Without Honor A.P., Sham Could Be Big for Baffert
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) kicks off Triple Crown action at Santa Anita Park for 2020. The race has been won in recent years by Breeders’ Cup Classic participants McKinzie and Collected, as well as Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents.
Honor A.P. was expected to be the big name amongst the entries, but a setback has him out of the race and a field of six is now expected. Trainer Bob Baffert has two entered, Authentic and Azul Coast, both with major chances in the one-mile contest.
Authentic is a $350,000 purchase by Into Mischief who broke his maiden first out at Del Mar on November 9. Drayden Van Dyke was riding that day and will retain the mount. He showed some speed there, pouncing on the leader and pulling away in the lane. That race was over 5 ½ furlongs, this is around two turns for the first time in Authentic’s career.
Azul Coast debuted over a mile at Los Alamitos and gets Joel Rosario. The $320,000 son of Super Saver scored by four lengths, rolling away late in a classy performance, but didn’t run overly fast. He was very wide on that occasion, and the track was wet, but it is expected to be dry and firm on Saturday.
Taishan, trained by Richard Baltas, has received a lot of hype since a second-out victory over this trip on November 3. The son of Twirling Candy cost $150,000 as a juvenile and was fifth on debut sprinting, but did better around two turns and defeated the well regarded Tizamagician, who came back to win impressively on New Year’s Day. Aaron Gryder will ride.
Uncaptured Hero is Taishan’s stablemate. He broke his maiden sprinting at Del Mar at the $100,000 level, and loses Van Dyke to pick up Flavien Prat. The son of Uncaptured was fourth on debut in a maiden special weight contest at Los Alamitos. He figures to be on the front end.
Zimba Warrior was third in both the Bob Hope (G3) and the Sunny Slope Stakes after beraking his maiden third out. That happened at the Fresno fair for trainer Keith Desormeaux, who trains the son of popular young sire Khozan. Jose Valdivia, Jr. will ride Zimba Warrior for his sixth start, with four being top three efforts.
Scoring rounds out the field. The son of Justin Phillip has never crossed the wire in front; he was placed first via disqualification in his June 16 debut at Santa Anita. He hasn’t run since, but has some strong workouts of late to show. Doug O’Neill trains, and Abel Cedillo climbs aboard.
Watch every race of the 2020 Santa Anita Park winter/spring meet here.
- July 4, 2020
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's McKinzie returns to Belmont Park for Saturday's $1 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1) seeking vengeance for his 2019 runner-up finish.
- July 2, 2020
Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series Features Metropolitan Handicap from Belmont Park This Saturday Live at 5 PM on NBC
Led by Code of Honor, McKinzie and Vekoma, an outstanding field of eight horses will compete for a free berth into the $2 million Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on Saturday, July 4 in the 1-mile, $500,000 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap.
- July 2, 2020
On Saturday, the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap will top a great card at Belmont Park with five graded stakes and once again bring several of the nation’s best horses together for a one-mile showdown.