Brighter for Baffert: ninth Haskell landed by Authentic after 15-day drugs ban
Authentic provided trainer Bob Baffert with a ninth Grade 1 Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park after holding on in what proved to be an extremely tight finish.
The three-year-old, sent off the 3-5 favourite, travelled kindly at the head of affairs but only just defied the late run of Ny Traffic win by a nose.
Winning rider Mike Smith said: "He has lots of talent. Ability is something he doesn't lack, but he's learning. Turning for home, he kicked away like I wanted, and then the other horse came at him. He was looking around more than anything."
For Baffert, who was given a 15-day suspension earlier in the week after two of his horses failed post-race drugs tests at Oaklawn Park in May, it was an upturn in fortunes.
The trainer said: "He's a funny horse. He looks around a lot. Two races ago, [jockey Drayden Van Dyke] almost fell off. Mike told me he almost fell off when [Authentic] started looking around at something on the backside today. But when the other horse came to him, he took off again. He wasn't tired.
"He's a good horse, and he'll improve a lot off this race. It was the first time he shipped, and he's very immature. He has a kid's mind."
The Kentucky Derby on September 5 will likely be next for Authentic, who was second in the Santa Anita Derby behind Honor A P.
Paris Lights up American Oaks
Paris Lights was another to triumph in a tight finish, reeling in the Baffert-trained Crystal Ball in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.
Having struck in maiden and allowance races at Churchill Downs, it was a first top-level success for the daughter of Curlin.
Winning rider Tyler Gaffalione said: ""My filly just kept digging in. Crystal Ball was a little stubborn to get by, but my filly is all class."
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