at Churchill Downs were still able to pull off this 146th running. Of course there were many challenges along the way, but philosophically speaking, it worked out quite well.
In today’s world, the Kentucky Derby is the hardest race to win in the sport of Thoroughbred racing. The competition is absolutely the toughest because so many people want a piece of that Derby pie. Truly a life changer, that blanket of roses is something you can cuddle up in for eternity.
The 2020 edition featured one of the biggest slam dunk entries since Easy Goer in 1989. Tiz the Law was a very deserving 4 to 5 on the tote board at post time as he had checked all the boxes coming in. The problem for the wonderful folks at Sackatoga Stables was they faced the same quagmire as Easy Goer. Somebody forgot to tell the other entrants Tiz The Law was supposed to win.
Here is where our story really starts to add up. Now that we have taken off our shoes the counting became a bit easier. Bob Baffert was bringing in a runner off a win and a seven-week layoff. With five Derby wins (1997, 1998,2002, 2015, 2018) already to his credit, there should be no question this trainer understands how to win the Kentucky Derby. In fact, a quick perusal of his racing resume tells us nobody is better at getting a runner ready for the biggest of stages in the sport.
Breaking from the outside post in a 15 horse field, Big Race Bob knew exactly what needed to happen for him to steal the show. Like many of his past stable stars, this son of Into Mischief had a typical trait. Front running speed and the ability to carry it over longer distances makes for the Baffert proto-type and this horse fit the bill. Make the lead out of the gate and keep him focused on the task at hand were the instructions to jockey John Velazquez. Keep it simple.
After the gates opened, Johnny V did as instructed and the thunder beneath him stormed home first. Breaking the Law in deep stretch, Baffert’s charge ran with conviction when confronted by the Derby favorite. Winning by a length and a quarter in a swift final time of 2:00.61, the hall of fame conditioner added another paragraph to an already legendary biography.
Now here is where we complete our philosophical circle. The name of the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner… Authentic. When we think about the realities of what has made this the greatest country in the world and why we can enjoy the many positives life in the USA has to offer it’s really not that hard to add up.
What happened on September 5 was a team came together with a plan for success and through hard work and a little luck it became a reality. Without a doubt when you think about the achievement of winning the Kentucky Derby a record tying sixth time as a trainer it’s pretty amazing. And for the runner beating the perceived unbeatable with flawless execution is truly inspiring. If you put greatness, Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert, and race horse all in the same sentence it will be synonymous with …Authentic!
(photo credit Coady Photography)